Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A fair commentary on the Grand Mufti - and in the Sydney Tele no less

A balanced view on the Grand Mufti. Because it's behind the paywall here are some extracts of what Zushan Hashmi, a research co-ordinator of the South Asia Study Group at the University of Sydney, had to say/

We need many voices not just Grand Mufti’s


In Australia critics are slamming the Muslim community for ‘‘not doing enough to condemn the Paris attacks’’.

The problem does not lie with the Muslim community itself. Rather, it exists within their leadership and those who are upholding this leadership. Hence, my concerns are regarding the Muslim community leaders, and in particular the so-called Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohamed.

He is the highest authority and most important representative for Muslims in this country. It is not surprising that he is under scrutiny from politicians such as Josh Frydenberg, who accuses him of failing to provide sound leadership. Although others such as Labor MP Tony Burke have spoken out to support him, as a Muslim I cannot help but wonder whether or not he truly represents our community?

Why is it that a man, who cannot speak English (let alone any of the other languages that Muslims in this country speak), is viable to represent the whole community? Especially considering the Muslim community consists of people from several different backgrounds holding significant differences when it comes to practising their religion?

Having spoken to several Muslims (especially the youth) I discovered that a vast majority had not even heard of the Grand Mufti until the recent attention from the media. And even if they had heard of him, they held him in very low esteem and deemed him irrelevant.

Dr Ahmed Kilani has recently spoken out against this matter of misrepresentative leadership as well. Like him, I believe it is this leadership that is disallowing Muslims in Australia from progressing and truly voicing their views and opinions on a national platform. The reason why leaders such as the Grand Mufti continue to be a voice for Muslims is because most Australians have failed to truly understand and appreciate the diversity within the Muslim community.

Muslims make up just over 2 per cent of Australia’s population. They speak languages such as Urdu, Farsi, Turkish and Bahasa Melayu, and originate from several parts of the world including Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Europe. Therefore, one must consider, is it fair to have a sole leader and one major organisation (Australian Federation of Islamic Councils) representing each and every one?

... A leader disconnected from his own people cannot comprehend or possess the knowledge to successfully lead and represent their community. Muslims should be aiming to work their way towards self-representation by partaking in Australian politics, as have Ed Husic and Mehreen Faruqi.
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