What part of the phrase “at odds with and incompatible with secular democracy” don’t our political class understand? Why do they have so much difficulty understanding that the Muslim and Middle East tribal culture is irreconcilable with secular democracy and simply can’t be bought off no matter how much money you throw at it?
“…The Islamic leaders Malcolm Turnbull invited to dinner who variously espouse anti-gay, anti-women, anti-West and even radical views have taken in almost $10 million in government grants in the past year to promote “social cohesion”.
The Lebanese Muslim Association, which took a public stance in refusing to become involved in the former Abbott government’s program to counter violent extremism, received about $2m in government funds in 2014 and several “community development and participation” grants from the Department of Social Services last year.
The LMA, which had several representatives at last Thursday’s iftar dinner at Kirribilli House, including the imam of Lakemba mosque, Yahya Safi, is the nation’s biggest Islamic organisation and runs the largest mosque.
Sheik Safi sparked controversy when, in December 2012, he warned followers they should not involve themselves in anything to do with Christmas.
The LMA also posted a fatwa “by mistake” on its Facebook page which warned Muslims not to wish the “nonbelievers” Merry Christmas.
The association was included in the NSW government’s counter-terror community project, receiving $750,000 to develop a schools program for young Muslims that engages “local scholars and international experts” to “provide young Muslims a context to their struggles and a language to engage with and address their challenges”.
In 2010, Sheik Safi sat on a panel with Shady Alsuleiman, the president of the Australian National Imams Council, where Sheik Alsuleiman agreed with and translated visiting Sheik Mahmoud Shanqiti’s comments that children born out of wedlock were never the responsibility of the men who fathered them.
“The sharia says the child goes back to that mother, and he has no connection to … he goes back to his mother, and he has no connection to the person who had the sexual intercourse with that mother,” Sheik Alsuleiman translated.
“We don’t want to refer to him as a father, because the sharia does not relate to him as a father. He has no attachments, he has no strings attached to the child, he goes to the mother.”
The United Muslim Women Association, led by humanitarian Maha Abdo, received $600,000 late last year for an online awareness project as part of the NSW government’s multi-million-dollar counter-radical community partnership. “The project recognises that people with extreme and passionately-held views can impact negatively on social cohesion,” the program says.
Al Zahra Muslim Association president Hassan Bazzi, also at Mr Turnbull’s dinner, received a $33,938 government grant last year. He once told a rally “death to the enemies” of Lebanon.
The Islamic Council of Victoria, which receives about $1.2m in government grants, wants to reduce reliance on the funding due to the “perception” of a conflict of interest. “Many community members see government-funded organisations as part of the government by default and so we often get branded as pro-government,” said spokesman Kuranda Seyit.
“Although, in reality, we are quite independent and the government does not interfere with our internal affairs. Ideally, we would like to reduce funding from government sources so that we can remain completely independent and give some reassurance to our constituency.”
The organisation most under the spotlight, however, has never been required to report its finances. The ANIC, which has at least three executive members who believe homosexuality should be punished by disease or death, only registered as a charity this year, backdating its charitable registration for tax purposes to 2013.
Mr Turnbull conceded it was a mistake to invite Sheik Alsuleiman to the dinner, although government agencies have included him in counter-radicalisation meetings and he has been given access to jails to preach to inmates.
Islamic Council of Western Australia president Rateb Jneid, who was fined for improperly storing a gun in 2014, said many Muslim leaders were “very angry” with Mr Turnbull for the way he admonished Sheik Alsuleiman for his homophobic views.
“Sheik Shady was only condemning the homosexuals because of the religion,” Mr Jneid told The Australian yesterday. “Just like it says for the Christians, he was just saying what is in the Koran. We are not arguing there should be an attack on gay people. We are happy with the laws of Australia, we accept them.”
The Islamic Council of WA received a small state government grant to help with Eid celebrations last year.