More on the Muslim student walkout during national anthem. This from Rita Panahi, who is of Iranian heritage, and has a clear understanding of what is at stake here.
Asked to choose between an Australian custom and a Muslim one, a school makes the obvious choice of these times:
Lorraine McCurdy, who has two grandchildren at the [Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School in Broadmeadows], told 3AW she was furious when school officials invited students to leave during Advance Australia Fair.
“Two children got up and said `welcome to our assembly’ with that a teacher came forward and said all those who feel it’s against their culture may leave the room,” Ms McCurdy said.
“With that about 30 or 40 children got up and left the room…”
Principal Cheryl Irving said during the month of Muharram Shi’a Muslims do not take part in joyous events, such as listening to music or singing, as it was a period of mourning.
“Muharram is a Shi’a cultural observation marking the death of Imam Hussein,” Ms Irving said. “This year it falls between Tuesday October 13 and Thursday November 12…”
There are 30 to 40 observant Shi Muslims at the one state school?
But why is the national anthem defined as a disrespectfully “joyous” event? Why can’t it be a solemn one, entirely fitting at a solemn time?
After all, some singing in this month of Muharram is perfectly fine for even the most devout Shia worshippers, like these two days ago in a ceremony to honour Iman Hussein in the Iranian city of Karaj two days ago:
Chris Kenny on lies, false claims and the reality of asylum seekers on Nauru, which he has just visited:
Refugees are taking up jobs around the island and when I hear about some Iranians opening a restaurant, we track it down. Persian Gold is rustic by our standards but a clean, colourful and tasty restaurant run by brother and sister refugees, Mehdi and Sanaz.
Initially they are pleased to meet and hear of our interest in a story — what small business doesn’t grab the opportunity for free publicity? But soon their reluctance is clear. We order dinner, take a table next to a Nauruan policeman, and talk it through.
Mehdi’s initial concern is about showing his face, as he remains fearful of the Iranian government; not a problem, we can organise a photo without showing faces.
But there is an even more palpable resistance: “We don’t want to seem happy,” says Mehdi.
Although proud of what they’ve done, they don’t want refugee life to appear bearable.
This reflects their true feelings, because they do not want to be in Nauru; they have a brother in Adelaide and dream of joining him.
But there is also peer-group pressure at play which becomes all too evident when photographer Kelly Barnes takes them outside for a picture of the pair sharing a high five to celebrate their achievement.
Another refugee arrives on a motorbike and starts a tense discussion in Farsi. It is over in a few minutes and he leaves. Mehdi and Sanaz are now sullen.
They explain this man was not a friend but another refugee who happened to ride by and wanted to warn them not to look so pleased with themselves for the media.