Media website Muslim Village founder, Ahmed Kilani, has delivered a searing response to former prime minister Tony Abbott over his comments on Islam and terrorism.
On Wednesday, Mr Abbott used a NewsCorp opinion column to argue dealing with Islamic fanaticism and terrorism was the “great challenge of our time”.
Mr Abbott pushed for change within Islam and said the West should declare “clear superiority” over a culture that justified killing people in the name of God.
Dr Kilani said the comments were ill-informed.
“It is extremely disappointing to see what is tantamount to hate speech coming from someone that was only a few weeks ago prime minister of Australia,” he said.
“He is playing right into the hands of the extreme fringe of society that want to create an ‘us and them’ world full of fear and hatred.”
A number of Muslim leaders have raised concerns about the impact of Mr Abbott’s argument.
Australia’s Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammad has taken issue with Mr Abbott’s call for a reformation within Islam.
“Islam is not in any need of reformation since the normative principles and practices of the religion allow Muslims to harmoniously coexist within pluralist societies that are based on the universal values of compassion and justice,” he said.
Indonesia’s Australian ambassador, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, on Wednesday described the remarks as “divisive” and “unhelpful”.
Dutton says Mr Abbott’s comments ‘sensible’
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has defended Mr Abbott’s position, saying debate about Islam should not be a “no-go” zone.
“I think people need to look at what he said, and I think what he said is sensible,” Mr Dutton told Macquarie Radio.
“He is, as a Rhodes Scholar, somebody who has thought very deeply about these issues.”
Former One Nation politician Pauline Hanson has also backed Mr Abbott’s comments.
“I’ve actually called for royal commission into Islam,” she told ABC’s Capital Hill program.
“I have always said is it really a political ideology or is it a religious ideology?”
However, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said Mr Abbott’s comments were “inflammatory”.
“I was disappointed Tony made those comments,” he told the ABC’s 7.30.
“Australia’s taking good measures [against terrorism] – sensible and well thought out.”
Mr Barnett said Mr Abbott’s comments were not helpful to the Government.
“Obviously Tony Abbott’s incredibly disappointed and hurt by being removed as prime minister the way he was,” he said.
“I’m a good friend of Tony’s, we had a chat recently and I just urged him to calm down, get through summer and take it easy.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Mr Abbott was entitled to hold a personal view, and that the vast majority of Muslims in Australia have been appalled by extremism.
“It is absolutely vital to ensure that we don’t make the mistake, which is what the terrorists want us to do, of tagging every single Muslim with the responsibility for the crimes of a few,” Mr Turnbull said.
While some members of the Opposition frontbench have likened Mr Abbott to contentious US presidential candidate Donald Trump, Labor leader Bill Shorten stopped short of making the association himself.
“I don’t know if he’s Australia’s version of Donald Trump, but he’s a very unusual man,” Mr Shorten said.
“We shouldn’t have a bar of what he says.”