05 February 2008

Jihad Sheilas

The Australian and Indonesian connection; radical Islam in Australia and its foundations in Jemaah Islamiah. Interesting, I learn something everyday -- a life-long learner :)

ABC TV in Australia is televising a documentary titled "Jihad Sheilas" on Tuesday night (link here). I guess I will have to wait for it to be televised on Australia Network in Indonesia before I get to have a squiz at the documentary itself. However, there is plenty about it in the newspapers but this is probably as much a matter of coincidence as the appeals of the Bali Bombers have also been accepted for hearing.

Back to the Jihad Sheilas. The documentary focuses on two Australian women both from rural New South Wales; Dubbo and Mudgee respectively. These are not the two country towns that you might think of first as being hot beds of radical Islam or for that matter being very much anything associated with Islam. But Rabiah Hutchinson of Mudgee is known as the grand dame of extremist Jihadis in Australia. Quite a claim to fame for Mudgee. What stirs the pot most are her statements that she has little or no sympathy for the victims of the Bali Bombings because Australian tourists go their for drugs, sex, and to commit pedophilia.

The Indonesian connection is not the lack of sympathy for the victims of the Bali Bombings but rather the fact that Rabiah learned her Islam from Abdullar Sungkar and Abu Bakar Bashir of Jemaah Islamiah fame. She apparently married the Australian head of Jemaah Islamiah in the 1990s.

The other, Raisah, openly supports Osama bin Laden as someone who follows a pure undiluted form of Islam and his actions have awoken Muslims to the oppression that they were suffering at the hands of non-believers.

I look forward to being able to watch the whole documentary to properly critique it. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating link between Australia and Indonesia that I had not known of previously.

The lack of sympathy because of the suggestion that Australian tourists engage in pedophilia and take drugs is taking a broad brush and labelling all the same. If one generalizes in a manner such as this then they can hardly complain when the same things happens in reverse where people label all Muslims as radical fundamentalists.

Both of these are generalizations that simply cannot be sustained. Not all Australian tourists are pedophiles or drug users and not all Muslims are radical fundamentalists. It is high time we got past these generalizations and started addressing the future.

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