Welcome to Bankstown, the suburb in the heart of Sydney where you get a BEEF rasher on your bacon and egg roll because the local Muslim community are 'a bit picky... about pork'
In Bankstown, the classic Australian breakfast can be called one of three things - a 'bacon and egg roll', 'beef bacon and egg roll' or a 'rasher and egg roll'. While all three dishes sound similar, only one actually contains pork.
A trip by Daily Mail Australia to the western Sydney suburb found there's a reason for this, with one cafe owner admitting locals are 'a bit picky... with pork'.
The Bankstown local government area has a population of around 182,000 people, according to the 2011 Census, with a high proportion of migrants and first generation Australians whose parents were born in Lebanon or Vietnam.
While Catholicism is the the prevalent religion in the area, the second largest faith is Islam, with 19 percent of residents calling themselves Muslim - more than 11 times the national average, according to the Census.
The Koran forbids Muslims to eat pork.
Like many trendy areas in Sydney, you might expect the city's west to be hooked on the smashed avocado on toast phenomenon.
But on first glance, it would seem that bacon is rather unusually, the pick at brunch. In the heavily halal conscious society, rumours were rife that even takeaway giant McDonald's refused to serve the real deal. But a trip to three of the fast food chain's restaurants quickly proved this to be false.
However a journey down one of Bankstown's busiest streets quickly revealed there was truth to the rumour. When Daily Mail Australia ordered a 'bacon and egg roll' from one eatery, the owner asked: 'Have here, or take it away?' There was no mention the only 'bacon' available was not actually pork, but instead a beef alternative.
The café owner eventually explained there was a 'beef bacon egg roll' on the menu and the only meat it contained was smoked, thinly cut beef.
Daily Mail Australia: 'So it's not actually bacon?' Café owner: 'No, no. That's why it's beef bacon. It's from a cow, basically. It's beef.'
The cafe owner than admitted he would have served the 'bacon and egg' roll without telling the customer, had they not asked.
Claiming there wasn't much of a difference between pork and 'beef bacon', he then revealed why his cafe doesn't serve the more high-profile variety. 'No, no. No pork here. I don't have pork... maybe if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't notice. It's very nice,' he said.
The café owner later explained why 'bacon' did not have to be pork. 'If you look up the definition of bacon it is the process of how the meat is prepared,' he said. 'Pork is the cheapest. But there is beef bacon, turkey bacon, there's chicken bacon... there's probably horse bacon.
'The decision we made here is we will have beef. It's entirely a business decision. It's not because I'm in Bankstown. He did, however, concede 'the area is a bit picky with pork.'
Another Bankstown café owner sells what he calls an 'egg and beef rasher roll' – no mention of 'bacon' - to avoid confusion. 'That's clearly beef,' he said of his product.
'The word bacon means a cut. It doesn't refer to pork. But people don't know that.' 'When they hear bacon they just automatically think pork so I took it out so I didn't confuse people.
'A lot of people come in and ask for a bacon and egg roll. I tell them it's beef. Some leave but the majority just get it.'
'The Quran states that a woman is half a man': Why an Australian Muslim couple turned their backs on Islam because it is a 'religion of war' riddled with 'venomous misogyny'
A couple who both grew up as Muslims in Pakistan have told why they turned their backs on Islam.
Sami Shah and Ishma Alvi, who became Australian citizens in January and live in Melbourne with their young daughter, said extremism, sexism and misogyny were key reasons why they opted out of the religion.
The couple also explained the reasons for their transition by citing passages from the Quran, which Mr Shah has described as 'maddening as a text'.
An edited extract from Mr Shah's latest book, The Islamic Republic of Australia, which details the move from Muslim to non-Muslim was published in The Weekend Australian magazine on Saturday.
Mr Shah said for Muslims to turn their backs on Islam, the controversial move can be punishable by death but he was happy to now be living openly as an atheist.
While he grew up in Pakistan, a Muslim country, he found himself gradually turning away from Islam over time, angered by violent attacks committed by extremists in the name of religion.
'What stood out for me wasn't just the mass murder and carnage initiated by the extremists but also their religious justification for it,' Mr Shah said.
'The religion I had been told my entire life was a religion of peace - an argument I myself had propagated when confronted with Islam's critics while studying in America - was comfortably being used as a religion of war.'
Mr Shah said he was happy to now be living in Australia where he did not have his daily life heavily influenced by Islam and for his daughter to have the same freedoms and he enjoys.
Ms Alvi, a psychologist, said she believed Islam was not female-positive, a notion she first came to when she was aged 17.
'I started seeing Islam as swinging between benevolent sexism [if there is such a thing] and venomous misogyny,' she said.
She said while she started drifting away from the religion as a teenager she came back to Islam on two occasions, once by necessity when she was at university to avoid being attacked on public transport and the other through a friend.
But she said she was left feeling angry and tired at the expectations Islam have of women and her believe females were considered to be half a man, using a passage from Quran 2:282 to explain her reasoning.
The couple's daughter, Anya Shah, has been enrolled in a Catholic school, a decision Mr Shah said was because it was nearby and her friends were attending.
Mr Shah, who is an author and comedian, this week also revealed his life changed the first time he tried bacon after ditching his religion and becoming an atheist.
He appeared on Network Ten's The Project to promote his new book, and told Islamic host Waleed Aly about the joys of eating pig - which is banned in Muslim culture.
'I thought I can't do this... and then I took one bite and thought, 'I'm never going back',' Mr Shah told Aly.
'I open my day with bacon now. My fridge right now is an entire pig dissected.'
Mr Shah spoke candidly about his transition from a devout Muslim to an atheist on The Project. 'For me it was just a matter of skepticism and once I started becoming skeptical about religion I thought I couldn't call myself a believer anymore,' he admitted.
'Tear down that curtain!' Former Labor leader Mark Latham starts a petition to remove partition for Muslim women at western Sydney swimming pool
Former Labor leader Mark Latham has launched a petition against curtains that have been put up around a Sydney pool to cater for Muslim women saying 'public services must be available to all the public.'
In a post on The Rebel Latham suggests the expected traditions within a public swimming pool are being 'threatened' after Cumberland Council in Western Sydney erected a curtained partition to allow the women to swim in private.
'Islamic women are on one side of the curtain, the rest of the community on the other,' his text states. 'This is local government Sharia Law: changing the rules at Auburn pool to enforce the teachings of the Koran – that Islamic women should not show bare flesh to men.'
He believes if women have self-image issues, they need to take responsibility for that by wearing a burkini.
The media personality recently stated that putting up curtains at a Sydney public swimming pool to cater for Muslim women is a step towards putting drapes around section of Bondi Beach - as an Islamic sheikh likened it to imposing sharia law in Australia's suburbs.
The council-run Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in the city's west has installed a retractable curtain around one of its three pools so women can swim privately during two set time slots on Wednesdays, infuriating many residents who said it was like 'segregation'.
The organiser of the swim group, Yusra Metwally, said the idea behind the sessions was to 'accommodate people who wouldn't otherwise swim at a beach, or swim in a swimming pool because they don't feel comfortable'.
Adelaide shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says the pool curtains for Muslim women are part of sharia law which forbids a strange man from seeing the body of another woman +16
Adelaide shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says the pool curtains for Muslim women are part of sharia law which forbids a strange man from seeing the body of another woman
However Mr Latham, a former federal Labor leader, said it set an awful precedent and undermined Australia's egalitarian values about people from all different backgrounds mixing together.
'Where does it end? What's the next step? Down at Bondi Beach, we're going to have some curtained-off area, or something, it's just ridiculous,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
While Mr Latham supported the right of Muslim women to swim in a burkini, he said councils were bowing to left-wing demands to protect minority groups instead of encouraging individuals to come to terms with their modesty issues.
'It's not going to be very helpful for Islamic integration into the broader Australian community,' he said. 'Enclaves are a disaster for Australian multiculturalism. It becomes monocultural.'
There are even critics within the Muslim community, with Adelaide Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi likening the swimming pool policy to sharia law.
'It is part of sharia law that a strange man must not see the body of another woman, therefore they are installing the curtains,' he told Daily Mail Australia.
Sheikh Tawhidi said religious Muslims should build 'Muslim-only swimming pools for themselves' rather than have their laws imposed on non-Muslims. 'Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre is not an Islamic swimming pool, therefore they should not be accepting of such an idea in the first place,' he said. 'The Muslim community can afford a private swimming pool for themselves that observes their sharia laws.'
Some locals have slammed the idea as 'segregation,' saying the women are receiving 'special treatment'.
'These communities should be encouraged to integrate and uphold the values of equality and respect not division and segregation paid for by taxes and council rates,' one woman wrote.
Anthony McIntosh, manager of the centre's operator Belgravia Leisure, said the covering for the swimming pool's glass walls was intended to make Muslim women more comfortable with aquatic activities.
Behind the curtain, Muslim women who wear a hijab would be able to swim in whatever attire they feel comfortable instead of a modesty suit or burkini.
Ms Metwally said other swimmers would not be affected as the other pools would be open to everyone during the session times.
'We had a record number of people drown at the end of last year which matches up with the road fatalities,' she said.
'So if we can have more women who are water-safe, that's surely a good thing.'
Cumberland Council general manager Malcolm Ryan told Daily Mail Australia female lifeguards are present during the women's only swim sessions.
'Council has a responsibility to cater for the needs of its community,' he said. 'The curtains, which are retractable and can be used or not used at any time, ensure we have provided a space that is accessible to and inclusive for all'.
The pool is also used for children's swimming classes and use by the elderly, people with a disability and patients having hydrotherapy or physiotherapy, who may prefer additional privacy during their use of the pool.
It is not only used by Muslim women and can be used by any women.
There are better ways to teach phonics
Leading Adelaide educator Jenny Allen believes that while a renewed focus on phonics is welcome, the way in which schools teach reading needs to be reformed.
The federal government’s plan to introduce literacy tests for all Australian pupils in Year 1 will not improve children’s reading skills unless accompanied by a more systematic approach to the use of phonics, according to one of Adelaide’s most experienced educators.
Jenny Allen, who is Director of REM+ Tuition in Tranmere and has taught hundreds of children and students with dyslexia to read, believes that the tests will not lift the standard of reading of children in Year 1 unless the resulting data is used to transform the way phonics is taught in schools.
“Phonics programmes in schools go too fast for many children, and there isn’t sufficient assessment along the way,” said Jenny Allen, “and this means that children who get behind end up being overwhelmed and fail to progress. Too often school reading boxes ignore phonics hierarchy, which means that young children are being asked to read words like ‘swimming’ before they’re confident at reading ‘cat’.
“Although the government’s plan for a nationwide Year 1 literacy assessment is a step in the right direction, this needs to be backed up by a complete change to the current approach of schools to teaching phonics.”
The plan to introduce assessments of children’s literacy and numeracy skills in Year 1 was announced in January by Education Minister Simon Birmingham, and the tests are expected to be accompanied by a renewed emphasis on teaching phonics. However, this will only prove beneficial if the current approach undergoes a significant overhaul.
“The way children are being taught to read in schools is not effective,” said Jenny Allen, “and changes to the system are needed if these new assessments are to be meaningful and produce positive outcomes.
“What will be done to help the students whose performance is judged to be below the required standard? When children are found not to be able to decode basic phonetic words in Year 1, what measures will be put in place to assess their working memory, for instance, or their auditory processing ability?
“Unless teaching takes into account that a young person’s brain needs to be taught to read, and that it doesn’t happen simply by osmosis, we will continue to find that too many Year 1 students don't have basic phonetic decoding skills. However, the current approach to teaching phonics does not allow them sufficient time or the appropriate support to catch up, and so it is hard to see how tests alone will change this.”
Jenny Allen runs specialist programmes for pre-school and dyslexic children, and has successfully used phonics to teach children in Adelaide how to read for more than sixteen years.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here