Looks good, doesn’t it? That’s the new place, Casablanca, just down from Fuku on Crown Street. And quite a story:
Central to the menu are Moroccan tagines – slow-cooked meats nestled amongst aromatic prunes, orange blossom, chamoula and the bittersweet preserved lemon that is Morocco’s food mainstay.
Cooked and served in the iconic cone-shaped clay dishes of the same name – perhaps with a pot of steaming sweet mint tea – the scene is deliberately different.
“We have many burger places in Wollongong, we have Lebanese and Turkish,” Mr Osaj, 28, told the Mercury.
“But we don’t have Moroccan. I’ve been in Australia for five years and I really do appreciate Australia.
“I wanted to do something [in return] for the people of Wollongong.”
Mr Osaj was an electrician in Iraq before he fled the war there and – after a four-month stay at Villawood –settled in Wollongong.
Chris T and I did drop in to look yesterday. A woman customer could not praise the food highly enough.
And that story prompts me to praise the Illawarra Mercury for being just about everything the Daily Telegraph is not! The Mercury front page on Saturday:
Refugees have been part of life in Wollongong for decades, arriving in waves since the world wars. Since 2000, the city has been a dedicated refugee welcome zone accepting displaced people from across the world. In 2016, more refugees from Iraq and Syria will arrive in the city through the government’s expanded visa program.
Today we look at the stories of families in our region who have fled war-torn countries to make their home in the Illawarra. It coincides with the launch of our new campaign in which we ask you to open your hearts and minds.
Part of one of those stories:
Mousa Al Ahmad and Maisaa Rashdan have always been refugees.
The Corrimal husband and wife were both born in Syria to Palestinian parents, who fled their country with hundreds of thousands of others after the second world war. Essentially stateless, their families were allowed to work in Syria, but did not have citizenship rights or the same property rights as other Syrians.
“My parents were children – about seven years old – when they left Palestine, but we were only ever refugees in Syria, we couldn’t get citizenship,” Mousa said.
“There is terrible discrimination against Palestinian people in the Middle East.”
Nevertheless, he became an emergency doctor, running a successful medical centre of his own for 12 years in Damascus….
Despite this constant anguish, Mousa and Maisaa have thrown themselves into Australian life since arriving in Wollongong late last year. They are both completing academic English courses to allow them to go on to further study, and have watched their boys thrive academically at West Wollongong Public School.
“They talk like Aussies,” Mousa said.
Maisaa plans to study childcare, while Mousa hopes to once again practice as a doctor and is hoping to soon enroll in his first medical subjects at the University of Wollongong. He has also helped establish an Arab Brothers Association, to mentor young Middle Eastern people and help them find links within the Illawarra community….
Finally, today’s Sun-Herald: Annabel Crabb has excelled herself.
What does IS want?
IS wants more hate. It is a movement built on a kind of human anti-matter, a deep nihilism parading as ideology.
It is not pro-Muslim in anything like a practical sense, seeing as its actions cause death to many Muslims directly and serious heartache to countless others worldwide, who read of IS atrocities and feel the heavy despair of the innocent person in whose name evil is done.
It is a movement which professes to oppose Western amorality and licentiousness, but prefers to murder families where possible and institutionalises rape both as weapon and as recreation.
Hostility in the West towards Islam isn’t an unfortunate byproduct for these terrorists of their attacks, remember; it’s the primary objective. Hostility spawns misunderstanding, which spawns isolation, which of course increases the allure of a rage-based brotherhood of vengeance. It’s a twisted procreative trail of misery, ending in a recruitment boom for the deranged.
Now, this formula – of cause and effect – has of course been the number one fight club issue over the past week in Australia…