Multicultural Sydney: Up[date.Official Police Report of Muslim Riot and aftermath Video Mohammed Masri Threatens arresting Officer ……the usual suspects “school Jihad” erupts in Sydney’s occupied Territories
Savouring peace behind the scarf
Paul Kent From
The Daily Telegraph
September 25, 2010 12:00AM
WHAT she finds ... is beauty.
A serenity, a peacefulness in her life that wasn't there before.
"When I put the scarf on," she says, "I have never felt so beautiful in my whole, entire life."
What a feeling it must be.
A young woman, bright-eyed and true, brought up in the backyards of Australia. It was a childhood of touch football and hockey, of summer afternoons and big family Christmases.
Typical, you might call it.
And now she is a young mum, with four bouncing kids, and a husband and a life she nearly missed - and every day she prays and gives thanks for it. And all because she is now a Muslim.
It hits you like it hits everybody when they learn Rebecca Kay's choice.
Just last weekend a friend from her former hometown of Kiama came to visit her at home in Bankstown. She noticed the scarf and couldn't help but ask.
"But you're Australian," she said. "I know," she said.
"But why are you Muslim for?" was the response.
For many traditional Australians, the two are mutually exclusive. You cannot be both.
It is part of the misunderstanding about Islam, muddied by extremists and ignorance and all the very worst behaviour there is in all of us but which we often refuse to admit.
What is true is that fewer and fewer Australians are converting to Islam. When the planes went into the towers on September 11, 2001, Islam and the world changed forever.
What official figures there are for Australian converts, held by the Muslim Women's Association, are closely guarded and, even then, not entirely accurate.
"They can do it [convert] without even going to the mosque," says Keysar Trad, a Muslim spokesman.
"They can do it in a private ceremony at home. They can do it anywhere.
"But one thing I have found is even though there are a lot of people saying in the last nine years that there's a lot more interest in Islam, there were more people [converting] before we got so much publicity.
"The private interest changed to 'Can we tolerate Muslims' rather than 'Is this a way of life for us?'."
For Rebecca, the easy explanation is that her interest changed when she met her husband, Abdul Latf Darwiche, known as Albert.
Not that it changed quickly. Or easily. She is not the kind who does it the easy way.
From a family of high achievers - her mother Marie holds three world Masters records, her father John also represents Australia in Masters competition - she was similarly strong-willed.
She lived the young life, which is one of excess.
"The path I was going down before wasn't a great path," she says.
"I was a typical Australian that liked going out and drinking five nights a week.
"It kind of gets depressing over time."
For Marie and John, unable to curb their daughter's behaviour, it grew increasingly worrying. Until she met Albert and began asking his sisters about Islam.
"I give all my gratification to Albert for putting her back on the right road," Marie says. "It works both ways."
They met during Ramadan and, for Rebecca, the beauty of the religion came at night, when the sun was down and the family ate and drank together, and she saw the bond in their sacrifice.
She began questioning Albert's sisters, interested in the religion she knew so little about. They married in 2003 and, slowly, as is her way, Rebecca waited until the following year before telling Albert she wanted to convert.
It was done without ceremony, because, as she says, "God knows".
Three years later she went to a girlfriend's house, ready to begin wearing the hijab.
"My husband isn't fussed if I wear the scarf or not," she says. "I've been wearing it for three years. I feel that it's the next spiritual step for me. That it's the next decision."
Says Marie: "I get a lot of people look at me strangely here in Wollongong when I say my daughter is married to a Muslim and she's a Muslim and wears a scarf. I say she's still my daughter."
She has blossomed into a wonderful mother, says her mum, and now is part of a wider, wonderful family.
This is her religion.
One for which some want the burqa banned because they aren't like us.
Well, some are.
Bankstown Independent candidate Rebecca Kay married to Darwiche family member
8 FEB 11 @ 06:00AM BY JOANNE VELLA
A BANKSTOWN State Election candidate married to a member of the Darwiche family has urged people not to judge her or her relatives.
Rebecca Kay, 28, is the wife of Albert Darwiche, the older brother of 37-year-old drug boss Abdul, who was gunned down outside a Bass Hill service station on March 14, 2009. On October 30, 2003, Ahmad Fahda was shot 30 times at a service station in Punchbowl Rd, Punchbowl.
Ms Kay denied the Darwiches had an ongoing feud with the Fahda family. “I don’t feel there is a problem,” she said.
“Their (the Darwiches’) reputation exceeds them.”
The mother-of-four says she was driven to stand as an independent to keep the major parties “honest”.
Ms Kay is also prepared to take part in the Canterbury-Bankstown Express forum at Bankstown Sports Club on March 2 - unlike her Liberal opponent Bill Chahine and East Hills contender Glenn Brookes. “It’s the whole issue of Labor and Liberal,” she said.
“I hope to win but realistically I’m there to keep them honest. I want to see them fight for the seat.”
Formerly a loyal Labor voter, Ms Kay named Bankstown’s high-rise developments as one of her chief concerns for the electorate and accused Labor of being detached to the community’s needs.
Ms Kay said she had strong support with voters being a Muslim of Anglo-Australian background. The Wollongong-raised Bankstown resident converted to Islam eight years ago when she married Mr Darwiche.
“I’m a real person. I have a mortgage. I’m a mother. I know how it is to live in Bankstown.”
Another Shining Star in Labor's Multicultural Crown