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Islam & Aboriginality - 1

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Prof. Ian McIntoshIslam destroys Aboriginality - Destructive Muslim fishermen:  Part 1 of 3

Research by anthropologist Ian McIntosh shows that contact between Aboriginals and the Muslim Macassan fishermen was extremely disruptive with an evil power entering Aboriginal society for ever.  The result was Aboriginals learned they were ‘black’ and came to believe they lost power and wealth to the ‘white’ other (Muslim Macassans) and will forever be impoverished and dominated!  (Australian Folklore 11, 1996 131)
Islam is targeting Aboriginals by feeding them a false rosy picture of the first contact with Muslims who came to take from Aboriginal land along with false tales of ‘similarities’ etc!   At a recent Brisbane conference ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Islam and the West - The Case of Australia’ (3-5/3/08), Ms Peta Stephenson  presented a paper ‘Reaffirming Aboriginality through Allah: Indigenous Muslims in Australia’ promoting this rosy view, absurdly linking Aboriginality with Islam and promoting the view that the world was Muslim!  In reality Aboriginality is destroyed by Islam (see also parts 2, 3 - to come).
 
Aboriginies of Arnhem Land
Aboriginies of Arnhem Land ca 1920 


Ms Stephenson’s claims are in blue italics, Mr McIntosh’s are in brown.

“Many Aboriginal people in Australia today are seeking to reaffirm their Indigenous identity by recovering ties to country, culture and community. The retrieval of Indigenous heritage is often narrowly understood in terms of historical accuracy, cultural purity and authenticity.”  
Yes sir, let’s remove that accuracy immediately and let’s try the lie that Aborigines were always Muslim (70,000 years worth when Islam only started as an Arabic religion in the 7th century or later! Ie less than 1400 years)Peta Stephenson

“As a vehicle for the reconstruction of an Indigenous identity, Islam produces not only new connections to the past, but new strategies for connecting with the non-Indigenous world in the present and future.”  
Yes, connecting with a barbaric, Arab supremist ideology will really help!
 
“Their identification with Islam has provided my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Muslim interviewees with a constructive way of responding to the processes of cultural disruption and physical displacement.”   
Is she talking about Stockholm syndrome?  In fact their first contact with Islam/Muslims caused terrible disruption with the Indonesians bringing an evil force into Aboriginal existence.  

Cultural disruption, alcohol (rape?) and Aboriginal efforts to cope:
Ms Stephenson notes that from the late 17th or early 18th century Muslim fishermen arrived on the northern coast.  She treats us to lovely tales of warm co-operation between the Muslim fishermen and north–coast  Aboriginals - never a cross word, never exploitation of Aboriginals, never use of Aboriginal females!!    While those nasty whites/Europeans ‘wanted to exploit the labour and skills of local Aborigines’   and eventually stopped the trading of the Makassan  ‘fleets.’

Ms Stephenson notes the Macassan traders took sea slugs and sea cucumbers to trade with China - this was Indonesia’s greatest export to China.
 
Sea Cucumbers
Leopard and Prickly Red sea cucumbers (Australia) 


Reality: They went to make as much money as possible - What was left for Aborigines?  Were Aborigines paid in Sea Slugalcohol and tobacco brought by the Muslim‘traders’ or did they just use alcohol to render the Aborigines ‘co-operative?’  Aboriginal dreaming shows they lost wealth and power and became dominated by the ‘other’-the ‘white’ Muslim Macassans!!

Islamic text tells Muslims they have the right to the land, property, women and children of the infidel and are free to rape the females.   Did Macassan traders enslave and rape Aboriginal females?  Were they uncovered cat’s meat?   

Ms Stephenson refers to research by anthropologist Ian McIntosh on Aboriginals from the North-east of Arnhem Land and neighbouring islands, the Yolngu people, and ‘Islamic’ references but ignores the meaning of his findings.  

Ian McIntosh writes of this disruptive contact:
“It concerns the arrival of ‘Indonesian fishermen in northern Australia in the early 1700s and I speculate on how Aboriginal thinkers came to terms with the new, given that atrocities were a feature of contact. ...”
He was:
“..concerned with how innovations in the Dreaming which are linked to the Macassan period are still relevant in Aboriginal lives. I investigate narratives in which Aborigines are confronted with the idea of being forever impoverished and bound in a state of dependence upon the non-Aboriginal Other and how salvation is seen to come only in the hereafter, in the paradise of a God held in common with the coloniser.”

“the Indonesians had possessions which were greatly desired — dug out sailing canoes allowing for
long distance travel along the coast; cloth, knives, and most significantly, alcohol and tobacco.”

“In north-east Arnhem Land, however, the impact was unceasing, and in any one area, Aborigines were totally outnumbered by the visitors.”
Macassan Journeys
Macassan Journeys 

Aborigines become ‘black’, impoverished, powerless!
McIntosh describes myths where the Aborigines (initially white and rich) became ‘black and poor’ under the influence of the Macassans who became ‘white and rich.’ Islamic text says those with white faces go to heaven, those with black faces go to hell eg Koran 3.106, 39.60.  Did Muslim Macassans tell aboriginals they were ‘black’ and going to hell?  Did they claim Aboriginals had broken Islamic law-nolonger ‘white’- and would be punished?   Islamic text describes Mohammad as white (article  Islam is racist) and prior to the Macassans, what would Aboriginals know of ‘white/black’?
“In one Dreaming account, in the beginning, Aborigines were ‘white’ and  rich and Macassans ‘black’ and poor and the visitors worked for the Aboriginal land owners. But events were turned around when a mythological Dog (dogs are the most offensive things in Arabic Islam) representing Aborigines was rude and unco-operative to the visitors, and so the wealth of Macassans, which was seen to originate from Aboriginal land, was lost to them. From that point on, Aborigines were ‘black’ and poor and Macassans ‘white’ and rich.”

Another claims an initial partnership but, due to the influence of a bad spirit, aborigines became jealous etc and trouble ensued.   The totally outnumbered Aborigines were victims who blamed themselves for the trouble!  Generally problems were resolved and balance returned but this was not the case this time with the Macassans.
 
Macassan Prau - Rock Painting
Rock painting from Groote Eyelandt depicting Macassan Prau 
“Now in the case of the Macassan epics, there is no return to the status quo and the way in which this change was rationalised or seen to be resolved in myth and religious practice represents a significant change in world view.  As was mentioned earlier, Aborigines and Macassans were seen to be united by one law at the beginning of time. This law is associated with the mythological being Birrinydji, who was the source of all Wurramu. .....Rather, the focus will be on Birrinydji’s nemesis, a mythological being called Walitha’walitha, whose task it was to restore harmony to the land.”
“Similarly, the qualities of good and bad were always present in roughly equal proportions but since the days of the Macassans, an evil power had entered people’s lives, and it was there to stay.  This Wurramu is an ever-present and powerful force to contend with and it threatens all living things and societies, whether Aboriginal or Macassan.”

 “The visitors in the Dreaming narrative were alone able to maintain the law throughout this period of chaos and they said to the Aborigines, ‘From now on, we will have everything and you will have nothing.’ Aborigines would work for the visitors in a master/servant relationship, because Aborigines had broken the law that once united them.”
Macassan Prau
Macassan Prau - Early 20th Century 

The problems brought by the traders were referred back to ‘something going wrong at the beginning of time.’ No doubt Muslim propaganda will claim this proves that Aborigines were Muslims but they turned away and were punished when in fact, using the mythology and understandings they had, Aborigines were simply trying to understand and explain why they were so badly treated by these Muslim Macassans!!   The Macassans brought evil and disturbed the harmony of the land.  Aboriginals were accused of ‘breaking the law’and thereby deserved this punishment.   Living in the heavens above Aboriginal land, Walitha’walitha was said to have come down to earth to the aid of Aborigines at their time of greatest need-the time of the Macassans (Muslims).   
 
Walitha walitha is a ‘good god’ who attempts to restore order – it was linked with allah no doubt from Macassan influence and an attempt by Aboriginals to associate the new ‘god’ into their dreaming or mythology in the hope of restoring balance.  Today Walitha walitha  is linked with the Christian god.   Obviously if Walitha walitha really was allah he wouldn’t be helping the Aborigines against the Muslim Macassans, he would be helping the Macassans instead in subjugating the Aboriginals!

“While there is some overlap in meaning between the Aboriginal Allah and the Allah of the Islamic world, the two are seen to be quite separate. The dances associated with this being appear to be of Indonesian origin, as do the words of the songs, but Walitha’walitha is an Aboriginal creational entity associated with particular territories on the Australian mainland, and has always been there, consultants say. Belief in Walitha’walitha is not seen to be the same as belief in the religion of the Other. Walitha’walitha and Wurramu represent bodies of belief shared by different peoples, but the perspective of Aborigines is for Aborigines alone.”
“The religion of the visitors, that of Islam, became the vehicle for an Aboriginal Dreaming in which there are visions of a return to inter-racial harmony. Since the establishment of Christian missions in north-east Arnhem Land in the 1920s, Walitha’walitha has become synonymous with the Christian God, and the Wurramu with the Devil. It is therefore not surprising that Christianity, as practiced in this area, has an overtly political aspect, with belief in God being directly linked to calls for equality, justice and land rights.”  
Processing Trepand
Macassans at Port Essington - Processing trepang, 1845, drawing by HS Melville
The trepang (sea slugs and sea cucumburs) were collected by spearing, diving or dredging. Divers (many of whom were Aboriginal) worked in up to 14 metres of water, bringing up 10 trepang at a time in woven bags. For dredging, dugout sailing canoes operated in pairs, scooping trepang from the seabed.
The trepang were prepared for travel by first splitting them open, boiling in seawater and pressing them under sand or stones. The body was stretched open with slivers of bamboo and preserved by sun-drying and slow smoking in smoke houses.

As a result of contact with the Muslim Macassin ‘traders’ (thieves), Aboriginals believe that:
“In the here and now, there will always be strife, poverty and domination by Others. This, I suggest, is a previously unrecorded legacy of contact between Aborigines and Indonesians.”  
(Australian Folklore 11, 1996 131)

Hence, contact with Muslims wasn’t lovely but very destructive with a new language and culture inflicted on or absorbed by the victimised Aborigines who attempted to reconcile their beliefs and understandings with the situation imposed on them.  The mythological Walitha walitha, since the disruption of the Muslim Macassans has been linked with the god of the ‘other’ in an effort to return to peace and harmony.

Obviously one cannot reaffirm ‘Aboriginality’ through allah unless one wants to reaffirm the inferior, dominated, abused state of the Aborigines resulting from contact with Muslim fishermen.  The ‘greed, lust and violence’ that interviewees in Ms Stephenson’s work blamed on white fellas and ‘Christianity’ (did Jesus enslave, rape, steal, kill, beat – NO!  Mohammad did!) clearly came with the Muslim fishermen who took from the Aboriginals!   (see parts 2, 3)
 
Yolngu Women
Yolngu Women 
Knives and alcohol traded for Aboriginal labour proved lethal, especially when combined with angry retribution over the abductions of Yolngu women. Conflict and bloodshed figure prominently in the Yolngu oral histories of the period. 
 
 
Perhaps, allah is really Wurramu, the evil brought by the Macassans, an evil spreading over us all; an evil that is very racist, intolerant, repressive and abusive of women and utterly destructive of peace between people until all are either Muslim or subjugated!

What’s the chance of a critical analysis of Islam’s contact with northern Aborigines - NONE!

Ps. We also get the lovely Afghan camel drivers (How Muslim were they or did they leave Islam and the persecution and violence that continues today between various Afghani Muslim groups?) and the Malay itinerate workers and pearlers (a widespread people initially Hindu, but many sadly became Muslim).  Indonesians too were initially Hindu (still  in Bali), Buddhist, animist etc until Islam violently took over in the 16th century.

Parts 2, 3 Examine Ms Stephenson’s work , the absurd reasons given Aboriginal conversion to Islam and the destruction of ‘Aboriginality’ under Islam.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2008 05:31  

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