In November 1914, acting under pressure from his German ally, the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V, who doubled as Caliph of all Muslims, issued a holy commandment directed at Muslims worldwide: they were immediately to rise up in arms against Britain, France, Russia and their allies, who were at war with Germany and the Ottoman Empire.


It is the latest grim episode in the long saga of Australia’s hardline asylum-seeker policies. In a detention centre on a faraway island, hundreds of “terrified” people are said to be refusing food and water, with the more desperate sewing their lips together and some reportedly swallowing razor blades and detergent, in protest at their treatment.