Fury Over Talks With Anti-Islam Thinker

August 22, 2007

Author: Richard Kerbaj

Source: The Australian


MODERATE Islamic leaders have attacked Howard Government ministers for meeting anti-Muslim thinker Wafa Sultan, accusing Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer of endorsing her view that Islam isevil.

The nation's most senior spiritual Muslim woman, Aziza Abdel-Halim, yesterday also accused the Government of double standards for barring radical Islamic clerics while allowing an equally "dangerous" thinker such as Dr Sultan to stage a secret visit.

"It's very disappointing and very shocking, really," Sister Abdel-Halim told The Australian. "Because on the one hand they claim to be trying to give a chance to the Muslim community to overcome any negative ideas or thoughts among people, and on the other hand, they are promoting people who are agitating and accomplishing division and igniting hatred."

She criticised Julia Gillard for meeting the US-based Dr Sultan, saying the private discussion -- which the Deputy Opposition Leader refused to comment on yesterday -- would reflect negatively on the ALP, which is trying to build bridges with Australia's Islamic community.