My oath!


William Street mosque, complete with traditional Islamic bullnose verandah

Bloody Muslims, coming over here with their history of centuries of trading with Western Australia before Europeans arrived, having been an accepted part of local society since the birth of the colony, and demanding to be treated with the respect the law has always shown them.

Wait, that last one can’t be right can it? Well, yes it can.

The earliest reference to someone swearing on the Quran is from 1833 when Sumud Alli did so to testify against his racist attacker, the appalling John Velvick. The newspaper report didn’t make anything of this oath, other than to mention it in the same way it noticed anyone else who was sworn in, so the journalist didn’t think this was very unusual. By the way, Velvick got his comeuppance at the hands of the law and later met his death at the hands of Yagan.

By the early 20th century, the Supreme Court respected Islamic tradition by ensuring its copy of the Quran was first wrapped in canvas and then covered in colourful silk handkerchiefs. This way, it could be handled by court officials and still be considered acceptable to Muslim witnesses taking the oath.

And in 1918 the Supreme Court was even willing to allow a case between two Muslims to be adjourned so it could be settled using customary processes. A dispute over who owed what for a sale of camels was resolved when the defendant went to the William Street Mosque, washed himself in the presence of his Imam, put on clean clothes and then swore on a certain passage of the Quran. The judge accepted this and was happy with the outcome.

What’s with these people demanding the respect we used to accord them all the time?

Islamophobia, 1832 style

When we think of the early Swan River Colony we usually picture white British settlers and Aborigines. And no one else. So it might come as a surprise to find there was a thriving Muslim community (perhaps from Indonesia) right from the start. Unfortunately, we only know this because racist bigots decided to beat them up.


On Christmas Eve 1832, Samud Alli was on his way to George Leake’s store when John Velvick grabbed him outside the Perth Hotel and said “You black man, give me glass of grog.”

Samud protested that, as a Muslim, he didn’t drink. So Velvick punched him two or three times, using language the newspaper said was “too disgusting for publication”.

Then Velvick held him while his white mate started laying into Samud with a stick. He was only rescued when other Muslims arrived and calmed the situation.

The Muslims went back home, while the white men went to another pub, Mayo’s Bar. Here, they got very pissed. Twenty of them (including teenagers) grabbed heavy sticks, determined to start a fight with their Muslim neighbours and tear down their huts.

Leading the baying mob, Velvick demanded Samud fight him, to which he calmly replied “I no fight.”

“You bloody bastard, you must fight,” screamed Velvick, calling on his twenty mates to lay into the eight Muslims.

The defenceless party had no chance. Most were still sitting down, and some were attempting to shake hands with their attackers.

The beating was so bad, every Muslim was covered with blood.

For this vile act, Velvick got three months. But a worse fate was waiting for him.

Shortly after he was released from prison, he and his brother were killed by Aboriginal resistance leader, Yagan. Neville Green has suggested the Velvicks were singled out because they were known to be violent racists.

Unfortunately, events spiralled out of control, leading ultimately to Yagan’s death at the hand of a colonist.

Welcome to the founding of our colony.

White Australia, I could be one of your kids


Frederick Vosper, looking bohemian and not at all like a bigot

We in the Dodgy Perth office are in favour of people using their democratic right to protest against mosques. It makes organising dinner parties much easier when the bigots have outed themselves.

But before we get too smug and believe only the Victorians have a racism problem, a quick look back at the Anti-Asiatic League which was formed at Coolgardie in 1894 to ensure only white folk worked the goldfields.

All-round racist, and founder of the Sunday Times, Frederick Vosper explained to a public rally that the average Afghan had first come to Coolgardie as a mere camel driver. By working hard he had gradually become a storeman, then a member of the police force. Eventually, some Afghans had obtained work with the council.

Naturally such an evil could not be allowed to go unchecked, Vosper explained, so whites had been forced to found the Anti-Asiatic League to stop hard-working Muslims getting jobs.

Being a clever chap, Vosper had noted whites and Afghans had different religions. Therefore, he said, the two races could never be on friendly terms. Not only that, the buggers were so dirty they polluted the water supply just by using it.

Warming to his theme, Frederick explained that since dogs were quarantined to stop rabies, Muslims should be quarantined to prevent leprosy. And just like he would today, Vosper read a few out-of-context lines from the Qur’an to prove Muslims hated Christians.

Either the white man or the Afghan must go, he declared. The miners, at any rate, were determined that it should be the Afghan.

The Anti-Asiatic League roared its approval and this tolerant nation took one more step on the road to White Australia.

Halal, is it meat you’re looking for?


Halal certification is the new burqa.

Organising boycotts of Aussie companies trying to export their goods is the new opposing a local mosque for ‘parking reasons’.

Few things make our blood boil at Dodgy Perth HQ, but racists pretending not to be racist because “Islam is a religion, not a race” is definitely one of them.

So with all the current fuss over halal certification, you might be forgiven for thinking this is something brand new. Something that Australian exporters have only started doing in the last few years. While they also enjoy funding terrorism. Apparently.

Well, no to all of the above.

WA’s ‘Afghan’ camel drivers must have had sources of approved foods. But it appears they often turned butcher themselves when meat was required.

The first halal certification scheme in Australia seems to have been in Queensland in 1905. Four Muslim butchers were brought over to certify the meat was prepared appropriately, so that exports could begin big time.

You will never guess what happened next.

Protests. And outrage. So much outrage.

Not because halal meat is cruel. Or that we were funding ISIS.

Just because the butchers weren’t white. Oh yes, it was White Australia time.

So, when a canning plant was planned for Wyndham, here in Western Australia, it didn’t take long for the exporters to start drooling at the thought of the tens of millions of Muslims in Malaysia, India, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

All they would need was halal certification and East Kimberley would boom.

In 1909, this was exactly what was proposed.

A Pilbara resident, H. Musa Khan, said that bringing over a couple of ‘educated and religious’ Mohammedans to supervise at Wyndham’s slaughter yards would enable all the canned meat (except pork, obviously) to be sold anywhere in the world.

Mr Khan was keen to stress that only a couple of Muslims would be needed, so White Australia would still be white. And this was not a job which could be filled by a white local anyway.

No one listened. Jobs and exports were not as important as racial purity.

Instead, by the 1920s live exports were thought to be the way to go. (And mainly, still are!)

After the Depression, some bright spark suggested again that perhaps a single Muslim might be brought over to WA. That way, halal certification could start and we could climb out of poverty and misery.

We suppose you can guess that no one listened.

White Australia 1. Beef producers 0.