Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Muslim woman victim of hate campaign over wine toast.

Politics: She also refuses to wear the hijab.

THE state's most promising young Muslim leader has become the victim of a hate campaign because she celebrated with a glass of champagne after being named NSW Young Australian of the Year. Iktimal Hage-Ali, 22, has been targeted on Muslim websites for drinking alcohol and declining to wear the traditional hijab. Her anonymous attackers condemned her after she drank the champagne to toast her award at the NSW Art Gallery last Thursday. "It's true, I was celebrating. Bloody hell, I had a glass of champagne in my hand – so what?" Ms Hage-Ali told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.
This sort of attitude is frowned upon by more intolerant members who seem to think she is uncovered meat.
The Islamic youth website Muslim Village posted dozens of messages berating Ms Hage-Ali. "A person who drinks champagne, especially unabashedly, cannot represent the Muslim community," one member wrote. Another added: "She knows we don't appreciate her representing us – but it's the power that drives her. Drinking champagne, that is sick." The cowardly accusers also berated Ms Hage-Ali for wearing "revealing" clothes, nail polish and make-up. "Her matching nails, eye shadow and top . . . were not . . . how Islam would like to portray a Muslim female to the wider community," one said.
Iktimal says talk to the hand.
"I'm proud of what I have done, my family is proud, my friends are proud, my colleagues are proud," the State Government public servant and tireless community worker said. "They're not looking at the fact that a young Muslim person has won a prestigious award – they are looking for the negatives." Ms Hage-Ali is regarded as one of the Muslim community's most progressive young voices since joining Prime Minister John Howard's Muslim Reference Group. She accepted her public profile would draw criticism but did not claim to speak on behalf of all Muslims.

Speaking of drinking, via Pakistan here comes a Scotch whisky rival. It sounds great and has to be a collector's item.

But it's here in dusty Rawalpindi that the only malt whiskey distillery in the Muslim world is preparing to launch its newest product _ a 21-year single malt that it claims will rival the best Scotch whisky. "Very few distilleries anywhere in the world, even the high-end ones in Scotland, produce ... 21-year old malts," said M.P. Bhandara, chief executive of the Murree Brewing Company, announcing the launch of the new product, which goes on sale in January. ....The distilling process still employs the traditional way of spreading malt on the floor of a huge warehouse for processing, rather than using modern mechanical malting systems. Two giant cellars beneath the brewery contain hundreds of old oak casks where whiskey is awaiting bottling. Experts say the result is a light spirit the color of old gold, with a balanced, pleasant taste and fragrant, oaky aroma. In his monograph "The Complete Book of Whiskey," author Jim Murray says that Murree's 12-year Malt Classic not only compares favorably with Scottish versions, but "is much better than a number of lesser Scotch malts which come nowhere near in matching this whiskey's crisp and delicate maltiness."

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