More blunt talk to Muslims from the Australian government
Australia's Islamic clerics have been urged to help correct the false use of the Koran by terrorists to justify their evil acts. The Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Robb called on some 100 Australian imams attending a government-sponsored conference to denounce the extremists' misrepresentation of Islam. "We live in a world of global terrorism where vile acts are regularly being perpetrated in the name of your faith," Mr Robb told the two-day conference which started. "Because it is your faith that is being invoked it is your problem. "You cannot wish it away or ignore it just because it has been caused by others."
The taxpayer-funded conference, which was intended for earlier this year, was initially the brainchild of the now divided Australian Federation of Islamic Councils. But organisation of the event was handed to the Muslim Community Reference Group members by Mr Robb after the AFIC failed to get it going. A number of hardcore Islamists have accepted invitations to attend.
Mr Robb urged delegates to preach to young Australian Muslims about the real meaning of the Koran. "I say to you speak up and condemn terrorism," He said. "I know many in your community are doing this .. but too many are silent."
Mr Robb also said it was essential for imams to have effective English language skills. Some 50 per cent of the 360,000 Muslims in Australia are under 25 years of age, and most were born in Australia with English as their first language, he said. "For imams to present Islam in a truly Australian context especially to second and third generations Australian Muslims, it would seem essential that imams be able to speak effective English. "The fact that I needed to have my address translated into several languages very clearly highlights my concern," Mr Robb said. The conference continues for the rest of the weekend.
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