Razer-sharp – Helen Razer nails the bigots

Helen Razer is a well-known writer and newspaper columnist.

Like so many of us she has Muslim friends, mostly women, who were targeted and harassed by hateful bigots. So she wrote a response.

We loved her powerful response to the tide of Islamophobia that is both encouraged by and threatens to overwhelm social media.

And we remind people that there is an enormous gap between critiques of all religions and vicious, ignorant and violent attacks on the adherents of minority faiths. We also note that attacks on Islam by bigots are usually gendered attacks by the same cowardly morons who would figure as perpetrators of misogynist attacks on women generally.

helenrazer

 

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SBS guide to dealing with anti-Muslim arguments

Capt Shindy versus the Fascists: extreme, ill-informed fringe group menaces pioneering naval officer

You may recall we recently republished a Daily Telegraph article on the groundbreaking work of RAN Captain Mona Shindy in her role as Chief of Navy’s Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs.

However this is but one of Capt. Shindy’s many achievements after 26 years of service in the ADF. Last year she was named as 2015 Telstra NSW Businesswoman of the Year. She was on active service during the 2003 Iraq War. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree and is Head of the Guided Missile Frigate System Program Office. In the 2015 Australia Day Honours she was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross.

Conspicuous Service Cross

The CSC is awarded only for outstanding devotion to duty, or outstanding achievement in the application of exceptional skills, judgment or dedication, in non-warlike situations.

So it was with a good deal of concern that we read this report in today’s Guardian dealing with the sudden removal of the Navy’s Islamic Twitter account (@navyislamic).

mona5

And how and why was the Twitter account removed?

“The head of the ALA (Australian Liberty Alliance), Debbie Robinson, who has previously described Islam as “a dangerous ideology” incompatible with Western society, wrote to the chief of the Australian defence force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, on 10 December asking the navy to distance itself from the account or delete it.

“It is completely unacceptable for an official defence Twitter account to criticise any registered political party in Australia,” Robinson said in a press release.”

We have a number of posts detailing anti-Muslim extremist Debbie Robinson’s work.

We also went through them and through the MSM carefully trying to find an achievement – any achievement – to mention.

All we could find in the MSM was that she was married to an orthopaedic surgeon, a notion we find quaintly Mad Men in its 1950s aspirational tone.

And hubby is a tad shy about his political leanings but it seems he too does have some association with Fascist foreigner Geert Wilders’s latest offshore embryonic party branch (see Perth Now)

We’d like to think that newly minted Defence Minister Marise Payne may not have been informed of this preremptory response. In case she was not you can contact her via the links  here

FURTHER READING

https://overland.org.au/2014/03/international-guests-q-up-for-bigotry/

https://www.themonthly.com.au/blog/richard-king/2015/27/2015/1445911695/geert-sea

Uncharted waters – meet Captain Mona Shindy

mona1

WHEN Captain Mona Shindy climbed aboard HMAS Canberra to test missiles in the Pacific, a locker had to be converted into a sleeping quarters to accommodate her.

Never before had an active Australian warship carried women. But aged 23 and launching what would become a 26-year career with the Navy, this was just the first hurdle of a trailblazer.

Already she had a University degree in the blokey domain of engineering. Weapons engineer. And if this were not unusual enough, Captain Shindy happens to be Muslim, and for most of her career in the navy, has been a mother

Australian Navy Captain Mona Shindy

On board HMAS Canberra Captain Shindy and her two female room-mates were like celebrities, and not all of it was positive publicity.

“We were an absolute novelty and people knew our every movement, what we got up to and where we were. Overall the experience was a positive experience but there certainly were times that were quite challenging,” Captain Shindy says

“Most female engineers in any work environment _ you really do have to work that little bit harder initially to prove your worth, to demonstrate your competence to really be accepted fully as valued member and a real contributor to the team.”

Then came the challenge of Ramadan, and explaining as a young sublieutenant that she was fasting and would appreciate a meal being put aside for her.

The response was along the lines of: “You’ll eat with everyone else, or you just won’t.” Which left her “the middle of the ocean with a few cans of tuna”.

The response was along the lines of: “You’ll eat with everyone else, or you just won’t.” Which left her “the middle of the ocean with a few cans of tuna”.

Once the right ranking officer was made aware of the problem, a solution was soon found.

Accolade…Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year. Picture: Christian Gilles

Anger was never an option.

“My first reaction is to empathise, rather than get angry, and to try and be part of the solution and work on the education piece, through engagement and interaction and just being professional about what I do and delivering professional outcomes and results. In the end, people respect that.”

It’s an attitude that has delivered her to the pinnacle of her career, recognised this week when she was named NSW Telstra Business Woman of the Year. As Director Littoral Warfare and Maritime Support, Captain Shindy advises the Government on the best way to spend billions of dollars on replacement tankers, ships, patrol boats — almost everything except submarines.

She was previously charged with turning around the Fast Frigate System Program Office, from an inefficient organisation with adversarial stakeholder relationships, to a collaborative culture with performance-based contracts. And she shaved 30 per cent in costs from a $130 million budget.

“People were happy at the end of the tenure, ships were leaving the wharf on time with all the maintenance done, when initially they weren’t.”

Soon after her first tour of duty on HMAS Canberra, Captain Shindy married and had a daughter, now 20 and a son, 18, who finished his HSC on Wednesday. Their happy accident followed a decade later in the form of another daughter, now 11.

Captain Mona Shindy at Garden Island Navy Base in Sydney. Picture: Toby Zerna

The job has required service on ships for two-year durations, with time away ranging from two to six months.

“But six months in anyone’s language for a mother with two young children and a young family, is a very significant sacrifice.

“I’m not going to dress it up. It was tough.”

It could not have happened without an extended family backing her up. Crucial were her mother — “who in many ways acted as a pseudo mother for my children sometimes when I was away” — and husband, who has taken many career breaks.

“For me, the only thing that made it easier is knowing that those kids had just as much love and support from those that were with them than I could have given them myself.”

Her family migrated from Egypt when she was three.

“The moment my parents migrated to Australia, they were determined to feel as Australian as anyone else.” She holds the position of Chief of Navy’s Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs, for which she was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in this year’s Australia Day honours for her work bridging cultural divides.

Cpt Shindy is a weapons engineer with 26 years experience. Picture: Toby Zerna

It is her aim to encourage more Muslims to join the defence force — around 100 of the 45000 defence force personnel identify as Muslim, 27 of them in the Navy.

“There’s lots of Australian Muslims who feel very hurt … by previous military campaigns that our defence forces have been on that have I guess resulted in discomfort and difficulty …. where those campaigns have occurred that have caused ramifications for a lot of innocent people.”

She says terrorist attacks which have hijacked aspects of religious teachings to justify those behaviours have created “fear and uncertainty for others who are non-Muslims”.

“For some people that gets looked at as the whole Muslim community,” Captain Shindy says. Some young Muslims see this in black and white “us and them” terms.

“They don’t have the maturity necessarily to see the greys and to understand that this is not everyone that has those views about you. That erodes confidence for those kids.”

There’s lots of Australian Muslims who feel very hurt … by previous military campaigns that our defence forces have been on

Her message to them is this: “You can be a proud Australian that loves everything about this great nation and still love your roots and love where you came from and straddle both worlds and both communities. That’s how I live my life and I like to help other people find their way in living those two things.”

And she can cite her own experience, including active service at the start of the 2003 Iraq War.

“It’s always tough, when you go anywhere, whether that’s Iraq or not. They were difficult times, they were interesting times I think for the whole nation.

“We are an instrument of our democratically elected government and I think that’s something that is very much accepted, understood and part of the contract that I personally have with my organisation. That’s my role, that’s what I signed up to do.”

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Perth TNT truck driver filmed launching a racist attack on woman

Western Australia
ALYESHA ANDERSON PerthNow
October 16, 2015         9:13pm

A PERTH motorist has uploaded a shocking video of a road rage incident in which she is racially abused and intimidated by a TNT courier driver.

The video which is just over one-minute long was recorded on Thursday and uploaded to the TNT — The People Network Facebook page on Friday morning.

The footage shows the truck driver leaning into the woman’s car through her open driver’s window and swearing in her face.

At one point he asks her: “What f***ing land are you from?”.

He then goes on to ask her if she is “f***ing Arab or something”.

He also asks if she is a “f***ing Muslim c*** are ya?”.

 

The man also hit his fist on the woman’s windscreen.Source:Supplied

The truck driver puts up his middle finger to the woman he has verbally attacked.Source:Supplied

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In posts to her Facebook page and the TNT’s Facebook page the woman said the driver’s “big truck” had “rear ended” her two-door Holden Astra “several times” before the recorded confrontation.

In the video the confrontation quickly gets heated with the man calling the woman a number of sexist expletives.

The exchange lasts some time before the man walks away from the car making rude hand gestures.

But before the video stops, he returns to the woman’s car and smacks his fist on the glass of her front window.

She posted underneath the video on the company’s page: “I have damages to my car that require compensation”.

A TNT spokeswoman confirmed to PerthNow they were aware of the video “depicting one of its drivers” involved in the altercation.

“TNT is investigating the matter and is in the process of contacting the driver involved and will take appropriate action,” she said.

“TNT Australia expects its entire staff to behave in a courteous and professional manner at all times.”

In the woman’s posts to Facebook she said TNT have called her and been told their investigators are onto it.

“TNT definitely know about it,” she said on her Facebook page.

“Have lots of people calling me today to deal with this but TNT have been really good and I’m just trying to sort my thoughts and my processes out.

“Paperwork and affidavits to organise and notarise docs etc.

“Thanks for the lovely messages.”

PerthNow has contacted the woman who uploaded the video for comment.
Originally published as ‘What f***ing land are you from?

Source

Police hunt Logan anti-Islam abuser who exposed backside to woman

brisbanetimes2

September 24, 2015 – 1:14PM

Kim Stephens Journalist

A Muslim woman told police she was subjected to a sustained anti-Islamic tirade outside a Logan shopping centre on Wednesday, during which time she captured the man on video baring his backside at her and her two young children.

The woman reported the incident to the Islamophobia Register Australia, an online site dedicated to exposing incidents of anti-Islamic abuse, after saying two calls to police for help went unanswered.

Site organiser Mariam Veiszadeh said she spoke to the angered woman in the wake of the attack, who told her the tirade continued for more than half an hour, during which time her calls to police were not responded to.

The man police are searching for over a sustained anti-Islam tirade on a Logan woman. Photo: Supplied

At the urging of Ms Veiszadeh, an advocate for Australian Muslims and a lawyer, the woman then went to Logan police to report the abuse in person.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said police attended the shopping centre car park after the second call but could not locate the woman.

They are now searching for the man.

A still from the video taken by a Muslim woman at a Logan car park on Wednesday. Photo: Supplied

The woman told Daily Mail Australia the man hurled multiple obscenities at her, accusing her of terrorism and being unemployed, as she sat in her car waiting for her husband with her two children, aged five and eight.

She was wearing a niqab, which exposed only her eyes.

The German woman, a teacher, converted to Islam 16 years ago, Ms Veiszadeh said.

The man police are searching for. Photo: Supplied

“She felt the need to continue to explain to me, ‘I can’t believe he said I’m unemployed and makes such assumptions – I’m an educated woman, I’m a teacher,'” Ms Veiszadeh said.

“She responded to him by saying, ‘I am not unemployed and I am European’.

“Something that really angered her was that the hatred had so many stereotypical assumptions embedded in it.

Mariam Veiszadeh. Photo: hpitt@fairfaxmedia.com.au

“She also made reference to her stepson being in the ADF and he puts his life at risk for Australians to fight for this country and yet she gets racist and Islamophobic abuse hurled at her on the streets.”

Ms Veiszadeh said the woman had also been upset that a number of witnesses did not intervene to stop the abuse.

“It’s quite concerning when this man was clearly abusing her, no one came to her defence,” Ms Veiszadeh said.

“People sitting in the front were indifferent or went along with it and it was only after he left people approached her.

“I appreciate Logan police station had serious matters to deal with but this is yet another example of complaints regarding an assault targeting an Australian Muslim woman not being taken seriously by authorities.”

Ms Veiszadeh said women wearing the visible symbols of their faith were increasingly bearing the brunt of racist and Islamophobic public attacks, often in the presence of children.

“It’s incredibly worrying that the vast majority of reports being submitted to the Register are of verbal and physical abuse directed at Australian Muslim women, with a large number happening in the presence of young children,” she said.

“This woman is particularly concerned about the devastating impact this incident has had on her children. How do you even begin to explain Islamophobia to your five-year-old child?”

 

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Four Corners goes comic with some halal hilarity

halal1

Source

In these parlous times of terrible events, environmental disasters and sobering economic woe, people need some comic relief and who better to provide it than the far right ratbag rabble who periodically surface from the sludge of hate under a variety of names and banners – same usual suspects, different cause each week.

On Monday night 7th September 2015 the ABC’s Four Corners will depart from its weekly deadly serious examination of the darker side of Australia and the world featuring crooks, sociopaths, standover merchants and shonks to examine the darker side of Australia and the world featuring crooks, scam artists, sociopaths, standover merchants and shonks hilarious hate-group underbelly of Straya.

So brew up the lattes, uncork the chardonnays and nuke the popcorn for Wednesday night’s The Weekly with Charlie Pickering tonight’s rib-tickling episode of Four Corners

With seasoned comic performers like #bernardithebigot, the Magic Christians, Mr Potato Head and various boggarts and gremlins slithering in and out , how could it go wrong?

Your comedy team

Here

A laugh a minute from Restore Straya
 
Guffaw merchants from the Q Society:  Andrew Horwood    Debbie Robinson     Susan Horwood

Or maybe they’ll unearth these fake profile food tampering Ninjas

Not to mention some friends in Canberra if they need some extra (under)belly-laughs.

Good Samaritan assaulted after standing up for Muslim women

TABSMHVictoria

May 26, 2015 – 4:35PM

Tammy Mills

A commuter was assaulted after he stood up for three Muslim women who were subject to a vile racial and bigoted attack on a packed Melbourne train.

Jason Cias, 36, was travelling home from work in the city on the Craigieburn-bound train on Friday, May 15, when he saw two tradesmen vilifying three women – one older and two who appeared to be in their 20s – who were wearing headscarves.

The train had pulled out of Melbourne Central station about 3.15pm when the unprovoked abuse began after one of the younger women sat next to the tradesmen.

An image taken by a passenger on the train. Photo: Supplied

“One of them made reference to her headscarf, saying ‘You shouldn’t be wearing that shit in Australia’,” Mr Cias said.

Mr Cias said the young woman tried to put the men in their place, asking them what their problem was, and it sparked a heated exchange.

He said the older of the women appeared to try to calm the situation in Arabic, which was met with yet another barb from the men.

“The comment was, ‘You shouldn’t be speaking that shit in Australia’,” Mr Cias said.

The women got off the train at North Melbourne and it was when one of the men called after them ‘I’ll f—ing smash ya’ that Mr Cias stepped in.

“I said to the guy, ‘Mate, they’re women’. The implication there was you don’t threaten people, particularly women,” he said.

Mr Cias said he was told to mind his own business before one of the men stood over him and punched him to his left cheek.

“Even though the guy stood up and was acting aggressively, I didn’t expect to get punched. After that I walked towards him and grabbed his collar and held him at arm’s length and told him I would be laying charges,” he said.

The men moved to another carriage when another commuter intervened and separated them. Mr Cias got off the train at Kensington with two witnesses, including Katie Parker, 28, who captured part of the assault on video and rang police.

“It was awful to witness that sort of violence in the middle of the day … Jason just said one sentence calmly and he [the attacker] was really aggressive at the drop of a hat for no logical reason,” Ms Parker said.

Police met Mr Cias and the witnesses near Kensington station, taking statements and copies of the video and images of the offenders.

Mr Cias, who suffered bruising and swelling but no long-term injuries, said he would change only one thing about what he did.

“I would have liked to have said something earlier. That’s probably my only thing … but I certainly wouldn’t change what I did, I don’t agree with that behaviour,” he said.

“Whether it’s Islamic women or whoever, it’s just not right they can abuse people like that. No one should be doing that to anyone regardless of race or gender or religious creed.”

Flemington police are investigating the racial abuse and the assault and urged anyone with information to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report to www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

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I call myself an Australian

Reblogged from gimpled -a thirty day project connecting life with thoughts with words (with insomnia)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Image description - a map of Australia has a series of primary coloured pins placed upon it to symbolise diversity.

My parents arrived in this country on a boat, and yet I call myself an Australian.

As a disabled woman, I am in a minority group, yet I call myself an Australian.

But according to racist pages promoting a new rally – the ‘Reclaim Australia Rally’ – ‘patriotic Australians’ need to stand together and stop the minorities from changing our country. They’re marching in April to tell the rest of Australia that they don’t want halal certification, burqas and the teaching of Islam in government schools. In short, they don’t want Muslims in our country, and they don’t want our country to change to suit them.

3,306 likes in Perth, and another 500 or so in Bunbury. One in almost every state. It saddens me, because this is the message to anyone who is different – ‘we will not tolerate diversity’.

My parents arrived on the ‘right kind of boat’. They were ten pound Poms, and my father was skilled and the right shade of white. He was Dutch, and his peers were self described ‘wogs’ and ‘dings’ – people from Italy or Greece or Malta, paid to come to this country under the Skilled Migrant program. Nowadays, being of Italian or Greek descent is unremarkable – but all the kids with salami sandwiches, back in the day, were teased relentlessly. I’m a first generation migrant, but nobody ever told me to go away because my very British mother bought Polo mints and held tea parties. No Aboriginal person ever told me that I should leave their country because I was white. Nobody ever told me what I ate or wore or did was wrong, or bad.

We will not tolerate diversity.

‘We don’t want to change the country to accommodate their needs’, they say, and I feel uneasy. Because there is no reason that ‘they’ need halal – but there is also no reason that ‘they’ need steps, no reason they need to adjust their teaching in schools to accommodate differences. There is no reason ‘they’ should make things accessible and available to others, because we are a minority. Yet we disabled people lobby for change – change for a minority group. We will only ever be 20 percent of the population. Why should ‘they’ tolerate us and not them? Why should ‘they’ change? Why should ‘they’ tolerate difference, let alone embrace and welcome it?

‘They’ – the intolerant – are not just the rednecks from down the street. Facebook has a neat way of throwing up an algorithm that allows you to see the comments from your friends first. From the ‘Reclaim Australia – Perth’ page, a comment by one of our former Scout parents, a staunch Christian woman –

‘Putting one or two or fifty in prison doesn’t prevent their being replaced. They have to be removed from the country, every Islamic man, woman and child. As long as one Muslim remains there will be someone with intent on seeking the Islamic state agenda.’

Unfriended.

And these views, from others –

‘Islam is islam, the quran is the quran. No such thing as moderate Muslim.’

‘That is true, and only because the tenets of islam teach them to do these very things! The fact that the majority of muslims choose not to openly engage in jihad against non-believers, simply means they are not good muslims. Those who do engage in jihad are the ones who follow the qur’an and hadiths very closely.’

And I think about my yesterday afternoon, which was spent with my friend and her mother. She always feeds me too much and I regard her as my own mother. We talked about each having six children (she with four girls, me with four boys) and breastfeeding and how wonderfully hot the weather was. I told her that I couldn’t wear a hijab and long sleeves, I would roast, and she unbuttoned her dress to show me the light cotton wear underneath. I would still roast, I told her, and she smiled. Family talk, more offers of baklava, and I went home, and slept, and woke to these posts.

I spent my yesterday morning talking to people, including an Aboriginal artist who chatted easily with me about country, and his mob and mine, and painting styles and cultural traditions in Aboriginal art. I’m as white as the driven snow, but I’m still accepted as Australian by our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, the original owners of this land. We invaded this country, and brought our culture with us – my culture included, there is a fish and chip shop on every corner, teapots in every store. I went to my friend’s house, then home to sleep, and woke to these posts.

I am almost in tears.

They horrify me, those posts, the idea of a rally against difference. This is not the Australia I was born into. This is not the Australia I signed up for. I believe in an Australia where you can embrace diversity and still be a patriot. An Australia where it does not matter what other people wear and what they eat.

A few months ago, there was a campaign to boycott Vegemite on the premise that it has halal certification. I forwarded the comments to Vegemite, including the accusations that they were ‘funding terrorism’. They emailed me back. So the last word on this, for me, goes to Vegemite, who state that they are against racism and bigotry and disrespect. For me, THAT is Australian.

Vegemite’s response re halal certification, 2014:

The AFIC symbol has been present on some of our products, including Vegemite, for some time now and we are proud to make products that can be enjoyed by people of different backgrounds, beliefs and ethnicity. We are also proud of locally manufacturing our products, many of which are exported to markets throughout South East Asia. Our export sales are an essential part of business, and crucial to preserving investment and employment at our manufacturing sites in Australia.

One of the main reasons for the AFIC Halal symbol on our packaging is to assist people of Muslim faith, both here in Australia and across our export markets, to identify our products as including ingredients that meet their consumption requirements.
Further, we wish to advise the Vegemite formulation has not altered nor does the product contain any ingredients from animals. Halal certification warrants that, in accordance with Islamic law, the yeast has been processed to ensure the product is alcohol free.

The inclusion of the AFIC Halal symbol is not intended to offend any member of the public of any cultural or religious belief. We do not believe that it promotes one religion over another rather it simply provides people of Muslim faith with information about the food choices they make. Following other consumer inquiries, we have written formally to the AFIC in order to seek clarification on its business activities. In response, the AFIC provided us with verbal and written assurances that it is not engaged in unlawful activities. As such, we have confidence in AFIC as a reputable organisation. We pay a blanket administration fee that covers the certification of a number of our products. This cost is not a tax and is not attributed to a particular product or brand, therefore consumers don’t pay more for a Halal certified product versus a non-certified product.

As a business, we are founded upon values of integrity and respect and take a strong stance against any individual or campaign promoting racism, bigotry and disrespect.

We hope this addresses your questions and any concerns you might have. We produce products that bring joy and pleasure to millions of people across the world every day, and we look forward to continuing this tradition.

Posted by Sam Connor at 4:02 PM
Featured Image -- 17460

Rita Panahi, You Have A Serious Problem.

ramio1983

Rita Panahi, a pop-up journalist that magically appeared in the news scene recently made an article titled “Islam, you have a very serious problem“. Her facebook name is “Miss Judgement” and indeed she is an opinionated woman and proud. Yet as the famous saying goes and pardon my French here- “Opinions are like arse holes- everybody has one“.

Our Friend “Miss Judgement” claims herself to be a writer for the Daily Telegraph. Yes, the Rupert Murdoch run newspaper who’s CEO recently claimed that all Muslims should be responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, whether they were peaceful or not. That’d be as ridiculous as me claiming Rita Panahi is responsible and must apologize for her CEO’s ridiculous tweets including the fact that during the Sydney Siege Attack, instead of praying for the victims and wishing them safety and security he boasted about how The…

View original post 2,166 more words

Meet the halal haters

The bullying of Australian business

A small but noisy group of anti-Muslim campaigners are targeting Aussie businesses in their obsessively stupid warfare against Australian Muslims.

stooges

Despite labelling themselves as hateriots “patriots”, their latest strategic move as they rattle and bob across the media landscape is the undermining and trashing of Australian small business – specifically those businesses which want to cater both to Australian customers and to potential markets in our region.

No matter that Australia, without the trading opportunities available in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, will travel on the road to becoming an isolated, dull, backward, intolerant, inward-looking enclave of the suspicious, the xenophobic and the down-right crackbrained.

Much like this run-down white supremacist enclave in South Africa.

 

To those pig ignorant droogs who shut down a South Australian business because it had halal certified yoghurt selling to Emirates (Airlines)—what stupid, stupid people! If they really think this money goes to terrorists, they should stop buying petrol

                                                                   –  Malcolm Farr Political Editor News.com.au

Now here’s ABC 7:30’s report from November last year.

Transcript
LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Across Australia, a vicious campaign against halal-certified companies is gaining momentum. A halal product is one that doesn’t contain any traces of pork, blood or alcohol, meaning it’s OK for Muslims to eat. Many products are halal-certified, even Vegemite. But anti-halal activists say they’re fighting back against creeping sharia law, claiming the label is a tax on non-Muslims and the money for certification goes towards terrorism. Here’s Alex Mann.

ALEX MANN, REPORTER: Six months ago, Fleurieu Milk & Yoghurt Company gained halal certification to supply a $50,000 yoghurt contract with Emirates Airlines.

NICK HUTCHINSON, FLEURIEU MILK & YOGHURT COMPANY: It was a requirement of Emirates. We had to pay a $1,000 fee. It opened up a business market to continue to become viable. It was a necessary step.

ALEX MANN: What do you understand halal to mean?

NICK HUTCHINSON: To be honest, up until a couple of weeks ago, my understanding wasn’t great on halal certification. We knew it was a fee we had to pay around $1,000 a year that allowed Muslims to consume our products on Emirates Airlines. Now, since then I’ve done a bit of research and so forth and we now know that halal certification doesn’t need to be – you don’t need halal certification for milk and yoghurt if it doesn’t contain gelatin, which ours doesn’t.

ALEX MANN: Keeping food and drink halal means no pork, blood or alcohol can be allowed anywhere in the production process.

The trouble began last month when Nick Hutchinson received an email asking to confirm whether his company had halal certification. His response was posted and shared across a network of anti-halal Facebook sites, unleashing a barrage of online hate.

FACEBOOK POST
(male voiceover): What a crock of s**t. Cease halal certification now. You want halal? Go live in a Muslim country. Simple.

FACEBOOK POST II (male voiceover): It is sharia law that says these rag heads must eat halal food. We don’t have sharia law here, therefore no halal products are required in this country!!!! It’s all a scam to raise funds for terrorism!!!!!

FACEBOOK POST III (female voiceover): Screw halal and all who make it.

ALEX MANN: What exactly were people saying to you?

NICK HUTCHINSON: The money goes towards terrorism, the – it’s impacting on Australia’s well-being, our standard of life is being taken over because you’re paying these fees, allowing people of Islamic heritage to rule us. It come out of nowhere and happened quite quickly, because with one copy and paste onto these sites, you’ve gone from nobody knowing you’re a halal certified to 100,000 people that are extremely against it. And when they work together, they can impact quite heavily on small businesses such as ours.

ALEX MANN: Within two days, Fleurieu Milk & Yoghurt Company decided to ditch its certification, forfeiting its contract with Emirates.

NICK HUTCHINSON: Yeah, it sucks. I hate saying it, but there’s no other way to describe it. We gave in and decided that the negative publicity and the bullying outweighed what we were gaining from the halal certification.

ALEX MANN:
The attack against Fleurieu was part of an organised online campaign against companies with halal certification.

KIRALEE SMITH, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, HALAL CHOICES:
Hi, I’m Kiralee Smith, founder and director of Halal Choices. I love the freedom we have this nation. … Don’t be shouted down. You’re not a racist or a bigot because you have concerns about fundamental Islam or halal certification. Talk, share and discuss this important issue with your family and friends.

ALEX MANN: Across Australia, a loose collection of anti-halal, anti-Islam and nationalistic groups has been targeting halal-certified food companies. The groups identify businesses and direct users to swarm their social media sites.

MIKE HOLT, RESTORE AUSTRALIA: First of all, this is Australia. We are not Islamic. We’ve also been – we’ve had this imposed on us without our permission. Did you ever vote in a referendum to allow halal certification of just about everything in the supermarket? I didn’t. If they don’t change their ways and start acting as patriotic Australians, they deserve what they get. It’s market forces.

ALEX MANN: Mike Holt is an anti-mosque campaigner and a former One Nation candidate. He works with the other boycott groups to target companies like Fleurieu Milk.

MIKE HOLT: We are targeting various groups. We’ve been targeting Byron Bay Cookies. One thing you have to understand is Restore Australia works legally and we do not agree with abuse or threatening people, but we have no control over our supporters. There are people out there who get very, very passionate about this and they have made threats, which is unfortunate, but these companies have brought it on themselves.

ALEX MANN:
The biggest anti-halal group, with more than 35,000 followers, is Boycott Halal in Australia. It claims certification costs push up prices and that the money for certification goes towards funding terrorism.

BOYCOTT HALAL IN AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK POST (male voiceover): One halal product = the next bullet that kills or maims. If you buy halal, you are indirectly funding terrorism.

NICK HUTCHINSON: One lady phoned me and asked if I was happy that we contributed towards the 9/11 attacks where she lost a few family members. Outrageous claims, something that – yeah, never expected, but yeah, it’s quite ridiculous.

TRISH DELANEY, BOYCOTT HALAL IN AUSTRALIA: Companies ask for feedback, but it appears they don’t like negative feedback, alright? I mean, I think it’s fair to say that people from all walks of life should be able to ask, “Are you halal certified?” It’s not a hard question.

ALEX MANN: Trish Delaney is one of Boycott Halal in Australia’s resident keyboard warriors. She spends up to four hours a day online co-ordinating the campaign.

TRISH DELANEY:
Myself, lots of the 34,000 people have written to the Government and asked the Government to please, do something about this and label it so that people can know that they have a choice. We don’t mind or have anything against people eating halal food. We don’t want to pay for it. We don’t need it and we don’t want to pay for it.

ALEX MANN: So why do you say that we’re paying for it?

TRISH DELANEY:
Because of the fees attached to the certification. Some companies say, “No, we absorb the costs,” and we say, “Well you’re not much of a business because businesses don’t absorb costs, they pass it on to consumers.”

ALEX MANN: On the NSW north coast, Byron Bay Cookie Company knows all about anti-halal campaigning. For months the company has suffered under the same sustained abusive campaign that targeted Fleurieu Milk Company.

KEITH BYRNE, BYRON BAY COOKIE COMPANY: When we’ve got the likes of our shop here in Byron Bay and we have a receptionist who has taken some of the phone calls which could – which were quite abusive and also emails that were quite abusive. That’s when we had to say, “Hold on a second, we now need to get some more support on this,” and we did have to actually bring in the police at that stage.

ALEX MANN: In spite of the opposition, he’s decided to keep his certification.

KEITH BYRNE: Cookie Company is exporting to 40 countries worldwide. So, it’s a huge benefit to us and it means that we can not only sustain our existing workforce, but we’ve expanded that over the last years and we’re now one of the biggest employers now in Byron Bay, with 65 people. We decided to keep the certification because if we were to not have that certification, that would mean that we could lose multiple global contracts, which would mean I’d have to downsize my operation here in Byron Bay. That would mean I would lose employees.

ALEX MANN: Nick Hutchinson warns that boycott campaigners are damaging local companies.

NICK HUTCHINSON:
If they were to take us down, being a local – all our profits remain in SA. If our businesses disappear, you’re being run by companies in Japan or in Europe and these multinationals and is that better? Is that – our money going back there, is that a better option? Well, I’m sure most people agree it’s not.

LEIGH SALES: Alex Mann reporting.

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The Q Society – small secret society of sad suburbanites

Blogger Andy Fleming examined this weird little group in his Overland article in March 2014 .

The Q Society, responsible for bringing out and hosting international bigots like the floridly excitable Pamela Geller, the pseudonymous self-styled religious expert “Robert Spencer” and the languid Dutch blond Geert Wilders permeates the anti-Muslim movement like a noxious smell.

Wonder if the Qs have secret handshakes, blindfolds and stuff? Or goats? Or funds which they direct to the Three Stooges featured above?

And here they are pretending to be normal. We know better.

Just so you know who hates you

779944-180213-the-q-society-of-australia

Andrew Horwood   Debbie Robinson   Susan Horwood