Rabu, 13 Oktober 2021

‘Disastrous’: Fury over Islamic council event -

Australia’s peak Muslim body has reacted after coming under fire for what’s been called a ‘completely inappropriate’ decision.

Australia’s peak Muslim body has cancelled a virtual event that had come under fire for a “completely inappropriate” decision to platform known Taliban leaders.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and Diaspora Muslims event, organised by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils for Saturday night, advertised a “stellar panel of speakers” that included two known Taliban members to talk about developments in Afghanistan “whether (attendees are) in favour or against recent developments”.

Following wide media coverage and public backlash, the AFIC president said the event had been cancelled.

“This event was not convened to legitimise any group or to offend any group, it was purely to obtain aforestated assurances,” Dr Rateb Jneid said.

“Discussions have taken place with officials in Australia during the fermentation of the idea with a view to possibly having officials involved in posing our questions. This event was advertised … and it generated both support and criticism.

“In view of the developments, I have taken the executive decision to cancel the event.”

Among the panel members were Sheik Sohail Shaheen, who has been the official spokesman for the Taliban since the group took over Afghanistan in August following the US and Australian withdrawal.

Fellow panel member Sheik Sayed Abdul Basir Sabiri is also a senior Taliban figure.

Earlier on Thursday, senator Penny Wong said the decision to allow the Taliban a platform in Australia was “unjustifiable”.

“The Taliban has been responsible for horrific atrocities against the people of Afghanistan – including women, girls and Hazaras – throughout their brutal rule and recent resurgence,” she said.

“It is also deeply distressing to the many Australians who have served in Afghanistan and the tens of thousands of Afghans who have sought asylum and built lives in Australia.”

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said she encouraged the organisers to consider whether the event should go ahead.

“The Taliban’s cabinet has no women, no representatives from the ethnic Hazara community and few others from other ethnic minorities and includes members of a US-designated terror group,” she said.

“I encourage the organisers to think deeply about their event and reflect on how much hurt it would cause veterans, Australian Afghans, ethnic Hazaras, and the women of Afghanistan – all of whom have suffered under the Taliban – for it to go ahead as reported this morning.”

The event has also been condemned by Muslim advocates, including Sharhram Akbarzadeh, a Deakin University professor who called the decision to host the event “disastrous”.

“They obviously didn’t consult the thousands of Afghan diaspora in Australia about what it means to have the Taliban back in power. Wrong on so many levels. It’s gobsmacking,” he said.

Fellow advocate Sitrah Mohammadi, whose family fled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, said it was “horrifying” that the Taliban figures had been given a platform “to spread their propaganda”.

“Hazaras have suffered tragically at their hands and continue to do so,” she said.

“The Hazaras are currently facing forced land evictions and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan. This event would allow the Taliban to advance its push for global legitimacy and strengthen its oppressive rule.”

Other speakers included Mr Jneid and National Grand Mufti of Australia Imam Abdul Quddoos Al Azhari.

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2021-10-13 22:13:31Z

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