Extremist Muslim group to hold workshops at Deakin University
An extremist Muslim group are holding workshops at Melbourne’s Deakin University this weekend based on the teachings of Islamic scholars who have recommended the death penalty for homosexuals and apostates, promoted terrorism and preached hatred of Jews and Christians and violence against women.
The Islamic Research and Educational Academy, which earlier this year held a conference at which children as young as five were encouraged to dress up as radical clerics and read controversial sermons and passages from the Koran, has sent text messages to supporters advertising the da’wah workshops as being based on the teachings of “legendary” scholars Zakir Naik and Ahmed Deedat.
Dubbed “The Art of Da’wah” and hosted by the ultraconservative Salafist organisation’s president Waseem Razvi, the workshops, to be held at Deakin’s Burwood campus, promise to use the teachings of Dr Naik and Sheik Deedat to help attendees “learn the art and gain the confidence to talk about Islam to anyone, anywhere and at any time”.
Indian “televangelist” Dr Naik has been banned from countries including Britain, Canada and parts of India for his rhetorical support for terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
He has recommended capital punishment for homosexuals and apostates and has been quoted saying “every Muslim should be a terrorist” and asserting men’s “rights” to beat their wives, as long as they do it lightly, so as not to leave a mark.
Sheik Deedat, who died in 2005, was a South African Muslim missionary of Indian descent whose books have been banned from sale in France since 1994 for being “violently anti-Western, anti-Semitic and inciting to racial hate.”
His da’wah centre was heavily financed by the bin Laden family and Deedat praised Osama bin Laden after meeting him.
Deakin corporate communications director Sarah Dolan yesterday said there were no clear grounds to cancel the event at the last minute.
“Nevertheless, we will closely watch how the group represent and conduct themselves,” she said.
“As a university we are committed to the fair and open exchange of ideas, but we draw the line not just at anyone promoting or justifying violent extremism but also at any malicious expression of exclusivism intended to encourage people to view others in a way that is disrespectful or hateful.”
Chair in Global Islamic Politics at Deakin Greg Barton said he agreed with the university’s decision, but provisos were certainly necessary.
“When it comes to Zakir Naik, there are reasons to be concerned,” Professor Barton said. “The questions around this event will be who is speaking and what line they take.
“In Australia at the moment we face a very serious struggle with violent extremist being recruited from our suburbs, and even from our tertiary institutions, and we have to be wise about how we engage. If we simply close the doors on everything, that can support the extremists’ rhetoric.
Neither Mr Razvi nor the Islamic academy’s spokeswoman returned calls from The Weekend Australian’ yesterday.