Tuesday, 5 May 2009

religious diversity

i put up a post at the hand mirror earlier today, recognising the 18th international day of the midwife.

there were two people i know interviewed on nine-to-noon (radio nz) today. first was kefeng chu, nz police's strategic ethnic advisor and all round nice guy, talking about the new document on religious diversity prepared by and for the police. i blogged about this a while back, here. i thought kefeng did a great job explaining the issues during the interview.

second was the ozzie mozzie, irfan yusuf, talking about his new book "once were radicals". nz readers may know mr yusuf from his frequent opinion pieces in the herald and other nz papers. his book was reviewed by richard begbie of the canberra times, which is not available online (grrr), but here is an extract:

Once Were Radicals offers a window into the complexities and often hilarious confusions of a Muslim boy growing up in Australia in the late 20th century.

Yusuf, who went on to do law and become something of a commentator on religion, culture and politics, has lived in Australia since his Pakistani-Indian parents migrated when he was five months old.

The book, winner of the 2007 Iremonger Award for writing on public issues, explores most areas of Islam in both its political and spiritual dimensions. For Muslim readers the territory will be familiar, though large parts of Yusuf's experience will surely bring both encouragement and relief to younger Muslims dealing with their faith in a Western, secular context. The non- Muslim, on the other hand, will find here a mass of detail and unexpected diversity that can verge on the bewildering.

While Australia likes to think of itself as multicultural, our chance brushes with other cultures pale alongside the boy Yusuf's experiences.

another review by the australian can be found here, and there's another radio interview here. and if you're very interested, you can join up the facebook group here.

and finally, the human rights commission has put out a discussion document on religion in schools:

The paper is based on frequently asked questions and concerns about religion in schools, with a focus on state primary schools. It sets out relevant legislation about religion in schools and is intended to act as a resource for Boards of Trustees, Principals and the wider school community in thinking about how schools can give a place to religion whilst ensuring security and dignity for all.

We invite you to provide comment on the enclosed draft by emailing the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme at: nzdiversity@hrc.co.nz.


Random Lurker said...

I'm being off topic as I often am, but I found this article fascinating about Saudi Arabian beauty pageants, and thought perhaps it might be of interest to you.

Also a claim you might agree with perhaps?

stargazer said...

thanx for the links! yeah, the saudi "moral beauty" contest was definitely interesting. i agree with one of the commentors to the article that it's very difficult for any person to judge the moral worth of another. but on the other hand, we recognise valuable contributions of members of the community through the honours system, or for example, through the volunteering waikato annual awards for volunteers.

that's the kind of recognition i think is so much more valuable, because it inspires us to think about others before ourselves. whereas the normal beauty contest forces the contestant to focus solely on herself.

yup, very interesting!