Sydney Opera House Cancels ‘Dangerous Ideas’ Talk On Â “Honour killings are morally justified”, by Hizb-ut Tahrir
The Sydney Opera House has cancelled a talk about Muslim “honour killings” within hours of growing outrage emerging on social media.
The August address, titled “Honour killings are morally justified”, by activist Uthman Badar, was part of the annual Festival of Dangerous Ideas and this afternoon came under attack from both conservative and progressives on Twitter and Facebook.
Honour killings are when a family member, most often a woman, is murdered for supposedly bringing shame on the family. It occurs throughout the world, including Australia, but is most prevalent in Muslim communities.
“As for the content of my presentation, I wont be revealing much before the event itself. Surprise, surprise. I will, however, say that the suggestion that I would advocate for honour killings, as understand in the west, is ludicrous and something I would normally not deem worth of dignifying with a response. Rather, this is about discussing the issue at a deeper level, confronting accepted perceptions, assumptions and presumptions and seeing things from a different perspective. Is that too much to ask of the liberal mind?”
More from Uthman BadarÂ at the bottom of this page.
Just because a devout muslim like Uthman Badar doesn’t advocate “for honour killings, as understand (sic) in the west”, does not mean that he will deny sharia law and its rulings.
Badar is from Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, a Muslim lobby group seeking to re-establish the Islamic Caliphate (religious state). The festival talks are co-presented by the St James Ethics Centre and are billed as “leading thinkers and culture creators” bringing “contentious ideas to the fore and challenge mainstream thought and opinion”. Among those taking part this year are author Salman Rushdie, ABC managing director Mark Scott, former PM Malcolm Fraser and ex opposition leaders Mark Latham and John Hewson.
In a statement posted on Facebook just after 9.30pm on Tuesday, the Opera House claimed the title of the address had “given the wrong impression of what Mr Badar intended to discuss”.
The statement reads, in part:
The Festival of Dangerous Ideas is intended to be a provocation to thought and discussion, rather than simply a provocation. It is always a matter of balance and judgement, and in this case a line has been crossed. Accordingly, we have decided not to proceed with the scheduled session with Uthman Badar.
Neither Mr Badar, the St James Ethics Centre, nor Sydney Opera House in any way advocates honour killings or condones any form of violence against women.
Of course he does.Â
But on the Sydney Opera House website page promoting the Badar’s FODI address, since removed, it was described thus:
Uthman Badar examines the condemnation of honour killings and the cultural view of honour itself. If an act is overwhelmingly condemned, does it make it wrong?
For most of recorded history parents have reluctantly sacrificed their childrenâ€” sending them to kill or be killed for the honour of their nation, their flag, their king, their religion. But what about killing for the honour of one’s family?
Overwhelmingly, those who condemn ‘honour killings’ are based in the liberal democracies of the West.
The accuser and moral judge is the secular (white) westerner and the accused is the oriental other; the powerful condemn the powerless. By taking a particular cultural view of honour, some killings are condemned whilst others are celebrated.
In turn, the act becomes a symbol of everything that is allegedly wrong with the other culture.
In response, Badar tweeted
Hysteria wins out. Opera house cancels my session at #FODI. Welcome to the free world, where freedom of expression is a cherished value.
The director of the St James Ethics Centre, Simon Longstaff, added his view too
The session to explore ‘honour killing’ has been cancelled. Alas, people read the session title – and no further. Just too dangerous.
In other news:
Â Security monitor or not, we are aware of jihadis
A decade ago, around 60 Australians went to Afghanistan to join jihadist operations. Others travelled to Somalia in 2004. Of the 25 Australians who returned home, 19 were, to different degrees, found to be involved in domestic terrorist activities aimed at Australians.
In each of the domestic terrorist plots foiled by Australian authorities â€” from the al-Qa’ida planned attacks during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the foiled 2003 plot by Lashkar-e-Toiba, to home-grown attacks planned in Melbourne and Sydney uncovered in Operation Pendennis in 2005, to the 2009 terrorist plot to attack Sydney’s Holsworthy army base â€” it involved men who had trained in terrorist training camps overseas. Terrorism, by its nature, requires only a few people to cause mass death.
Today some 50 Australians have already joined jihadist groups in Syria, Iraq and Turkey en route to Syria and Iraq â€” with twice that number in Australia facilitating travel by young Australians to join terrorist groups. They are not part of some Contiki-style adventure tour.
Using online recruitment videos featuring Australian and British recruits, ISIS is encouraging more Westerners to join their fight in Syria and Iraq.
Australians are waking up:
THE letters page of late has been full of condemnations of escalating Islamist barbarism. But Islam is not just a religion. It is an all-encompassing system of life â€” political, legal, social and cultural. It demands total submission to its god and its religious tenets.
No Muslim immigrant can ever give total allegiance to the host nation. His only loyalty must be to Islam. He can never side with his adopted country if it comes in conflict with another Islamic country.
We are now witnessing a shocking situation where about 150 Australian Muslims are proudly involved in unspeakable atrocities against fellow Muslims and others in the Middle East. Yet no one is willing to state the only possible solution to well founded fears for our security â€” cease all Muslim immigration and jail any already here who incite violence and sedition. Discriminatory? Yes. Intolerant? Yes, indeed, for our liberty demands it.
More from Uthman Badar:
I anticipated that secular liberal Islamophobes would come out of every dark corner, foaming at the mouth, furious at why a Muslim ‘extremist’, from Hizb ut-Tahrir no less, was being allowed a platform at the Sydney Opera House to speak, but that it would only take a few hours after the advertising was released for mass hysteria to ensue is quite a feat!
I refer, of course, to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (â€ª#â€ŽFODIâ€¬), scheduled for late August at the Sydney Opera House, at which I will be presenting on the topic of “Honour killings are morally justified” (see:Â http://goo.gl/ltWwhS).
The magnitude of the response is certainly beyond expectation. I’d say, “well, that escalated quickly” but even that would fail to grasp the hysteria. The newspapers, talk-back radio, twittershere, are all going berzerk and my not having uttered a word yet seems to not have been an obstacle.
I had all three majors newspapers (SMH, Oz, DT) call and ask for comments. I didn’t respond (didn’t have the time today) so they just filled in the holes themselves with the usual sensationalist innuendo, with the DT’s front page piece taking the cake. No surprises there.
Similarly, talk-back radio was being whipped into a frenzy by the usual troublemakers. Ben Fordham (2GB) has been kind enough to offer an in-studio interview, having already made up his mind and expressed his disgust.
Opportunities for TV interviews are also rolling in.
Most interview-seekers, across the media spectrum, will be disappointed I’m afraid as I will only be very selectively taking up offers. Sorry guys. I’m actually more interested in talking about Iraq and Syria right now, and the hysteria surrounding Muslims going abroad to commit hitherto unspoken crime of attempting to assist the oppressed. Live interviews on this topic welcome. TodayTonight and its ilk need not apply.
As for the twitttersphere, well, no comment! Search the FODI hash-tag and see for yourself.
What’s interesting is that I’m being attacked left, right and centre without having opened my mouth yet. I guess that’s how Islamophobia works! I seem to have roused the ire of a nation without doing anything except accept an invite to speak. Quite an achievement, don’t you think?
It’s also instructive to see liberals and advocates of free speech go crazy and call for boycotts at what is nothing more than the expression of ideas. Muslims are regularly lectured by this same lot about how we must respect free speech and accept any and all criticism, but they themselves are not prepared to live up to the same standard.
As for the content of my presentation, I wont be revealing much before the event itself. Surprise, surprise. I will, however, say that the suggestion that I would advocate for honour killings, as understand in the west, is ludicrous and something I would normally not deem worth of dignifying with a response. Rather, this is about discussing the issue at a deeper level, confronting accepted perceptions, assumptions and presumptions and seeing things from a different perspective. Is that too much to ask of the liberal mind?
I should say something about the title of the presentation as well, given some have taken issue with it. It was not of my choosing, though I consented to it. The entire topic wasn’t. I, in fact, suggested a more direct topic about Islam and secular liberalism (something like “The West needs saving by Islam” – how’s that for dangerous?), but the organisers insisted on this topic, which I think is still a worthy topic of discussion, for many reasons, as my presentation will, God-willing, show, hence I accepted.
It should be noted, on this count, that all the topics and titles of presentations at the FODI are confronting and provocative. That’s part of what they intend with the festival. In 2011, for instance, Marc Theissen, former George Bush speechwriter, argued for torture. Last year one of the presentations was entitled, ‘A killer can be good’. In this respect, my presentation is no different. What is different is that I’m Muslim – one willing to intellectually challenge secular liberal ideology and mainstream values – and that says a lot about the true extent of ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’ in modern western liberal democracies such as Australia.
So, if the Opera House and FODI organisers are able to withstand the inevitable pressure put on them by close-minded bigots to remove me from the program and save them from hearing different ideas, I’ll see you all there!