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Thread: SBS doco last night

  1. #1

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    Default SBS doco last night

    Cutting Edge: Embedded with Sheik Hilaly


    A young man decides to move in with Australia?s most controversial Muslim figure, Sheik Taj El Hilaly, in order to learn more about the cleric, Islam and the Australian-Muslim community.


    Dave Zwolenski is 26 years old and likes girls and drinking beer. Raised a Catholic, these days he prefers to stay away from religion altogether. Sheik Hilaly is 66, born in Egypt and a devote Muslim. He likes praying and drinking ?man tea? (his own special blend). Together, Dave and the Sheik form an odd couple, but for the next few weeks they are going to be inseparable.

    Arriving at Sheik Hilaly?s house in the Sydney suburb of Lakemba, Dave is a little apprehensive about what the next few weeks may have in store. Sheik Taj El Hilaly is after all, the ex-Mufti of Australia who made national headlines for his comments regarding scantily dressed woman. But Dave is determined to uncover the man behind the controversy, and attempt to better understand Islam and the Australian-Muslim culture in the process.

    As part of Dave?s experience, the Sheik insists that he observe all Muslim practices, which includes praying 5 times a day, attending mosque and no bacon! Dave also discovers a few surprises when it comes to the Sheiks rules concerning hygiene?

    To gain a better understanding of the Islamic community in Australia, Dave speaks to the Sheik?s good friend, boxer Anthony Mundine about his conversion, a newly-wed couple on relationships and a young woman about freedom of choice.



    In a bid to find out why some Australians are so afraid of Islam, Dave travels to Camden in south west Sydney where earlier this year, locals rejected a plan to build a Muslim school in the area. There, Dave meets with anti-Islamic activist Katie McCullough, a woman who caused a bit of a stir of her own when she voiced her strong opposition to Muslims living in her community.

    Back in Lakemba, Dave and the Sheik?s unconventional relationship blossoms and it seems the pair is becoming unlikely friends. But all this could end when, over a cup of ?man tea?, Dave decides to confront the Sheik about the comments that made him infamous to the Australian public.

    Embedded with Sheik Hilaly uses comical observational moments, created by a clash of cultures, in order to examine some of the bigger issues that have, and continue to, divide the community.
    Did anyone watch this last night?? Would love to know what you thought about it and if you thought it represented Islam correctly??

  2. #2

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    I thought it was great - first time I havent fallen asleep watching tv in a while!

    To be presented with such an unbiased, open view was like a breath of fresh air. The Sheik had such a humble home! He was presented as a humble, loving man - his personality seemed nothing like what was reported in the mainstream news (yay go murdoch).

    I thought it was cute the way he loves Lakemba so much, made me want to squeeze his cheeks.

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    I thought it was cute the way he loves Lakemba so much, made me want to squeeze his cheeks.
    Hehe

    I thought it was good as well - DH and I were glued to the TV for the whole thing - which is very unlike him.

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    I thought it was great too, it was so interesting.

    But I have a question (of course, you know me, )
    It's about the hijab (I think that's the right word). Anyway, lots of non-muslims have the idea that women are made to wear the hijab, etc, etc. But from being on BB we know from the lovely muslim ladies on here that this is not the case and it is the womans choice if she wants to wear it or not and completely her decision.

    But on this program what was with the couple who just got married? Dave was asking them about the wife wearing the hijab (which she wasn't at the time). And the husband was saying he would like her to put it on in the future (which she agreed with) and Dave asked what would happen if she decided she didn't want to wear it. And the husband said that he would want her to wear it and would tell her to wear it and he said something like 'if I asked her 3 times to put it on and she didn't then I would leave her'. They were saying that it's his duty to get her to wear it because otherwise she is causing him to sin??
    Now I am confused because from the way they were speaking I thought it came across that he would pressure her into wearing it (this wasn't happening tho b/c she wanted to). Did they just not explain it very well? What is going on? Can someone explain better for me? I was worried after seeing this bit that it would also perpetuate the view that some people have that muslim women are 'opressed'. Anyways, it just totally confused me as you can tell, would be good if someone could explain!

    Also, we saw the couple have a sort of 'arranged' marriage? That's not quite the right word though...I don't know how to explain. Is this how is usually happens or were we seeing a more 'strict' group of the muslim community? And is is true that a muslim woman can not marry a non-muslim man but a muslim man can marry a non-muslim woman?
    Last edited by Heaven; September 24th, 2008 at 12:06 PM.

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    lol, that song at the end was funny

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    SaraJane,

    I only watched the last 10 minutes of the program. Firstly, I would like to discuss the topic of arranged marriages. Sara, you need to understand that arrange marriages takes place in cultures where dating is not prevalent. In some cultures, it is tradition handed down through many generations. Yes, some Muslims practice it. Why? Because of cultural influences or simply the parents wanting the best for their child/ren. Arrange marriages is a form of costume, respect to the family, not a religious obligation. Arrange marriages are not always practiced by strict Muslims or moderate Muslims. Surely, you cannot be that ignorant and believe only Muslims practice it when Hindus are notorious for the practice of arranged marriages. Japanese, Chinese and Indians also have this practice. Statistically, arrange marriages last longer than love marriages. In Islam, arrange marriages are allowed, only when both parties agree. If the Muslim sister refuses, the marriage is invalid.

    Yes, it is true, SaraJane. A Muslim man is able to marry a non-Muslim woman however a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-believer. However a Muslim man can only marry, people of the book, meaning Jews and Christians. He cannot marry a Hindi or Buddhist.

    I will be back to reply to the topic of Hijab. I have to go shopping now.
    Last edited by Girl-23; September 27th, 2008 at 03:22 PM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Girl22 View Post
    SaraJane,

    Surely, you cannot be that ignorant and believe only Muslims practice it when Hindus are notorious for the practice of arranged marriages.
    Bit harsh Girl22 I don't think SaraJane was asking the question to be ignorant. Infact Ignorance is from the word to ignore (to refuse to take notice of) the condition of knowing something but refusing to take notice of it. I'm pretty sure SaraJane was asking to gain understanding about the topics discussed in the doco?

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    Thanks prettybutterfly! Exactly, I was just asking a question to know more about it, don't see what the problem is. Don't remember saying I thought only muslims had arranged marriages either...

    Certainly no need to be defensive, anyone who had read these forums and knows me would know I would never criticise or put down another religion, and I definately wasn't. This is a place where people are able to ask questions openly about religious topics and I hope it stays that way.

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    I follow many of your threads in here Sara because I find that I'm also learning heaps about Islam and other religions. I don't think you were being ignorant at all. Perhaps it was just poorly worded - I don't think Girll22 meant anything by that.

    Keen to know more about the hijab.

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    Talking Figure of speech- not literally (lighten up people)

    My comment about ignorance was not an insult at SaraJane. It was merely a figure of speech. I did not mean it literally although some people should use their common sense when it comes to arrange marriages and their customs. But then again, majority of Australians, maybe, are not familiar with such a practice, today. On a personal note, I am all for the pursuit of true love; love marriages. Note that am not saying, all arranged marriages don't have love. I fail to see what is so appealing about arranged marriage. SaraJane, although you haven't said only Muslims practice arrange marriages, you have indicated it because of your failure to mention other cultures having this practice. SaraJane, you have not criticise Islam and I am not assuming you of it. However, sometimes you should never believe everyone you watch or hear. For example, the media does a very good job of misleading the true image of Islam.

    Sorry ladies but I can't respond to the discussion on Hijiab, not tonight, maybe tomorrow night when I am more up to it. At the moment I have other commitments.
    Last edited by Girl-23; September 29th, 2008 at 12:07 AM.

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    SaraJane, although you haven't said only Muslims practice arrange marriages, you have indicated it because of your failure to mention other cultures having this practice.
    Just thought I would mention that Sara posted in the Islam section about an Islam documentary - this does not mean that she was not aware of other cultures, just that it wasn't relevant to mention them in this particular post. Sorry to butt in - but Sara, me and others are trying to gain some understanding from the Islam ladies on BB - because as you rightly put it Girl22, the media has a way of shaping our impression of the Islam people.

    There is no need to be on the defence - this is an open and honest forum and in no way was anyone critisising. The point of this post was to gain information and understanding.
    Last edited by Aimz; September 29th, 2008 at 06:38 AM.

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    SJ, I didn't watch it but anyways - the husband saying that he would leave about the hijab. If I took mine off my husband wouldn't leave me. I'm not sure how not wearing the hijab would be making the husband sin and TBH I think that threatening to leave if she doesn't wear the hijab is a bit off. Men who seek to control their partners via threats and blackmail are icky in any culture.

    Lots of Muslims would prefer the term assisted marriage over arranged marriage. Arranged marriage kind of brings to mind the European tradition of arranged marriages between royal and 'noble' families where a girl is betrothed by the time she could walk and shipped off while she is pretty much still a child to marry a stranger. A Muslim assisted marriage is rather differant. I went to school with a Morman girl who went to the US to marry a guy she had never met in an arranged marriage a month after she finished year 12. I was really shocked and I questioned her at great length lol but she seemed really happy about it and from the reports that filtered back via her sister (who went to uni instead) she was happy in her marriage. From then on I was always fairly accepting of arranged marriages if both partners were happy to go down that path. Statistically they are just as likely to suceed as any other marriage.
    Most Muslims meet their partners via the same channels as most other Australians. They are introduced by family and freinds or they meet at work or uni or community events. I know one couple who met on a forum. Many arranged marriages are between a couple who know each other well and have asked their families to arrange their marriage. The arranging is often more to do with the details of the pre-nup. A Muslim marriage is not valid without a mahr (a sum of money paid to the bride which remains her property - this is insurance so that if she becomes a single mum etc she has some one) and a marriage contract/pre-nup which can contain pretty much whatever you want and can be incredibly detailed if you wish. Most importantly it covers things like alimony and child-support. Generally a couple will get their families to negotiate this (although they might direct the family) so that they are not tempted to give up their rights because of affection/young love.
    Also in Islam sex before marraige is considered a sin so an assited marriage often just means that the familes will visit each other a lot so that everyone gets a chance to get to know each other without temptation.
    I guess that one of the key differances is that when a guy shows up you know straight out that he is wanting to get married - there is no danger of dating a guy for a few years only to find that he doesn't want to commit/have a family.
    In some cultures a couple will get married but not move in together for several months - this gives them a chance to get to know each other a bit better and go away for dirty weekends if they want but they can still back out without the hassle of splitting property etc.

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    Totally agree with Dachlostar...

    I think one important thing to remember about the concept of "Arranged Marriage" is that a lot of the process if fuelled by cultural customs. My in laws are Pakistani, and were surprised that my Husband did not want to have an arranged marriage. Despite many meetings with potential brides to be, he felt that he wanted to meet a girl on his own accord. At the same time, neither of us ever wanted to spend years dating until we met The One. We both found eachother through a Muslim marriage website. The empowering thing for me, like Chloe mentioned, was that I met my husband and knew that it was his intention to find someone for marriage. We spoke on the phone for a few weeks getting to know what either of us wanted from marriage, and then we met up on our own (in Public) and knew that from the months of conversations we had that we wanted to marry. We kind of like to think that we arranged our own marriage. Although the process of getting to know eachother was almost business meeting like, we both made the effort to be thorough and open with eachother about our beliefs, morals and expectations before we both agreed to marry. Our meetings were always in Cafes and it was a very friendly manner, but once we got engaged and got prepared for the wedding, we started letting ourselves to have feelings for one another, within Islamic boundaries. Now we are happily married and very much in love - and I think our process of getting to know eachother and being completely honest and upfront about our intentions really helped us get where we are now.

    We are proud to say we are not the product of "conventional" arranged marriage, nor are we the product of "conventional" western dating... we made sure we were within the religious boundaries of Islam (ie. No physical touching / sexual overtones before marriage, got our families involved etc) and then did it our own way!

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    On the topic of the hijab - one of my friends watched it and she said that the husband wasn't observing the hijab for men - he didn't cover the areas he is meant to lol. I think that couple are a bit confused.

    Found this review
    The Mufti and Me

    By: Paul Kalina

    Should we give SBS the benefit of the doubt, that a documentary in which putative Aussie bloke, Dave Zwolenski, spends a week with the controversial former Mufti of Australia, Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly, was a good concept on paper?

    The 26-year-old Brisbane lad is the latest self-styled gonzo journalist. He admits he would rather drink and meet girls than investigate religion, which he says has no part in his life.

    He is one part John Safran (John Safran vs. God, Music Jamboree) and one part Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?) - the wide-eyed innocent prepared to put himself in danger to get to the bottom of an issue.

    And so, here is Zwolenski "embedded", with all its wartime connotations, in the house of the headline-making cleric.

    Sheik Hilaly is less like a deer in the headlights or a besieged combatant, than a man prepared to endure anything for a public-image makeover. He's a funny guy, who Zwolenski calls "Taj", the documentary invites us to think. The 66-year-old mufti has a Harry Potter bedspread in the spare room, his own special blend of "man tea" and fancies himself as a lady's man. Hilarious!

    But Zwolenski has some serious matters on his mind. After nearly getting mugged for filming the cafe crowd on the streets of Lakemba (frankly, I don't blame them for being wary of camera-toting TV-niks), he sets out to learn from Sheik Hilaly and his followers about Islam, its practice, how it fits with secular Australia and those unerasable comments. But it's not before a sniggering rundown on hygiene and how Muslim men, house guest included, are expected to deal with their daily ablutions.

    He attends a traditional wedding and observes that it's less about the joyous union of a man and a woman than it is about the groom buddying-up to his father-in-law. Zwolenski questions the young newly-weds about whether the wife will wear the hijab. He tries to convince them of the benefits of the Australian relationship practice of "try before you buy". They are unconvinced.

    From the inarticulate boxer Anthony Mundine he tries and fails to understand why he converted to Islam. Zwolenski flirts with a young Muslim woman who pleads with him to keep his distance. He insists on her explaining why someone so "cute" won't be friends.

    He crosses the tracks from Lakemba to Camden, where activist Katie McCullough explains why she opposes a new Muslim school in the area and why, in her view, Muslims and Australians, whatever that term means, are as incompatible as oil and water. But it plays out like shooting fish in a barrel with stereotypes culled mostly from conservative Muslims.

    Rounding up those who can be relied on to deliver a sensationalised, 10-second sound bite is what Today Tonight and A Current Affair have perfected down the years.

    But just how representative of their communities are the mufti, McCullough and the others here? (In the case of Sheik Hilaly, not very according to comments at Muslim websites.) And is it responsible to air dubious statements, even in contexts such as this, without qualification?

    Such considerations were overlooked in the rush to give a topic usually treated with pointy-headed reverence an entertaining spin.

    As hard as Zwolenski engages with the participants, the investigation doesn't progress beyond the standard of a high-school essay. And we're no wiser about the misogynist/racist/eccentric/comedian cleric or the differences between the Islamic and non-Islamic community than when we started.

    Finally, Zwolenski has the courage to raise with Sheik Hilaly those remarks. His attempts to clarify what he meant and insistence that his remarks were misinterpreted are excruciating.

    (For the record, here's what he said in that sermon: "If one puts uncovered meat out in the street ... then the cats come and eat it, is it the fault of the cat or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem".)

    "If explaining himself is that difficult, what hope does an average Australian have in understanding where Muslims like Taj are coming from?" Zwolenski concludes. Despite his ingenious though unconvincing ploy of sidling up to the cleric and leading us to think that he really likes him, this is an exercise in giving people enough rope and hanging them out to dry.

    Its intentions backfire. Search the web on the show's title and you will find an anti-Muslim website where it is exhibit No. 1 for what's allegedly wrong with the integration of Muslims in society.

    In its own pithy and irreverent way, this culture-clash documentary winds up entrenching prejudices and ignorance, rather than furthering our understanding of an important topic.


    What was SBS thinking?

    The mufti and me - TV & Radio - Entertainment - theage.com.au

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    Thanks dachlostar and eiliyah! I was confused about the hijab thing thinking it didn't really fit with what I'd learnt about Islam. And thanks for explaining about marriage, makes perfect sense now.

    Hmm...that article is interesting. I agree with some of it. I thought the documentary was interesting but I also do think that some of it might have just furthered stereotypes.

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