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Muslim Leaders Refuse to Approve Tony Abbott’s Terrorism Law

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | August 21, 2014 3:30 PM EST

Australian Muslim leaders dismissed the proposed terrorism law by calling it as "hypocritical" and "unjustified."

REUTERS/Lisa Maree Williams/Po
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his keynote speech during the B20 Summit in Sydney, July 17, 2014.

According to a statement released on Wednesday, Aug. 20, the threat as showcased by Tony Abbott's government has no justification. Over 60 organisations and individuals that include 10 sheikhs denounced the law that was meant to target around 150 Muslims coming back to Australia from Middle Eastern countries like Syria or Iraq. The Muslim leaders said that the projected threat was "trumped up."

The statement also said that there was no significant evidence that could substantiate the threat. The perspective is rather based on "racist caricatures of Muslims as backwards, prone to violence and inherently problematic are being exploited," it said. The statement draws a comparison with Australian troops going abroad for overseas fights. "It is instructive that similar issues about Australian troops travelling abroad to fight or Jews travelling to train or fight with the Israeli Defence Force are simply never raised," the statement said.

The Islamic Council of Victoria earlier boycotted a meeting with the Australian prime minister. Abbott has been accused of using "ill-informed and inflammatory language" while addressing the issue of domestic terrorism in the country. Several Australian media outlets criticised ICV secretary Ghaith Krayem who made a strong statement by opposing Abbott's intentions. According to multiple experts, there is nothing wrong about involving moderate Muslims to be a part of the national safety, a call Abbott apparently made to save Australia from "radicalised" Muslims coming from Middle Eastern Islamic countries.

According to the Muslim leaders in the country, there is no change of the official threat level in Australia since 2001. Abbott earlier asked the Australian Muslims to be a part of "Team Australia" to fight terrorism in the country. The statement issued by the leading Muslim personalities in the country alleged that Abbott had already made the decision without consulting it with them. That is one of the reasons why the leaders had decided not to approve the law. "The Muslim community is being asked to sign off on laws and policies that have already been decided," the statement said.

While Abbott's intention may have been transparent about protecting his country, things may get edgier if the misunderstanding between the head of the state and the Muslim community in the country is not resolved soon.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

To contact the editor, e-mail:

(Photo: REUTERS/Lisa Maree Williams/Po / )
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his keynote speech during the B20 Summit in Sydney, July 17, 2014.
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