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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: 2018-01-16T18:51:03.512+11:00


CRIKEY: Three things you don’t understand about the Syrian war


For a start, the rebels are not one big happy family all fighting for a common notion of justice. My goodness. There has been so much internet chatter among Aussie and Western Muslims about the fall of Aleppo to Syrian regime forces aided by Iranian proxies and Russia. But it’s OK. I doubt the chatter will lead to another 0.002% of Australia’s Muslims heading off to join Islamic State.

CRIKEY: How do you stop polygamy? With overreaching surveillance, of course


Pauline Hanson thinks there needs to be a national identity card in order to stop Muslims from claiming Centrelink benefits for multiple wives. Once again those bloody Muzzlems are up to no good. Marrying more than one wife and then claiming multiple spousal benefits. I mean, can you believe it? And so the headlines and talkback hosts blared over the weekend. The Channel Seven

CRIKEY: Et tu, Angela? Merkel picks politics over people


If Merkel really wants to stamp out the wearing of face veils, she will find no greater ally than the mainstream German Muslim communities. Three Muslim women And so it goes. The Brexit effect becomes the Brexit/Trump effect, which then becomes the Brexit/Trump/Italy effect. It could almost have become the Brexit/Trump/Austrian Nazi/Italy effect. It may become the Brexit/Trump/Italy/One

CRIKEY: Why George Christensen might make a great immigration minister


Barnaby Joyce reckons George Christensen needs to be given a portfolio. Would Immigration be a good fit? Have you head the rumour? Apparently National Party leader Barnaby Joyce is training up George Christensen for a ministerial gig. At least, I think it’s a rumour. At least I hope it’s a rumour, both for Malcolm Turnbull’s sake and possibly for the sake of the public servants whose jobs

CRIKEY: Some friendly advice to Tony Abbott on writing his next book


Take it from a Muslim, Tony, you need to come to terms with gay marriage. There’s been plenty of speculation about Tony Abbott’s next book. Already he is in talks with his publisher, and he has even jokingly suggested the title of “Battlescars”. Pundits are asking questions like: Why is he writing this now?  Is he making another tilt for the leadership?  Is he seeking academic employment

CRIKEY: The White Australia Policy is over, deal with it


Sadly, ignorance of non-Anglo cultures is the name of the game in both mainstream media and politics in Australia. I’ve been writing commentary and pious punditry since 2005. Before then, I was a helpless consumer of news. When caught in Sydney traffic driving to work in the morning in the early 2000s, I’d tune into 2UE for the last half hour of Steve Price’s morning show. The last 10

CRIKEY: What if our collective racism turned again to Asians?


It turns out 49% of Australians want to stop Muslims from immigrating. But what if they were convinced China's military were a much bigger threat than Islamic State (which it probably is)? Prejudices. Unless we’re lying, we all have at least one of them. I have a prejudice against music that doesn’t involve at least one hand-played musical instrument. Apologies to Iggy Azalea fans. The

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