I for one feel completely devastated and terribly let down by the news that soon-to-be expatriate Pauline Hanson will not sell her Queensland property to a Muslim.
You see, it was always my intention to make a serious offer for Ms Hanson’s ancestral home.
Last week, on hearing that Pauline’s Coleyville house was up for sale, I pulled together a consortium of like-minded fellow-Muslims. We knew that we’d have to move quickly for word was out that the One Nation Party alumni were thinking of turning it into a Pauline Hanson Museum complete with a 10-foot statue depicting Pauline in her glory days, tastefully wrapped in the Australian flag.
I even went to the trouble of hiring a firm of Muslim architects and asked them to draw designs for a mosque and a madrassah. Someone proposed a secret tunnel between the two buildings but I vetoed that idea on the grounds that the local council might turn down our application if they thought something clandestine was in the air.
I admit that parking and the noise factor were always going to present a problem. Indeed, we anticipated that our mosque would become part of an Australian pilgrimage "Down Under" attracting thousands of worshippers especially on Friday, our holy day. We thought we might overcome the parking issue (just in case any locals objected) by having a string of camels on standby ready to taxi any worshippers willing to forgo the comfort of a car ride for a more traditional approach — the Prophet himself (peace be upon him) was very fond of camels and rode into Mecca on a beautiful white one. And because feral camels are such a problem today in our remote areas, the idea of redeeming the camel seemed a practical idea.
I know that Ms Hanson would probably blame those "damned Afghans" who came here in the 19th century for the feral camel problem and she may well be right. But in view of what’s happening in Afghanistan today some might say we’ve certainly taken our revenge. My fellow committee members and I knew that we’d have to play down the Muslim pioneer theme. We’ve always understood that Pauline might not like the notion that people with dusky skins had played a part in opening up the Australian inland.
I can hear her now: "Muslim pioneers a part of Australian colonial history? Please explain!"
We planned on making the mosque the biggest in the Southern hemisphere. Suggestions for names poured in; the most popular being "The Sheikh Hilali mosque". A few of the younger Muslims even thought that we should depart from classical Muslim architecture and build something more emblematic of Australian culture. One bright spark suggested that a green neon "M", on top of the mosque minaret, flashing on and off 24 hours a day, might be fitting and promote the idea that Muslims worried about the environment too — he quickly backed down when I pointed out the problem of gas emissions.
To show that there were no hard feelings for anything Ms Hanson had said about Muslims in the past, we even intended asking her to return from London to attend the mosque opening. We planned a huge barbecue (only lamb — no pork) and Ms Hanson was to have been treated as an honoured guest, escorted down the aisle flanked on either side by 72 virgins all dressed in green and gold burqas, instead of the traditional black garments. (Believe me, it took a lot of persuasion to orchestrate the switch from black to green and gold!)
One of our committee members was very disappointed with the whole "babes in burqa" idea because he’d planned on inviting the French Ambassador from Canberra to the opening and thought he’d have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting him across once the news broke about our female guard of honour and their intimidating traditional garb.
Nevertheless, in spite of Pauline blackballing Australian Muslims, my consortium will not give up. We intend going ahead with our plans and are prepared to double any offer Ms Hanson receives.