Muslim handbook is divisive
MONASH University prides itself on its "multicultural learning environment" and yet it produces a handbook for one certain class of students, and not for others.
Salaam Monash is the title of the glossy 50-page "handbook for Muslim students".
Imagine the uproar if they printed the "handbook for Asian Christian students"
"At Monash we understand that Muslim students have specific social, religious and cultural needs," writes Professor Stephanie Fahey, deputy vice-chancellor, in a foreword to the handbook.
The booklet lists Islamic banking and financial institutions, Muslim publications, women's groups and schools. It also lists Muslim medical and dental practitioners, which splits up doctors into male and female groups.
There is also a halal food guide and a list of halal grocers and butchers.
Much of the information seems useful and, having had a young Muslim house guest recently, I know just how tricky it can be to find halal food.
But there is no similar handbook for other religious or ethnic groups, not for Buddhists, Taoists, Germans, Greeks, Sikhs, Mormons or vegans.
Why encourage one group of people to maintain an identity separate from other Australians?
Good point, there is no legitimate reason to give preferential treatment to one group over another, unless one is fearful of a backlash if concessions are not forthcoming. Muslims, on the other hand have Qur'anic justification for their bias and bigotry (5-51)
Most unwise, however, is that the handbook lists without comment some of Australia's most radical prayer halls.
Among them is cleric Sheikh Mohammed Omran's Islamic Call Society in Brunswick, where young Muslim men have been radicalised. A number of men arrested in Operation Pendennis, over a foiled 2005 Melbourne terror plot, had frequented the mosque, according to a New York Police Department study, which identified it as an "extremist incubator".
Similarly, the handbook points students in the direction of Coburg's ISNA mosque, associated with preacher Abu Hamza, who was videotaped telling men they could "beat their wives to shape them up" but only as a last resort. In the lecture entitled "The Keys to a Successful Marriage", he said: "You smack them, you beat them. You are not allowed to bruise them."
That would be 4-34.
Read it all