Reprinted with permission.
What better way to welcome 2012 than with a new museum:
…a hidden trove of performing arts treasures – a $26 million collection featuring items as diverse as Nick Cave’s notebooks, Peter Allen’s maracas, Dame Edna Everage’s extravagant outfits, and, of course, Kylie Minogue’s impossibly tiny and impeccably lavish costumes.
Begun in 1975, the Performing Arts Collection has expanded to 450,000 items. The problem is, only a tiny fraction of the collection can ever be shown…But Arts Centre chief executive Judith Isherwood wants to end the collection’s days in the bunker and give it the prominence it deserves – housing it in a big, new museum, that would become another significant cultural building for Melbourne and could cost up to $100 million. She has been lobbying governments, state and federal, to persuade them of the collection’s national significance, and of its need for a permanent home, a stand-alone building that would be the world’s first dedicated performing arts museum.
A spokesman for Premier Baillieu said that the Victorian government was aware of the proposal for a performing arts museum, but had “no plans to proceed”.
“Any future consideration of this proposal would be made in the context of a number of many competing budget demands,” the spokesman said.
So don’t go popping the champagne corks, as this Museum is unlikely to get off the ground, given the State Government’s lacklustre response to the project.
But if one Museum might never see the light of day, another – the Islamic Museum of Australia – is surging ahead, with an agenda to persuade the public that Islam had a prior presence in Australia and made a vital contribution to this country:
Muslim fishermen and traders first came to our shores in the seventeenth century, or even earlier, from the eastern islands of modern Indonesia. They sailed their prahus along our north and north-western coast fishing for trepang and trading with the Aborigines; a cross-cultural interaction that carried on for more than three centuries.
Between 1870 and 1920 approximately 20,000 camels and 2,000-3,000 cameleers landed at ports around Australia…and proved invaluable on numerous expeditions hastening to map the continent, carted wool to ports, and water to drought ridden areas, and transported mail, equipment and stores at a time when railway construction was in its infancy. They played a significant role in facilitating the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line by carting equipment, material and supplies. Without their services Australia’s inland development would have lagged behind…
In the wake of the Afghan and Indian cameleers came the hawkers and later the Malay pearl divers; they in turn were followed by the early Albanians and Turks, and other Muslims from many different countries who were all part of early Australian history…at last this hidden history…can be told.
AUSTRALIAN MUSLIM STORIES
Living as Muslims in Australia today provides fresh and unique insights to be shared with all. A host of Australian Muslim authors, comics, media personalities and charity workers have written books, made TV shows and led interesting lives which highlight the Australian Muslim experience.
This gallery will also profile a number of prominent Muslim Australian sports stars and business identities such as, Ahmed Fahour, John Ilhan, footballer Hazem Masri and cricketer Uthman Khawaja.
Indoctrinating our young people is firmly on the agenda:
The Islamic Museum will conduct educational tours for School groups. These interactive and informative tours will provide a fascinating insight into Australian Muslim life, art, history & civilisation.
The tours will be led by Sherene Hassan, who has addressed over 500 primary and secondary school groups over the last 10 years…Education Kits will be prepared by our team of registered teachers with years of experience in Australian schools.
Sherene Hassan is part of the Hamas and Hezbollah-supporting ICV, and a master of taqiya, like when she said she “deplores that Islam is often linked with misogyny and is doing her utmost to confront this belief”. Scary to think that our government is funding the spread of false reassurance about Islam.
- …provide educational and cross-cultural experiences and showcase the artistic and cultural heritage of Muslims in Australia and in Muslim societies abroad.
- …foster community harmony and facilitate an understanding of the values and contributions of Muslims to Australian society.
Maysaa and Moustafa Fahour, founders of the Islamic Museum of Australia…hope it can break down misunderstandings…and dispel stereotypes of the often misunderstood religious minority.
…the idea for a precinct emphasising heritage and art drawn from the more than 60 ethnicities who identify as Muslim here was developed by Macquarie banker Moustafa Fahour and his wife Maysaa.
The venture has been granted charity status by the ATO and has the personal endorsement of Victoria’s Multicultural Affairs Minister Nick Kotsiras.
Land has been acquired at a Thornbury industrial site…Darebin Council had signalled that an Islamic museum would be welcome in the neighbourhood.
The museum will include a permanent exhibition featuring basic information about Muslims’ religious beliefs provided in a digestible form to the public.
School groups are also expected to tour on a daily basis.
“As a mother, I love the NGV and Scienceworks and have my kids participate in knowledgeable activities. Nowhere was there something about Islam …It struck me as something to really strive for,” said Mrs Fahour.
Apart from a six-member board…an advisory committee includes SBS board member Hass Dellal, Immigration Museum manager Padmini Sebastian and ABC personality and politics lecturer Waleed Aly.
Alarmingly, the Victorian Government follows the Islamic narrative:
Nicholas Kotsiras welcomed the establishment of the Islamic Museum of Australia…saying that world cultures, traditions, religions, arts and crafts were the bridge linking civilisation and humanity.
“This brings people together and helps build Victoria’s reputation as a thriving, cohesive and cosmopolitan State. It will educate all Victorians on the complexity and diversity of Muslim identities. It will dispel myths and misconceptions, and work towards creating an understanding, compassionate and cohesive society. It is a noble vision; it is a worthy vision.”
Disturbing that our Government welcomes an Islamic museum, which will undermine our free society, yet refuses to consider a Performing Arts museum, which would celebrate the fruits of our freedom and creativity.
The Islamic Museum plans to host visiting exhibitions, such as “The 1001 Islamic Inventions exhibition currently touring the U.S.A.”
Sadly, apart from suicide belts, I can’t think of too many other Islamic inventions!
“The recent Australia’s Muslim Cameleers exhibition at the Immigration Museum is another example of the type of exhibition the Islamic Museum aims to attract.”
I went to this exhibition, which perpetuated the myth of Muslims’ huge contribution to Australia.
It came with an education kit, ensuring our kids were indoctrinated, as well as the teacher Personal Development programme, explaining how to brainwash young minds:
“The exhibition offers an opportunity for students to engage with the diversity of individual experiences in our nation’s history and the contribution to the Australian identity and values in relation to issues of respect, tolerance and social harmony.”
Philip Jones eulogised these “pioneers”, suggesting that our failure to appreciate them was due to our ‘Islamophobia’:
The cameleers pioneered a network of camel-pads and tracks that later became roads across outback Australia. The homesteads, mines, missions and townships linked by this network depended upon the cameleers for their viability.
One thinks of the energy and resources directed towards preserving the records and memory of Australia’s Chinese pioneers who provided commercial infrastructure for the Victorian goldfields, or the heritage associated with the contribution made by the post-war migrants to the Snowy River Scheme. How is it that the legacy of the cameleers has been so neglected?
It would be easy to suggest the oversight had to do with the cameleers’ adherence to Islam… But the cameleers did not come to Australia to proselytize…their religious observances rarely impinged on their remarkable capacity to deliver goods intact across vast distances of the Australian interior. For these achievements they earned the general respect of their European neighbours.
Little remains of the heritage of Australia’s Muslim cameleers. Many of these fine men ‘died in the jungle’ with little recognition or understanding from the wider community.
Bill Seager, curator of South Australia’s Museum, continues this theme:
…This exhibition leaves no doubt that camels, cameleers and Australia’s first Muslim community helped shape Australia’s outback.
Their stories…integrate a history of Indigenous Australians that is interpreted outside of the typically marginalised and violent confines of the colonial frontier.
If we don’t get the message that Muslims share with Aborigines the claim to be the indigenous people – unlike the White colonial invaders – a bit of visual art should do the trick:
“The exhibition ends with a 2003 work by Aboriginal/Afghan artist Ian Abdulla titled Afghanistan Blood in Him like Me.
It is a work that seeks to reconnect Abdulla with his Afghan past.
The image reminds us of the exhibition’s relevance for Australian visitors today.”
Our dhimmi Government reinforces this message:
Muslims in Australia have a long and varied history that is thought to pre-date European settlement. Some of Australia’s earliest visitors were Muslim, from the east Indonesian archipelago. They made contact with mainland Australia as early as the 16th and 17th centuries.
…Afghan camel drivers…were vital in the early exploration of inland Australia and in the establishment of service links.
Since the 1970s, Muslim communities have developed many mosques and Islamic schools and made vibrant contributions to the multicultural fabric of Australian society.
Vibrant contributions indeed – vicious gang rapes of teenage girls, criminalizing free speech, and the push for sharia law, including polygamous marriages!
Perhaps the most astonishing feature of the exhibition was the whitewash of the first terror attack in Australia, with a display of the 2 firearms used by Gool Mahamed and Mullah Abdullah in their attack on the picnic train passengers near Broken Hill.
But lest we think they were terrorists (they were!), we are told:
After Federation in 1901, negative sentiment towards ‘coloured races’ was expressed in the White Australia Policy….
These factors, and the alignment of Ottoman Turkey against Britain during the First World War, help to explain the extraordinary events at Broken Hill on New Year’s Day, 1915. On that morning, two cameleers flying the Turkish flag fired on a picnic train as it left the town. At the close of the resultant gun battle, six people, including the two assailants, lay dead.
So our racism caused them to feel alienated and kill people!
The exhibition described some colourful Muslim characters:
Mohammad Bux built up a successful business career in Western Australia…he was able to call his father and cousin to join him in Perth. The process of facilitating the arrival of his extended family members did not cease…Mohammad remained the most successful of the Bux family due to his sharp business acumen and high standards of business ethics.
He brought his wife and a seven years old daughter to live with him…As a practicing Muslim woman…his wife observed purdah and did not come out in public. The practice got him into trouble when some neighbours reported him to the police for imprisoning a woman. Only when an English man well versed in Islamic law explained to the court did the judge dismiss the case. The judge ordered that Bux take his wife daily for a walk at night!
Throughout the three decades of his life in Perth, Mohammad Bux retained his Muslim identity…The spirit of serving the community also helped his country of origin.
When back in Lahore, he helped build the Australia Mosque…
Shocking to hear that even then a judge ignored the law in favour of sharia.
Purdah must NEVER become acceptable in Australia!
No woman ‘observes’ purdah, just as she doesn’t ‘observe’ honour killing or fgm.
These Islamic barbarities are an affront to our egalitarian values and to civilised norms.
And if Bux came here to make money, then took it back to Lahore, how did this help Australia? He came here illegally, but instead of being deported, he brought hordes of his relatives here.
Both museums portray fantasy: the Museum of Performing Arts would have showcased our vibrant arts scene and been a great tourist attraction, while the Islamic Museum will portray a fantasy that Islam is benign and shares our values.
Mind you, there is a precedent for ‘Museum jihad’.
“Thousands of years of cultural heritage that has come from the Muslim world.” Will the Children’s Museum have exhibits on the hundreds of millions of victims of over a millennium of jihadi wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilations and enslavements? Will it have video on the over 18,000 Islamic jihad attacks since 911, each one done with the imprimatur of a Muslim cleric? Will it showcase the ongoing jihad against the Jews and Christians and Hindus and Sikhs?
And “Muslims in America”? I look forward to seeing the profiles of the 9/11 hijackers, explaining how they were motivated to kill by the quran…
There could be more exhibits dedicated to the stealth jihad — to exposing, for example, grifter Gamal, radical Rauf and Daisy the Con, and their sinister and deceptive Ground Zero Mosque project, and all the Islamic supremacist initiatives to assert Islamic law over American law all over the country.
All this could serve as a warning to non-Muslims to be resolute in defense of freedom against jihad.
But you and I know this exhibit will showcase none of that. Instead, it will be another Hamas-tied CAIR attempt to portray Muslims as the victims of “Islamophobia.” At the taxpayers’ expense.
A glance at those behind the Australian museum gives cause for concern: those involved with ICV are not moderate, nor are any who advocate sharia law.
The Board includes Maysaa and Moustafa Fahour, Sherene Hassan, Anisa Buckley, with Ahmed Fahour as Patron. ICV’s Hass Dellal and Waleed Aly are part of the advisory committee. Could Anisa Buckley be a moderate? To those claiming sharia oppresses women, she replies:
This argument (against sharia) is also misguided for several reasons, mainly that the absence of such a system hurts Muslim women more than the presence of it.
Whatever reservations we may have of religious laws, people in liberal democracies will turn to them if they think it is to their benefit.
And there are many helpful and beneficial aspects to Sharia law.
As for the Fahours, Ahmed was CEO of Bahrain’s Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House, and cooperated with Macquarie Group to offer a broad range of wholesale Shariah compliant financial services.
Moustafa Fahour is a Board member of Crescent Wealth, which recently launched a sharia-compliant superannuation option. Last month, a Sydney legal firm co-hosted an event with The Crescent Club, with Ahmed Fahour, as the guest speaker:
Sounds to me that the Islamic Museum has an awful lot of sharia connections!
An Age opinion piece laments the lack of support for cultural, as opposed to sporting, endeavours:
The Performing Arts Museum would cost an estimated $100 million – not even a third of the cost of reconditioning Melbourne Park. Ms Isherwood, along with the collection’s patron, Barry Humphries, and actor and long-time Melbourne resident Geoffrey Rush have been lobbying Ted Baillieu, in his Arts Minister costume, and his federal counterpart, Simon Crean, to attract support.
In truth, the proposal…would bring hundreds of thousands of examples of cultural memorabilia out of storage…and up into the light, where they belong. This wide-ranging collection, an intrinsic part of Melbourne’s heritage, is of priceless national and international significance.
But it seems not all culture is neglected.
If it’s Islamic, our governments will rush to help!