Friday, July 29, 2011

Gateway to Hell

According to its website:
Arab Gateways has been developed by Education Services Australia with a grant from the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR), which is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The resource aims to enable teachers to promote between the peoples of Australia and the Arab world mutual interests and a greater understanding and acceptance of each other's cultures, values, beliefs and diversity.
No doubt a corresponding website and school program will be promoted across the Arab world, promoting understanding and acceptance of our cultures, values, beliefs and diversity.


Disturbingly (though not surprisingly) the map, entitled "Arab World Explorer" in the first edition of that website was missing a certain country. Israel. Like most Palestinian schoolbooks.

When this was pointed out, it was hastily corrected. Now, whereas "Palestinian Territories" caption dominates most of the Mediterranean Sea, the caption for "Israel" appears in a much lighter font than all other countries in the region. Perhaps an allegory to its disappearance. Feel the love. Share the peace.

If you highlight Egypt in the interactive map, the south of Israel is absorbed by Egypt proper, while the borders of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan all take in the northern half of Israel. Saudi takes in Jordan, parts of Egypt and (of course) Israel and southern Lebanon. Quite a geography lesson...

(Click to enlarge)

The homepage graphic depicts three flags. A quarter of the Qatari flag, the Somali flag (despite Somalia being in Africa, it is still considered a member of the Arab League) and one and only one flag depicted in its entirety. Can you guess which one? I'll give you a hint. It isn't Israel and it's chief export is suicide bombers.

Clearly there is an agenda.

According to the more prominent than usual "Disclaimer" on the website:
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) does not guarantee, and accepts no legal liability whatsoever arising from or connected to, the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any material contained on this website or on any linked site.
No kidding.

The remainder of the website presents a greatly whitewashed perspective on Islam and the Arab world where there is no critical analysis of Islam whatsoever. Instead, (presumably compulsory) reading of material by Palestinian booster Randa Abdul-Fattah and Waleed Aly, both regulars on ABC programming and presumably the best and brightest in the Australian Muslim community.

Needless to say, whilst the materials cover the Haj (Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca), "Muslim Heroes and Personalities" and various other Islamic traditions in detail, it makes barely any mention of the non-Muslim Arab world. You know, the Kurds (Muslims, non-Arabs), Assyrians (Christians), Copts (Christians), southern Sudanese (Christian), Maronite Lebanese (Christian and mostly identified with their Phoenician ancestors) and the odd Jew or other.

This, plus the obvious anti-Israeli slant of the site is a worry. Sure, it's not teaching impressionable young Muslim Australians about eeevil Jews putting poison in their Bananas (as previously taught at an Australian Islamic school). However it represents the creeping of an intellectually dishonest and far from critical analysis of one of the most troubled and culturally backward regions on the planet.

And your tax dollars paid for it.


Anonymous HRT said...

Sadly I no longer have an atlas I bought in Riyadh. In it, the word Israel had been blacked out by the Muttawa (religious police). I presume this was sufficient to make Israel disappear.

But the Saudis aren't the only ones to emulate Orson.

While in Egypt serving in the RAAF with UNEF II after the 1973 war (which the Egyptians believe they won handily),UN flights from Ismailia could not go to Israel.

Instead, the flight plan had to show Jerusalem Jordan as the destination.

The dumb show continued after takeoff, when the aircraft would set course for mythical land and then, when a suitable distance away, turn for its destination in Israel.

5:10 AM  
Anonymous TBS said...

Hi JF,

I want to send a copuple of links from this site to friend, but cannot send a link to individual posts.
is there some way to do this?
no point sending a link to the whole site when they can't locate the post i have in mind.

Please advise or please organise a linking mechanism for clarity.
Thank you. :)

3:39 PM  
Anonymous TBS said...

turns out, according to the website, Randa is a member of the CJPP, a proPalestinian org set up by Peter Manning which advocates BDS.

So nice having all this "impartial" material and terror groupies being subsidised,, isn't it?

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Ted said...

And they haven't removed South Sudan.

9:19 AM  

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