Thursday, October 28

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils under fire for event with Taliban leaders

Australia’s main Muslim body has been criticized for what has been called a “completely inappropriate” decision for an upcoming event.

Australia’s main Muslim body has come under fire for its “completely inappropriate” decision to organize known Taliban leaders in a virtual event this weekend.

The event “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the Muslims of the Diaspora”, organized by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils for Saturday night, announces a “stellar panel of speakers” that includes two known Taliban members, “either that (the assistants are) for or against the recent developments ”.

Among the panel members is Sheikh Sohail Shaheen, who has been the official spokesperson for the Taliban since the group took control of Afghanistan in August following the withdrawal of the United States and Australia.

The panel member, Sheikh Sayed Abdul Basir Sabiri, is also a high-ranking Taliban figure.

Sen. Penny Wong said the decision to allow the Taliban a platform in Australia was “unjustifiable”.

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

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

Internal Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said she encouraged organizers to consider whether the event should continue.

“The Taliban cabinet has no women, there are no representatives from the Hazara ethnic community and few others from other ethnic minorities, and it includes members of a US-designated terrorist group,” he said.

“I encourage the organizers to think deeply about their event and reflect on how much damage it would cause to the veterans, Australian Afghans, ethnic Hazaras and the women of Afghanistan, all of whom have suffered under the Taliban, so that it takes place. as reported this morning. “

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

“Obviously, they did not consult the thousands of Afghans in the diaspora in Australia about what it means for the Taliban to return to power. Wrong on many levels. It’s amazing, ”he said.

Also a defender, Sitrah Mohammadi, whose family fled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, said it was “appalling” that Taliban figures had a platform “to spread their propaganda.”

“The Hazaras have suffered tragically at their hands and continue to do so,” he 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 their drive for global legitimacy and strengthen their oppressive rule. “

Other speakers include AFIC President Rateb Jneid and Australian National Grand Mufti Imam Abdul Quddoos Al Azhari.

The Prime Minister and the Minister for Home Affairs have been contacted for comment.

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