Ex-Muslim and anti-Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali has claimed, without evidence, that television host Waleed Aly “has some form of stake” in a Muslim brotherhood-style organisation.
Ms Hirsi Ali, who earlier this week cancelled an Australian speaking tour amid security threats, said on Thursday that Australia picked the wrong Muslim to turn “into a celebrity”.
“If I analysed that kind of language and those arguments [Aly uses to promote Islam] I think that he is someone who has some form of a stake in a Muslim brotherhood-type of organisation and shares in those beliefs and shares in that world view,” she said.
Ms Hirsi Ali made the comments on The Bolt Report which airs on pay-TV news channel Sky News, hosted by conservative commentator Andrew Bolt.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a religious and political group that believes Islam is a way of life. It is against secularism and believes the Quran and sharia law should be the basis for society. The Muslim Brotherhood rejects violence but some consider it the forerunner to modern Islamic extremism.
Hirsi Ali – a Somali-born Dutch-American activist who became an atheist after renouncing Islam – said Australia should “elevate” Adelaide Imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi to the same celebrity status as The Project host.
“I think what really Australia needs to do is take someone like Tawhidi and elevate him, and have him sit with members of the government, members of the media, members of the academic elite and that would send the message to the Islamists that they welcome people like Tawhidi more than Waleed Aly,” she said.
Sheik Tawhidi, the imam for the Islamic Association of South Australia, told Seven News earlier in April that Islamic schools should be “shut down or completely changed”.
He also alleged in a Facebook post that some in the Muslim community intend to “create a caliphate within Australia”.
Aly is arguably Australia’s most famous Islamic celebrity. He writes a column for Fairfax Media, co-hosts The Project and appears on ABC Radio.
— The Bolt Report (@theboltreport) April 6, 2017
He urged people not to demonise all Muslims because of the faith’s violent and extremist element. Aly’s most famous moment came after Islamic State’s attacks on Paris in November, 2015, when his response went viral.
“So, if you are a member of Parliament or a has-been member of Parliament preaching hate at a time when what we actually need is more love — you are helping ISIL. They have told us that. If you are a Muslim leader telling your community they have no place here or basically them saying the same thing — you are helping ISIL,” he said at the time.
“They have told us that. If you are just someone with a Facebook or Twitter account firing off misguided messages of hate, you are helping ISIL — They have told us that.”
Aly’s critics counter by citing another column in which he reacted to the Boston Marathon bombing by describing terrorism as no worse than “a perpetual irritant, and that while it is tragic and emotionally lacerating, it kills relatively few people”, further raising “the very real suspicion” that the then-unknown perpetrators might well be “self-styled American patriots.”
The New Daily has attempted to contact both Hirsi Ali and Aly.