‘We love you’: Mosque ‘vandalised’ with messages of support

United States
(Supplied: Muslim Youth CVA) By Paige Cockburn


November 22, 2016 19:57:29

The mosque has invited the anonymous supporters to return so they can “reciprocate the love”.
The mosque was subject to vandalism during its construction with doors and windows shattered. Photo:
One of the chalk messages left as a sign of support to members of the mosque. Graffiti is not often associated with positive messages, but the “vandalism” left at a US mosque from a particular group of “hooligans” was unusually heart-warming.”You are loved,” “we are your brothers & sisters” and “we are with you” were some of the messages of acceptance drawn onto paths leading into the Mubarak Mosque in Chantilly, Virginia. (Supplied: Muslim Youth CVA)
The anonymous supporters used chalk to fight back against anti-Muslim sentiment that has seen a surge in the United States, especially after President-elect Donald Trump while campaigning called for a ban on Muslims.The gesture meant even more in light of the fact that when the Mubarak Mosque was being built in 2012 it was subject to major vandalism, with about $US60,000 ($81,000) worth of damage caused.A member of the mosque, Qasim Rashid, posted photos of the artwork on social media saying “some sneaky hooligans ‘vandalised’ my mosque over the weekend” and described them as Muslim allies.Hibbi Iqbal, who also attends the mosque and is the secretary of public affairs in the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, was part of a group that arrived at the mosque early on Monday and saw the chalking.”We couldn’t help but be awe-struck,” he told the ABC.”The kids were beaming with delight and everyone else began pulling out their cameras in a race to be the first to spread the word to other members.”The mystery ‘vandals’ even left flowers by the door as if they didn’t do enough already.”Mr Iqbal says no-one has “the faintest of ideas” as to who came and left the messages, but said the mosque has a strong relationship with its neighbours who they often invite to events.”It wouldn’t surprise us at all if it was a group from any of the other religious communities in the area either,” he said.This is the mosque’s first taste of community feedback post-US election and “boy was it a good one”, Mr Iqbal said.The mosque has invited those who left the drawings to return so the mosque’s members can “reciprocate the love”.”If we are just with our friend and neighbours, they will be just with us and at the end of the day these are the bonds that will unite us against any forces seeking to destroy,” Mr Iqbal said. (Supplied: Muslim Youth CVA)

Schoolies hook-up leads to endless love

Related Story:
(Supplied: John Appleyard) ABC Gold Coast

By Damien Larkins and Bern Young


November 22, 2016 14:12:10

John and Kylie Appleyard met at Schoolies in 1989 and have been together ever since.
Year 12 graduates celebrate as 25,000 head to schoolies

Burleigh Heads 4220
The annual Schoolies event on Queensland ‘s Gold Coast is often portrayed as week of drinking, random sex, drugs and violence from which nothing good comes.The event — a week of celebration for students who have just completed Year 12 —started in the 1970s on the Gold Coast has spread to more than 10 locations throughout Australia although the Gold Coast is by far the biggest and the one that receives the most media attention. External Link:

Aussie swimming pool
It was a hot November in 1989, when 17-year-old John Appleyard and his friends went to the Gold Coast to celebrate the end of school.The now 44-year-old never imagined he would find ‘the one’ at Schoolies.”I just went up there for a good time and look what happened,” he said.John and his love met at a Burleigh Heads resort with a distinctive pool in the shape of a map of Australia.”So I actually met Kylie up in the Northern Territory part,” John said.”Somewhere in Arnhem Land.”John and a mate saw Kylie and her friends swimming and plucked up the courage to go over and chat.However young John was a bit on the shy side.”Over the next couple of days two of my friends actually let Kylie know that I was interested,” he said.”So when I spoke to her again the ice was already broken.”Over the coming days John invited Kylie to a concert at Fisherman’s Wharf, but she had other plans.That could have been where their story ended, as John and his mates headed to a Surfers Paradise nightclub after the gig. (AAP: Tony Phillips) External Link:

Surfers Paradise Schoolies 2016
“We’d been there about two minutes and I felt a tap on the shoulder,” he said.”I turned around and it was Kylie.”She invited him to dance and it was then the pair started their lifelong romance.They married in 1995, returned to the hotel for their honeymoon, and now have three children.John said he had never met another couple who met at Schoolies.”I’ve never met anyone else who has met that way,” he said.”Everyone’s always enthralled when I say we met at Schoolies Week.”In today’s world of online dating and hook-up apps, such romance may be just a dream.But John said who knows what could happen.”Hopefully this might be someone’s year,” he said.”They could end up as lucky as I am.”

Who knows what can happen at Schoolies? On the Gold Coast around 25,000 to 30,000 17-year-olds invade the city staying in the array of high-rise unit blocks, spending the day on the beach, or in bed, and partying all night.But the story of two teenagers proves that you can find love at Schoolies.

Syrian entrepreneurs thrive in refugee camp


Jordanians have mostly embraced their refugees, but their presence has put an enormous strain on budgets, services and precious resources like water.There are more than 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan: 20 per cent of the entire population. There is good opportunity to work here.”

The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is home to some 80,000 refugees. Farouk Sweets looks like a typical Middle Eastern bakery. Compared to other parts of the world affected by the refugee crisis, life in the camp appears surprisingly normal.In Zaatari there are 3,000 refugee-owned businesses of all kinds: pizza delivery, ice cream, a Safeway supermarket, bridal dress rentals, even a garden shop.Beyond filling daily needs, these businesses contribute to Jordan’s economy. They sell a sweet taste of home to nearly 80,000 Syrian refugees.”Our family’s been working in this business for eight years,” said Mr Abu Hesenih.”Everything here is Syrian sweets, specifically. Syria’s refugee entrepreneurs Amy Guttman meets Syrians bringing their business nous to Jordan. Photo:
Farouk Sweets’ pastries have proved popular with both Syrians and Jordanians. For weddings, they make orders and pick up their sweets from here,” he said. (Supplied: Amy Guttman)
Whatever the benefits and costs of their presence, most Syrians in Jordan simply want to return home.Abuelmena’em Abu Hesenih and his family intend to leave the business of baking Syrian sweets to others as soon as the war is over.”Right away we will go back,” he said. Many are owned 50-50 with Jordanians, and they generate an estimated $13 million each month.According to Mr Abu Hesenih, one-fifth of the customers at Farouk Sweets aren’t even Syrian.”Taxi drivers pick up sweets to take outside and all the Syrians that live outside the camp. “We will not stay here a minute longer.” these sectors don’t have Jordanians. The crisis costs one quarter of the country’s budget.Refugees do bring with them special skills that are benefiting Jordan.Syrians are good builders. Five bakers, all brothers, are busy rolling dough to fill large wedding orders.But this pastry shop is inside Zaatari, the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world: a miniature city set on five square kilometres of desert one hour north of Jordan’s capital, Amman.Abuelmena’em Abu Hesenih and his family abandoned their chain of bakeries in Syria when they came to Jordan, fleeing the war.The family of 25 has opened four branches inside Zaatari. We are relying on foreign labour.”

Despite his success, Abuelmena’em Abu Hesenih wants to return to Syria as soon as possible. But most refugees never thought their stay would last more than five years.Running these small businesses is as much about psychological survival as financial wellbeing.”We come here at six o’clock every morning to escape the situation we’re in,” said Mr Abu Hesenih. (Getty Images: Khalil Mazraawi)
Refugees live in corrugated metal containers called caravans. In a win-win for both sides, the Jordanian government plans to put refugees to work to develop these industries.”We have some Syrians who we can benefit from their experience,” said Mohammed Hussainy, the director of the Identity Centre, a Jordanian think tank reporting on the impacts of the refugee crisis.”Manufacturing, for example … They’re also good at manufacturing and agriculture. (Supplied: Amy Guttman)
Mr Abu Hesenih and his family, like most of the refugees living here, are from the northern Syrian province of Deraa.The border area between Syria and Jordan is tribal — Jordanians and Syrians here see themselves as family.
(Supplied: Amy Guttman) RN

By Amy Guttman for Earshot


November 22, 2016 11:39:25

There are five branches of Farouk Sweets in Zaatari, all powered by generator.
Government open to accepting more refugees from Syria
Related Story:
Related Story:
From hell to heaven: Newest Australian reveals atrocities of Madaya

Viral koala photo helps raise funds for Fauna Rescue

(891 ABC Adelaide: Tim Noonan)
She said the money raised by Mr Latter was greatly needed.”Raising money takes us away from our time caring for and rescuing animals and frankly we just don’t have that time.”Ms Brister said helping koalas was an expensive business because they required specialised equipment and enclosures.”The cost for doing the kind of volunteer work that we do is huge.”She said that once Mr Latter’s fundraising campaign was over, the team of dedicated Fauna Rescue volunteers would decide on how the balance would be best used.”Enclosures for koalas in care is one of our biggest expenses, so that would probably be one of the big-ticket items.” He became the sodden poster boy for Adelaide’s September floods, and now Jimmy the wet koala is helping raise money for an animal rescue organisation.Russell Latter snapped the photo of the male marsupial seeking refuge on a fence post after herding him off a bridge.Mr Latter then sent the photo to local newspaper The Advertiser and had the honour of being on the front page the next day.The image quickly went viral on social media.”I had people calling me from London and Poland and all sorts of places,” Mr Latter said.Alongside calls from media outlets interested in the story behind the shot, Mr Latter had several people get in contact to tell him about an organisation that helps care for koalas in need.Jimmy was not injured in the floods but other koalas aren’t always as lucky. “I thought with all of that interest I might as well do something constructive and set up a GoFundMe page to help Fauna Rescue,” he said.He has raised more than $13,000 for the not-for-profit group.Koalas require specialist careJane Brister from Fauna Rescue said they attended to more than 170 calls about koalas last month.”We’re busier a little earlier than normal — normally peak season is in summer.”

Koalas often cross main roads in search of water, food or a mate.
Adelaide 5000
891 ABC Adelaide


Brett Williamson


November 22, 2016 12:07:04

This image of Jimmy the wet koala went viral. (Supplied: Russell Latter)

Related Story:
Citizen scientists wanted for Great Koala Count II