News You Might Have Missed * Vol. 7, No. 22

Important but overlooked news from around the world.


“This town has every nationality … but Muslims do not fit in this town.”

— Bias is widespread in one Australian town, amid debate over plans for a new Islamic school (see “Islam,” below).


Muslims Down Under: Bias and Sketch Comedy

Olympic stadium mobile home

Where did all the dead bodies go?


* Muslims Down Under: Bias and Sketch Comedy

A fight over a proposed Islamic school in a small Australian town has turned nasty, with locals accusing Muslims of trying to take over their country.

The disagreement reflects a larger struggle among Muslims to define their identity in the land Down Under.

According to the BBC, Sydney’s Quranic Society has purchased 15 acres of land on the outskirts of Camden, New South Wales, with the idea of building a 1,200-student Islamic school.

At a town council meeting last fall to discuss the proposal, one resident said, “Why hasn’t anyone got any guts? They’ve got terrorists amongst ’em,” according to the BBC. “They want to be here so they can go and hide in all the farm houses … This town has every nationality… but Muslims do not fit in this town.”

The Camden council is set to decide on the development within the next month.

Of more than 3,200 council submissions from the public, only about 100 are in favor of the school, the BBC reported.

The school decision comes at a time when Australia’s 300,000 Muslims are seeking to overhaul their public image.

At a meeting last week of the nation’s largest Muslim organization, moderate members ousted their controversial leader in what the newspaper the Australian called a “coup.”

After a vote of no confidence in president Ikebal Patel, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils replaced him with Haset Sali, a lawyer who had previously made headlines for his harsh criticisms of AFIC leaders.

The organization has in recent years been beset with financial scandals and power struggles between immigrants of Pakistani and Fijian-Indian backgrounds.

Just last year, the mufti, or figurehead leader of Australian Muslims, was ousted after he suggested that scantily-clad women were inviting rape and likened them to uncovered meat.

The AFIC’s Sali now says the mufti role should be abolished, according to The Australian.

Meanwhile, a television program is trying to fix Muslims’ public image in an entirely different way.

“Salam Cafe,” which recently began airing nationwide, deals with Muslim issues using on-the-street interviews and comedy sketches.

“Humour is a particularly Australian characteristic, and we all originate from different places, but we’re all Australian,” program host Ahmad Imam told The Age earlier this month. “And the humour is probably a reflection of the new kinds of Muslim in Australia, who are comfortable living and practicing their faith and joking.”

–Will Crain/


“Town moves against Islamic school”
BBC News, May 26, 2008

“Role of mufti ‘should be dropped'”
The Australian, May 22, 2008

“Moderates Stage Coup at Australian Federation of Islamic Councils”
The Australian, May 21, 2008

“Peace of cake”
The Age, May 15, 2008


* Olympic Stadium Mobile Home

The Olympic Torch makes a world tour, why not an Olympic stadium?

The Guardian is reporting that organizers of the London 2012 Olympics are planning to build a so-called flatpack stadium, which could be partly dismantled and shipped to another location.

According to the Guardian, London organizers have spoken about the proposal with planners for Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

The paper quoted Chicago organizer Doug Arnott as saying: “If we could box it up and ship it to the next games, that’s something that could benefit the Olympic movement. This is to do with the responsible use of materials and trying to avoid leaving infrastructure that will burden a city.”

The Guardian posits that such re-use of materials could open up the possibility of developing nations hosting future Olympic Games.

But another spokesman for Chicago’s 2016 bid discounted the Guardian’s report.

“We have not had discussions with them about purchasing seats or moving any seats over at this point,” Patrick Sandusky told the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune also quoted Arnott as saying: “Seats don’t make a lot of sense. They are readily available and readily disposable.”

–Will Crain/


“For sale: flatpack stadium suitable for Olympic Games. One careful owner …”
The Guardian, May 27, 2008

“London-to-Chicago stadium shift unlikely”
Chicago Tribune, May 28, 2008


* Where’d All the Dead Bodies Go?

You might think that if there’s one product that will never be in short supply, it’s dead bodies.

Though there’s no shortage of dead people, but U.S. medical schools and universities are having trouble getting enough cadavers for dissection in anatomy courses.

The Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post report that the supply of human cadavers for dissection in Colorado and Wyoming is at its lowest rate in 20 years, and it’s hardly any better in other parts of the country.

Anatomy instructors are turning away students.

Mark Frasier, an associate professor at Colorado State University, told the Los Angeles Times: “This year, I requested 15 (cadavers) and we’ll get seven. So now I’m cutting back on students that can take dissection. It’s such a shame. I have the room, all the things we need to teach, and I can’t do it.”

Mike Carry, an official at the Colorado Anatomical Board, told the Denver Post: “Textbooks will tell you where things are supposed to be, but hardly anyone has that typical pattern. One of the things you get out of dissecting is an understanding of variation.”

The Times also quoted Arthur Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania, as saying the shortage is due to a surge in demand as new students enter the system, and competition for donations from the growing human tissue industry.

–Will Crain/


“For human dissection needs, the body count is low”
Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2008

“Cadaver shortage hits medical schools”
Denver Post, April 29, 2008

Editors: Will Crain

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