Ruqaya! Brindha! Little Girls Front Up

Michael Roberts

Brindha Yesterday. Ruqaya Today. Two different scenarios: yet, as it seems, both sharing the manipulation and grooming of sweet little girls by their parents and ethnic adults in order to press political claims.  Pic by James Crowther

But can’t seven to ten year olds think for themselves? Maybe up to a point. Certainly both Ruqaya and Brindha in their different contexts fronted up confidently and spoke lucidly. Had they not been coached though and fired up, and thus moulded by elders whom they trusted? Probably, most of us would say.

Their elders would see this expressive act as entirely reasonable. Both were, after all, servicing a CAUSE, their peoples’ cause: the blackmailing protest of 256 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seekers who wished to reach Australia rather than Indonesia in the story of the Tamils at the port of Merak in 2009; and the angry Muslim Australians in Sydney infuriated by the disparagement of their Prophet Mohamed by a crank in USA. These were different causes of course… and different intheir implications for Australian society.

Such comparisons mark yet another contrast however. Ruqaya’s expressiveness has caused consternation among articulate Australians who see it as a form of unacceptable manipulation. Horror has interlaced with condemnation of the elders behind the act.

But BRINDHA! As I recollect, there were one or two ripples of disquiet at most; but such murmurs were drowned out by the sympathy in liberal and Left quarters. Take Tom Allard’s report on Brindha’s role during the stand-off situation at the port of Merak as the Tamils aboard the Jeya Lestari refused to disembark:

“A young girl, Brindha, then spoke, crying as she told of a month in the jungle in Malaysia waiting for people smugglers to arrive with their boat. ‘We are your children. Please think of us. Please. Please take us to your country. It’s OK if it’s not to Australia. It is better if any other country takes us’.”

Interesting that, is it not! Why, then, the difference. I do not quite know. I am an outsider. I cannot read popular Australian sentiments that easily. I require help. Assist me please, ladies and gentleman, the dinky-die ones. Educate me.

Today some of us know full well that Alex Kuhendirajah took numerous gullible Australian media personnel for a ride about  his history and the location  of wife and family in Chennai. But are the Aussie public fully aware of this act of duping? And, oh, before I forget, let me ask WHERE IS BRINDHA? To my knowledge, derived from news snippets over the past few years, Brindha and 40 others from the “Merak” eventually made it to Christmas Island by boat from Java. Since it is known that only Dayan Anthony and a handful of Tamils have been deported in the last two years, the probability is that Brindha and her parents and siblings are now permanent residents of Australia and on the path to citizenship. They must be excited by Ruqaya’s courage, confidence and outspokenness. Ole! Ole!


Girl, 8, calls on Islamic youth to back jihad,” by Jared Owen, in The Australian, 17 September 2012

Politicians condemn Muslim protests: Australia’s political leaders have joined together to condemn the violence from Muslim protesters in Sydney. AS Julia Gillard struggled to explain how Muslim children could be used to incite violence, eight-year-old Ruqaya yesterday fronted a congress of Islamic fundamendalists in Sydney to espouse her love for jihad. Addressing a 600-strong crowd at the Australian chapter of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Bankstown in the city’s west, the young girl urged all Muslim youth to fight for the restoration of the Islamic caliphate, a single global government for all Muslims established under strict sharia law.

“My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, as the world gathers against the believers in Syria … seeking to hijack our sincere and blessed uprisings, children in Sydney would like to send their message of hope and support to the Muslims of (Syria), especially to the children and mothers,” she read from notes. “These uprisings have demonstrated that this umma (global Muslim community) is alive and well, her love is for jihad, she is unshackled herself from the fear which she held, and she yearns to once again live under the banner of (the Islamic state). Children as young as myself can be seen on the streets joining the uprisings, risking their lives to bring food, water and medicine to their wounded family members, some of them never returning to their mothers … Nobody is too young,” she said.

Ruqaya was the seventh of nine speakers at the “Muslims Rise” conference. Organisers of the event invited the media to report on her address.

Julia Gillard yesterday expressed her horror at images showing Muslim  children carrying inflammatory placards at a protest in Sydney on  Saturday, including one that read “Behead all those who insult the  Prophet”.

Another sign at the protest read “Our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell”.

“I do not want to see in the hands of anyone, particularly children,  offensive signs that call for the killing of others,” the Prime Minister   said. “This is not the Australian way. We believe in freedom of religion and we believe that every religion should be treated with respect.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international political movement devoted to  restoring a caliphate, the last of which collapsed in the 1920s. The movement hopes Islamic fighters in Syria will replace the Assad  regime with a caliph-led state that will eventually annex other Muslim  countries and promote Islam in the West. The caliphate would also threaten Western nations with jihad if they  did not prevent their citizens from defaming the Prophet Mohammed or  Islam. It would be established under the same constitution imposed under Mohammed, which could not be reformed.

Ruqaya said: “We must work hard to achieve victory. It is enough  that your generation and your parents’ generation were raised in the  absence of the khilafa (caliphate). Do not allow my generation to be  added to that list.”

Khaled Sukkarieh, the chairman of the Islamic Council of NSW, said  images of children at the protest shocked many in his community.  “Someone put that (banner) in the hand of a child. “That is a poor, innocent child. It is abhorrent and a very sad way of using children,” Mr Sukkarieh said.  by Dan Box and Harry Edwards, The Australian, 17 Sept 2012


“The unacceptable face of multiculturalism” by Greg Sheridan, in The Australian, 17 September 2012 … SEE 


“Extremists seen among Muslim rioters at Sydney protest,” by Dan Box and Harry Edwards, The Australian, 17 Sept 2012  … SEE

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