So easy, given the obscene calls for extreme punishment by some in the Sudan teddy bear case, to inflame prejudice against Muslims, but we would be well advised to listen to the one most concerned.
The British teacher jailed in Sudan for naming a teddy bear Mohammed has said that she wished she could stay in the country… In a statement issued through her legal team, Mrs Gibbons added: “I’m fine, I’m well, I’m very grateful to all the people who have been working on my behalf. I know so many people out there have done so much. I know the Prime Minister called my son and I am really, really grateful to everyone. I want people to know that I have been well treated and especially that I am being well fed.”
In a telephone call to her son John in Liverpool, Mrs Gibbons said: “I don’t want any resentment towards Muslim people.”
SBS, despite criticism that it has become bland since adopting advertising during programs, does continue to put out highly significant programs. This coming week there are two of interest.
1. Temple of Dreams (Tuesday 8.30) — “Fadi Rahman runs the self-funded ICRA Youth Centre, operating out of a converted Masonic Temple in the heart of Sydney’s Muslim community. When the Cronulla riots take place in December 2005, Fadi realises the need to accelerate and increase the programmes for Muslim youth made possible by ICRA. In the meantime, the local council has ruled that the location of the Youth Centre contravenes zoning regulations. The film follows Fadi and his team of dedicated volunteers for over 18 months. A couple of ambitious youth projects are successfully realised, while in the background the fight to retain the Centre’s premises goes on.”
2. EAST WEST 101 (Thursday 8.30) — “a 6- part mini series about the investigations of the Major Crime Squad in Metropolitan Sydney. It is the story of two detectives – one a Muslim, the other Anglo-Australian, and the battle between them for survival. In a post 9/11 world, it is also a metaphor for the fear that exists between East and West when two men search for love, approval and forgiveness, as their destinies collide. Given the terrorist attacks recently in London, Bali and Egypt, this show has enormous international relevance.”
See Graeme Blundell in The Australian.
“YOU’RE either an Arab or you are a cop,” snarls Senior Detective Crowley (William McInnes), old-school policeman, at odds with everything, especially himself. Young Muslim detective Zane Malik (Don Hany) stares him down edgily, torn between his religion and his role in the major crime squad.
A battle for dominance between two strong men or a metaphor for the fear that exists between East and West, as two lost people search for forgiveness and authenticity?
This is how SBS’s seductive, highly intelligent and often abrasive new six-part police procedural series begins. And good it is, more cinematic than any crime show we’ve produced so far, its clever use of conventions setting up a persistent play of meanings and ambivalences.
On the Teddy Bear case see Indigo Jo. The Kashmiri Nomad finds ample evidence of undesirable behaviour closer to home: Tolerant Westerners Strike In Australia… Target Muslim School, and he is not wrong on that one. Nice to see the minority nutters in Camden doing their bit for Australia.