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Preview: Planet Irf

Planet Irf

The weblog of Irfan Yusuf, bush lawyer, humorist and award-winning author, once a small-c conservative but now politically left right out. His often irreverent take on things appears in some newspapers in Australia and New Zealand and online. His comic me

Updated: 2017-10-24T19:15:25.726+11:00


CRIKEY: Extra! Extra! Bolt condemns white terrorism! (And other headlines you won’t read in the Hun)


A white terror suspect with links to anti-Islam groups was arrested at the weekend. Not that you'd read about it in the right-wing rags. The weekend was awash with local and international news, sport and culture war. Australian athletes bagged gold medals in Rio like there’s no tomorrow. The Turkish crackdown continued unabated. Some cartoonist for a national newspaper leaked tears

CRIKEY: Great, polygamy-promoting Keysar Trad now ‘representing’ Australian Muslims


Keysar Trad has finally hit the big time. Are his PR skills up to the challenge? Chicago comic Azhar Usman tells a story of trying to convince his workmate to adopt the Islamic faith. The friend is reluctant. The friend says: I’m not a huge fan of organised religion. To which Azhar responds: Hey, man. You need to become an American Muslim. We’re the most disorganised

CRIKEY: Abetz should look in his own Nazi backyard before comparing refugees to terrorists


If comparing Eric Abetz to the Nazis is "unAustralian", what is comparing refugees to terrorists? In the author’s note at the conclusion of his gorgeous book of Jewish refugee stories Cafe Scheherazade, Melbourne author Arnold Zable humanises the refugee experience, writing: Whenever I hear of another outbreak of conflict somewhere on the globe, whenever I see images of columns of

CRIKEY: The two men at the centre of the bloodshed in Turkey


Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen's rivalry extends to Australia. Turkey is going through a period of potentially divisive transition. Its political and religious identity is up for grabs. And its substantial diaspora communities — in Germany, North America and Australia, among other places — are not immune. The coup has been blamed on followers Fethullah Gulen — a

CRIKEY: News Corp gumshoe Sharri Markson does serious jernalisms on toddlers’ hair


News Corp senior writer Sharri Markson has whipped up a brand new scare campaign against Muslims based on the practice of toddlers wearing hijabs. Ramadan is the month of spiritual miracles. This year, it was especially miraculous in Australia as the imams managed to get their act together and declare that the lunar month would end on the same day. Normally, the month begins and ends

COMMENT: The Australian's Opinion Page editor explains ...


Some years back, I made a pitch to the Opinion Page editor of The Australian. I was proposing to write an article criticising the prosecution of Mark Steyn in Canada. I received this response: Irfan, Are you sure you want to be published in “an American-owned newspaper known as The Australian” by the “interim” opinion editor who published “the kind of rhetoric that hardly six-and-a-half

CRIKEY: The real reason so many conservatives are suddenly standing up for the queer community


They fought it for years. Until they realised it could be leveraged to malign an even greater foe. Last week the Prime Minister hosted a dinner for a bunch of Muslims at Kirribilli House. I didn’t get an invite. But I do know a fair few people who did go, as they plastered their Facebook walls with photos of them sitting and standing with the PM. Now I’m glad I didn’t get an invite. Since

CRIKEY: Why are conservatives so damn obsessed with Islam?


From what we know about Omar Mateen, this massacre was not an act of Islamic State-sponsored terrorism.  When it comes to fighting nasty brown-skinned Muslim terrorists with unpronounceable names, you really don’t want to look like Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler. Hence, when introducing counter-terrorism law number 56 (or was it 57? I’ve lost count) in September 2014, then-PM Tony

TERRORISM: Orlando massacre: for a minority of a minority, two worlds collide


Barely a few days after Americans of all faiths and backgrounds came together to celebrate the life of the great American Muhammad Ali, the unifying spirit of that event has been spoiled by the spilling of blood. Early on Sunday morning at an LGBTQI venue in Orlando, some 50 people were gunned down. While shocking, news of a mass shooting in the US is not new. The fact that the gunman

CRIKEY: Five men in a boat: we don't know much, but tabloids have plenty of theories


Were these men a serious threat or just delusional youths? Here’s an interesting twist on the “stop the boats” mantra. Except this story involved five young Aussies accused of plotting to sail a “tinnie” across to Indonesia and possibly beyond with a view to joining Islamic State. A parent of one of the men claims they were going on a fishing trip. All have been extradited to Melbourne (

POLITICS: Manipulating division a fizzer in London's mayoral election


Sadiq Khan studied law and worked as a human rights solicitor. He was made a partner of the law firm within a mere three years. He ran controversial cases pursuing the human rights of some very unpopular figures. Khan left practice and in 2005 was elected to Parliament in his local seat of Tooting. Yet being lawyer to the damned didn't stop him from securing 1.3 million votes in last week's

CRIKEY: Australian Liberty Alliance candidate once sang songs of jihad


Angry Anderson is the new Senate candidate for the anti-Islam Australian Liberty Alliance. But Rose Tattoo was once on the side of Afghan jihadis. I’m so excited. One of my musical heroes is running for Parliament. He’ll be a candidate for the Senate, representing me and millions of other New South Welshmen. And even better, like me, he’s a somewhat conservative chap. Though I doubt Angry

POLICY: Deradicalisation programs: do they work?


A 16-year-old boy from suburban Sydney with no criminal record has been charged with an offence whose maximum penalty is life imprisonment. He was charged for an offence of planning or preparing to commit a terrorist act. Apparently the boy was planning an attack on an Anzac Day gathering. Around 12 months before being charged, the boy was being monitored by NSW and Federal Police. Debra

POLITICS: A message to mono-cultural chestbeaters


Abul A'la al-Ma'arri (973-1057BC) was an Arab philosopher and poet who lived to the ripe old age of 84 in the district of Aleppo in Syria. When it came to denigrating religions, al-Ma'arri was an equal opportunity offender. The modern Lebanese novelist, Amin Maalouf, quotes one of al-Ma'arri's more famous verses in his The Crusades Through Arab Eyes: The inhabitants of the earth are of two

OPINION: Are we on our way to becoming a police state?


The greatest comic cop ever to grace a Hollywood screen was Frank Drebin, lead character in the cult comedy The Naked Gun. Readers may recall a fiery exchange between Drebin and the LA mayor in which Drebin proudly declares: Well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards. That's my policy. The mayor

REPORT: A Sunday with Hizb ut-Tahrir: 'forced assimilation' and what the media didn't report


Senior leader Ismail al-Wahwah pointed out that not a single Muslim army was occupying a Western capital while Western armies have occupied numerous Muslim capitals. The Australian wing of Hizb ut-Tahrir (“Party of Liberation” or HT for short), an organisation ex-PM Tony Abbott wanted to proscribe under anti-terror laws, held its annual conference in Sydney’s Bankstown on Sunday. The theme of

POLITICS: How Turnbull can avoid Howard's mistakes in alienating Muslims


A few imams do not represent Australian Muslims. Here are the people Turnbull should really be talking to. A 15-year-old boy has murdered an adult in the geographical heart of Sydney. Police believe other teenagers are also involved, as are underworld figures. A 12-year-old is under surveillance. A 22-year-old has been charged with supplying the gun, and an 18-year-old has also been charged in

OPINION: The rhetoric of madness over terrorism vacillates with little logic


In January 2009, a Melbourne "cleric" known as Abu Hamza had his face splashed across the front page of the Herald Sun. The headline above his image read: Muslim cleric blasts Aussies on gambling, booze and in huge letters YOU'RE ALL DRUNKS. The trigger was some YouTube recordings that had been made six years earlier. It must have been a slow news day. Not reported was that this

LAW: Will treating an innocent teen like a terrorist convince him to become one?


Australian police have a control order for Harun Causevic, who has not been found guilty of terrorism. Teenager Harun Causevic has not been found guilty of terrorism. But with police monitoring his every move, he is still far from a free man. Causevic, 18, from Hampton Park in south-east Melbourne, was arrested in April 2015 under suspicion of being one of the “Anzac Day terrorists” and

COMMENT: Guns don't kill people. Terrorists do.


Imagine it’s your lunch hour at work. You are standing up finishing your coffee. A man comes out of nowhere and produces a gun. He looks very young and very very angry. He orders everyone to stand still. He then goes up to people one by one and asks them about their religion. Anyone who says “Christian” is ordered to stand at a nearby wall. Once he has 10 persons, he walks past each one by one

TERRORISM: Balancing security and individual liberty - when radicalisation becomes a threat to government thinking


We were all radicals in one way or another. Some of us become more radical with age. Tony Abbott's views on abortion (at least as expressed in his book Battlelines) were quite radical for a man who once wanted to become a priest. It's unlikely that today's Murdoch tabloid columnists would have shown as little respect for an official war narrative Keith Murdoch. Radical ideas are needed for

POLITICS: Cory Bernardi gets in touch with his inner conservative


Tony Abbott is gone. Malcolm Turnbull is in power. This apparently means conservatives in the Liberal Party have or soon will be vanquished. The "wet" or small 'l' liberals have won the day. Little wonder the likes of South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi are making noises of leaving the Liberal Party and forming a new conservative party, perhaps similar to Britain's Conservatives. But

LAW: Terrorism legislation highlighted as Harun Causevic released on bail


During the pre-dawn of April 18, 2015, police raided a number of homes in south-western Melbourne. To say the raids were a media circus would be an understatement. Charges were laid against five young men pursuant to anti-terror laws. The men were accused of plotting to attack police officers as well as citizens gathering to commemorate ANZAC Day. The plot was allegedly inspired by remarks by

SPORT/RELIGION: We can slap away Eddie McGuire's 'mussie' comment. The real problem is the use of 'footy'


Australian Muslims have a sense of humour and no problem being likened to insects; what gets me is calling Australian rules "footy".  What on earth was Collingwood boss Eddie McGuire on about when he described Victorian Sports Minister John Eren as a "Mussie"? Or should that be "Mossie"? Or is this the new slang for "Muslim"? And why should non-AFL people like myself care? Because

REFLECTION: Are Australians Really Racist?


The late Padraic Pearse (PP) McGuinness was one of Australia’s most eccentric commentators and cultural warriors. At one time a columnist for The Australian - back in the days when its editorial line wasn’t beholden to the SAS (and by that, I mean the Santamaria Appreciation Society) – he went onto take control of what became the rabidly right wing Quadrant. McGuinness wrote on just about