Skip to comments.Australian Muslims agree to challenge extremists
Posted on 08/23/2005 10:03:18 AM PDT by knighthawk
CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia's key Moslem leaders promised on Tuesday to directly challenge extremists who encourage violence and terrorism in the name of Islam after a summit with Prime Minister John Howard.
The 13 Islamic leaders also agreed to examine the training of Australia's imams, who mostly come from overseas, to ensure they better reflect Australian values.
"There is no place for hatred, there is no place for terrorism, there is no place for violence in this country," Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president Ameer Ali told reporters.
Howard called the summit with the nation's Islamic leaders after four young British Muslims in London killed 52 people on July 7 in suicide bomb attacks on subway trains and a bus.
The prime minister said the government wanted the Islamic community to do more to stamp out extremism and crack down on those in Australia who promoted violence in the name of their religion.
"There are a number of people in our community who are a danger to all of us, not many but some, and we have an obligation to try and identify them, to neutralise them, to prevent them from influencing others, particularly the young," Howard said.
Australia, a close ally of the United States, is reviewing its anti-terror laws following the London bombings and is considering laws to deport radical Moslem clerics who support or encourage suicide bombings against western targets.
Howard said the meeting had discussed ways to make sure Islamic schools teach "appropriate denunciations and repudiation of terrorism", and the training and vetting of imams to make sure they reflect Australian values.
"Obviously we are not getting into the business of telling any religion how it should conduct itself. But there is a concern, and it is shared in the Islamic community, that there is not a sufficient Australian perspective felt and conveyed by some of the imams," he said.
Australia, a nation of 20 million people, has about 280,000 Muslims who live mainly in Sydney and Melbourne.
The country has never suffered a major terror attack on home soil, but authorities said earlier this month that 60 suspected Islamic extremists were under surveillance.
In 2004, British-born Australian Jack Roche was jailed for nine years for conspiring to bomb the Israeli embassy in Canberra. Two other Australians, a former Qantas baggage handler and a Pakistan-born architect, are awaiting trial on terror-related charges.
Maybe President Bush should call all the imans to his Oval Office and have them swear in front of a camera to do the same? Take an oath of allegiance to the United States so everyone can see and heard.
Imagine if the same laws that are being enacted in Britain (allowing deporation and stripping of citizenship for certain undesirables) were proposed here.
Now imagine how quickly the ACLU and other leftist goups would throw out all the stops to prevent such legislation from happening.
Sadly, it is going to take another major attack from within the country, traced to a mosque or two, before people will rise up and say STFU to the ACLU and will demand this type of action.