Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Can you say Tiki torch?
I knew you could.I have spent time on the fire lines, as a wildland firefighter, airtanker copilot and air attack pilot, maybe this summer will be spent as a smokejumper pilot, its getting more possible!
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's Islamic clerics should volunteer as surf lifesavers and firemen to improve their image in a country which has "had enough of us," an influential Muslim leader suggested Wednesday.
The president of Australia's largest Islamic organisation, the Lebanese Muslim Association, made the call in a 16-page report to be considered by the nation's clerics at a meeting this weekend.
Tom Zreika suggests Muslims have become as unpopular as communists once were and accuses some clerics of inciting hatred and violence "on the preposterous justification that they are simply acting in self-defence in a time of war."
"We are not at war," says Zreika, who confirmed to AFP that details of his report published in The Australian newspaper Wednesday were accurate.
"We have become the new communism, particularly in the West, and some people in our community are so repulsed by our actions it is making life unbearable for us and our offspring," Zreika says.
Australia's top Muslim cleric, Sheikh Taj Aldin al-Hilali, created a storm of protest late last year when he described scantily-dressed women as "uncovered meat" inviting rape.
Faced with calls to get out of the country, the Egyptian-born cleric mocked the convict ancestry of many white Australians and said Muslims had more right to the country.
In a nation where beach culture is strong and public service volunteers are hailed as heroes, Zreika said firefighting and lifesaving could help Australia's 300,000 Muslims improve their image.
"It would be great to see a turbaned imam fighting fires alongside other bushfire service volunteers," Zreika, a lawyer, says in his submission to the Australian National Imams Council.---------