Rita Panahi: Tolerating hateful, backward attitudes in the name of cultural diversity is cowardly

Tolerance of backward attitudes does not help diversity

Herald Sun

Sheik Shady Al-Suleiman arrives at the Kirribilli House Iftar dinner hosted by Malcolm Turnbull. Picture: James Croucher

WE live in interesting times.

The Australian Prime Minister doesn’t attend the repatriation of Australia’s Vietnam War dead but is happy to host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan attended by Islamist apologists and at least one hate preacher.

Sheik Shady Al-Suleiman who’s called AIDS a divine punishment for gays also has disturbing views about women, jihad and what he calls the “enemies of Islam.”

How did a man who preaches about women being “hung by their breasts” and stoned to death for adultery score an invitation to dine with the Prime Minister?

As president of the Australian National Imams Council he is a Muslim community leader but a simple Google search exposes Sheik Shady’s abhorrent lectures as well as links to al-Qaeda terrorist and recruiter, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a US drone strike.


It was the Prime Minister’s own office that compiled the guest list; are they hopelessly incompetent or did they think no one would dare question the virtue-signalling event?

The Sheik was not the only guest that raised eyebrows — sitting right next to the Prime Minister was mechanical engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied who this week denied the reality and brutality of Sharia law on ABC television.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hosts an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at Kirribilli House. Picture: AAP/Andrew Meares
Neither leader attended the repatriation of Vietnam War soldiers’ remains. Picture: Getty/Cameron Spencer

According to Ms Abdel-Magied Sharia law is “about mercy” and “kindness”. This extraordinary comment went unchallenged on the ABC.

Never mind that women, homosexuals, nonbelievers and many other innocents are brutalised in the name of Sharia every single day.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was asked on Melbourne radio today whether Islam was homophobic. It would be a kindness to describe his answer as incoherent.

He blathered on in a befuddling fashion about Muslims holding many differing views and disagreements between the different branches of the religion.

Turncoat is clearly out of his depth. He knows nothing about the religion of peace.

Yes, Prime Minister, sectarian violence is a deadly reality in Islam, and has been for hundreds of years, but both Sunnis and Shias condemn homosexuality in the strongest terms possible; Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran may loathe each other but they both have the death penalty for the “crime” of homosexuality.

In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre a group of 30 or so prominent Australian Muslims released a joint statement expressing their solidarity with the LGBTI community.

Sheik Shady Al-Suleiman has called AIDS a divine punishment for gays.

One of the signatories was high profile academic and psychologist Hanan Dover who is often presented as a leading progressive within the Muslim community.

Only problem is that she’s on the record condemning homosexuality as “evil” and comparing homosexuals to killers and thieves. She also believes intestine therapy can cure sexual orientation.

“If Allah loves homosexuals, he will also love thieves, murderers, liars, hypocrites, criminals,” Ms Dover said.

“Did Allah make a mistake and say that homosexuality is (a sin) for about 1400 years and when humans are ready, they can start disobeying my laws … and I will start accepting all evils C’mon!”

“Pro-gay groups would probably want to call me a homophobe … But I am no more a homophobe than they are an Islamophobe.”

Has it come to this? Where calling out Muslim homophobia is considered Islamophobic?

We must stop subjecting Muslim leaders and the wider community to the bigotry of low expectations.

Tolerating hateful, backward attitudes in the name of cultural diversity is cowardly and ultimately counter-productive.


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