Tanveer Ahmed, The Age (disclosure: a friend):
“In our secular and material world, ritual can be lacking in daily life. From praying in a house of worship to participating in a family dinner, time-honoured rites have become less common. The demands of efficiency do not care for the intangible worth of ritual.
“Today marks the end of the month of fasting for Muslims worldwide, one of the great mass human rituals. Ramadan, as it is known, asks Muslims to abstain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset for a month. Its end is signalled by the sighting of the new moon, formalised in some Muslim communities in Sydney by the dispatching of the quaint but authoritative moon viewing committee.”
“Muslim clerics in Sydney and Melbourne – led by radicals Sheik Mohammed Omran and Sheik Abdul Salam Mohammed Zoud – are still preaching hatred against the West, urging followers in Arabic to resist peace and support insurgents waging war against Australian soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“In open defiance of John Howard’s proposed new terror laws and the Prime Minister’s demand that Muslim leaders desist from inflammatory rhetoric, Lakemba cleric Sheik Zoud has used his Friday prayer meetings over the past month to praise Muslim fighters.”
The Murdoch paper seems to believe that questioning Western aims in the Middle East is “resisting peace.” The clerics comments are indeed worrying but the newspaper’s portrayal of them is just as bad. Imagine a page-one article featuring radical rabbis or priests. It would never happen, of course. If anyone believes that banning such talk would increase societal harmony, they’re barking up the wrong tree.