Most others will have forgotten, such is the short-term memory loss in our world of blogs and instant media and information overload, but less than a year ago we had a Prime Minister named John Howard, a Foreign Minister named Alexander Downer, a visit from George W Bush, an Immigration Minister named Kevin Andrews, and our very own international Islamist Terrorist investigation into one Doctor Haneef. My memory is online and uncensored of course: here.
Now we open up the Sydney Morning Herald to read:
LESS than a year after he was locked up in Brisbane as a suspected terrorist, Mohamed Haneef has shared a podium with the Dalai Lama at an anti-terrorism conference in India.
Which is pretty amazing, when you think about it.
The Indian doctor, who was arrested and then cleared of terrorism charges last July, told young Muslims across the world to beware, because they have been typecast as terrorists.
“I am a living example of how the menace of terrorism has affected innocent lives and the phenomenon of how Muslims are stereotyped as being terrorists or sympathisers of terrorists whether they are guilty or not,” he said.
Dr Haneef was a guest at a conference in New Delhi on Sunday organised by the Jama Masjid United Forum, an Islamic organisation in India that aims to “eradicate the root cause” of terrorism.
It was also addressed by Islamic leaders and Indian ministers and MPs.
Dr Haneef told the conference that the “entire world” was watching Muslim youths. “I am here not as an individual but as a representative of innocents who are victims of terrorism,” he said…
The Dalai Lama used his speech to strongly condemn terrorism, but called for “unbiased initiatives” to combat it. He said it was wrong to malign any one religion because of terrorist acts. The Tibetan spiritual leader also said India’s tradition of religious tolerance was a role model for the world.
However, that tolerance has been tested by a devastating terrorist bomb attack in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state, three weeks ago. The series of blasts, which killed 60 people and injured about 200, have been blamed on Muslim extremists.
After the attack an influential conservative Muslim seminary in India, the Darool Uloom Deoband and its political arm, Jamiat-i-Hind, issued a “fatwa” against terrorism. The 150-year-old institution, which influences thousands of smaller Islamic schools across the subcontinent, issued the fatwa at a meeting attended by thousands of clerics and students in Delhi.
Moving on to China, we may reflect that this being June it is nineteen years since the events of Tiananmen Square. Much has changed in China since then, but much hasn’t. As I have mentioned before, I have met quite a few people who were in China at that time, including eye witnesses of Tiananmen, and of related events: M was such an eye witness in Shanghai where he saw the once almost equally famous events that occurred at Shanghai railway station. I have met one of the leaders of the Tiananmen protests. So I think I know about it, and I know the Chinese government continues to lie about it, and continues to have a bad record in many areas. On the other hand, I know also that the actions of the Chinese government (and people) in relation to the recent and ongoing earthquake tragedy in Sichuan have been utterly commendable, especially in contrast to the uniformed dickheads who run Burma — though we must question whether the system, or corruption, subverted building codes to make the Sichuan tragedy worse in the first place. (By the way, I still say “Burma” because the name “Myanmar” is the brainchild of those uniformed “leaders” and excludes parts of the Burmese population.)
The Sydney Morning Herald remembered today:
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