Muslim groups 'snub' counter-extremist

45 Australian Muslim organisations have ignored requests to meet with a British Muslim activist.
45 Australian Muslim organisations have ignored requests to meet with a British Muslim activist.

A prominent British Muslim activist in Australia campaigning against Islamic extremism has been snubbed by 45 Muslim organisations, a spokeswoman says.

Maajid Nawaz's promoter Think Inc says the UK government adviser and author wanted to meet as many Muslim leaders as possible to discuss counter-extremism with them.

Think Inc says it contacted 46 organisations, including schools, across Melbourne and Sydney to invite them to his speaking events and engage in further discussion, but received only one affirmative response.

Think Inc director Suzi Jamil says the Lebanese Muslim Association and the Muslim Students Australia NSW were among the organisations that declined to meet him.

Ms Jamil told AAP MSA NSW replied via email saying it and "the wider Australian Muslim community" did not support Mr Nawaz's views and "his presence in Australia would not be welcomed".

Comment is being sought from the MSA and from other organisations contacted by Think Inc.

Mr Nawaz is a former member of the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir and spent five years imprisoned in Egypt. During imprisonment, he studied human rights and had a change of heart.

Mr Nawaz went on to co-found counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam and call for "secular Islam" to reform the Islamic faith.

"(Muslims) are slightly defensive about this work and about the need to challenge extremism," he told AAP.

"Often you hear Muslims say, `why should I challenge extremism? Why should I condemn ISIS? Why do I have to apologise for something that's got nothing to do with me?'"

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Australia public relations director Mirza Ramzan Sharif said his organisation frequently condemned extremism.

"One only needs to explore our website and our press releases to find out how vocal we are," he said.

Islamic Council of Queensland spokesman Ali Kadri also denied his organisation was "defensive" about challenging extremism.

"I believe we are doing more than enough to fight extremism around the world," Mr Kadri said.

Australian Muslim Women's Association president Silma Ihram was not asked to meet Mr Nawaz but said the way he tackled the issue of extremism got Muslims "a bit off side".

"The fact that he's not a practising Muslim doesn't help at all," she said.

Australian New Muslims Association president Said Kanawati said Islam was clear "on what you can and can't do".

"There's no need for campaigns," he said.

  • Maajid Nawaz will speak at Deakin Edge in Melbourne on Friday evening and at the Seymour Centre in Sydney on Saturday.



Popular posts from this blog

How a cyber attack hampered Hong Kong protesters

‘Not Hospital, Al-Shifa is Hamas Hideout & HQ in Gaza’: Israel Releases ‘Terrorists’ Confessions’ | Exclusive

Former FARC guerrilla, Colombian cop pose naked together to promote peace deal