Australia denies access Muslim scholar

Australia has denied access to a Canadian Muslim scholar invited to attend a major Islamic conference in Melbourne and obstructed the entry of another, leaving its Muslim minority dismayed.

Australia denies access Muslim scholar

Australia has denied access to a Canadian Muslim scholar invited toattend a major Islamic conference in Melbourneand obstructed the entry of another, leaving its Muslim minority dismayed, the HeraldSun reported on Wednesday, April 4.

"The department checks each individual againstthe movement alert list, which contains approximately three million records ofpersons of concern, including those who may pose a national securityrisk," said Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.

He confirmed that Bilal Philips, a 50-year-oldCanadian citizen who lives in Qatar,applied for a short-stay visa which was denied for security threats.

Jamaican-born Philips was invited to speak at theAustralian Islamic Conference at Melbourne University this weekend.

Saudi-based academic Jaafer Idris, also invited tospeak in the conference, has been asked to show the cause why he should beallowed to enter the country.

It was unlikely that 76-year-old scholar would beable to provide information in time to attend the three-day meeting, themed"Islamic values are universal values".

Andrews defended the treatment of Muslim scholarssaying it was the regular procedures.

"It's unrelated to religion," he told thelocal ABC radio.

"It's related to whether there is a risk to ournational security, whether there is a risk to vilification of segments of theAustralian community, inciting discord, these are the sorts of criteria whichare looked at under these provisions."


Mercy Mission, theIslamic organization sponsoring the Melbourne University conference,was dismayed by the government action.

"We were obviously surprised and disappointedof course, because we were looking forward to his attendance," AdelSelman, of Mercy Mission, told The Age newspaper.

"We would not have invited those two speakersif we thought they would not bring value to our conference."

The Muslim group issued a statement criticizing thegovernment's claim that Philips was posing a security threat and preachingviolence.

"To our knowledge, Dr Bilal Philips is notlinked to any acts of terrorism, nor does he support any terroristactivities."

It noted that Philips was a regular visitor to manycountries, including the UKand Canada.

"Mercy Missiondoes not believe that Dr Bilal Philips represents any threat to Australia orAustralians, and in fact, his presence at the conference would have been apositive development."

The Muslim organization said it still plans to bringthe two scholars to Australiaat some stage if the government will allow it.

"We still believe that their presence herewould be of benefit to Australian Muslims and the broader Australiansociety," Selman told the daily.

"So yes, we would hope that one day, God willing,that we would be able to bring them out to Australia."

Muslims, estimated at 300,000, make up 1.5 percentof Australia'spopulation of 20 millions.

Australian Muslims have regretted intolerance in Australia asignorance of Islam, widespread intolerance and misunderstanding have left manyof them feeling under siege.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16