Australian Islamic body cancels forum with Taliban officials after heavy criticism from Afghan community | Australia news

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (Afic) has cancelled its deliberate on-line forum that was on account of embody two senior Taliban representatives, after it confronted heavy criticism from inside the Muslim and Afghan communities.

“I genuinely thought it was a joke,” stated Mariam Veiszadeh, a lawyer and community rights advocate from the Afghan-Australian community.

“I think Afic has been out of touch with the broader Australia Muslim community for a very long time, and this just cements that further.”

In a press release launched on Thursday morning, Afic stated it determined to cancel the occasion “in response to community concerns”, with Afic president Dr Rateb Jneid saying the occasion was not meant to “legitimise any group”:

“This event was not convened to legitimise any group or to offend any group … in view of developments, I have taken the executive decision to cancel the event.”

The assertion stated “discussion” had taken place with “officials in Australia” in the course of the planning for the occasion.

Afic chief govt Keysar Trad instructed ABC Radio on Thursday that the occasion was a chance to “obtain assurances about the rights of minorities and women, and to also dissuade and discourage any young people from going to that region.”

But Veiszadeh stated the occasion mirrored a “lack of judgment” by Afic, and questioned the management on the organisation.

“I don’t think that the current leadership of Afic has the judgment or experience to be able to know how to advocate on behalf of the community.”

“They should be elevating and taking the lead from Afghanistan Australians, and asking them how they can help, rather than seeking to frame the narrative in a way that benefits them personally.”

“It’s just a slap in the face that instead of platforming and elevating the voices of the victims, they’ve thought to elevate the voices of the perpetrator.”

Veiszadeh, alongside with quite a lot of Afghan-Australian and Muslim community leaders, joined the Afghanistan-Australian Advocacy Network (AAAN) in condemning the occasion, and calling for an apology from Afic.

The AAAN’s Arif Hussein stated there was “no justification” for an occasion like that to be held.

“There is no justification for giving a public platform to members of the Taliban at a time when they continue to repress the rights of women and minorities such as the Hazaras in Afghanistan. This event clearly demonstrates a clear lack of judgment and empathy on Afic’s part.”

Lawyer Atika Hussain, a member of Australia’s Afghan-Hazara community, stated whereas the cancellation of the occasion was welcomed, she feared there could be retribution for the cancellation in opposition to Hazaras in Afghanistan.

In a web-based dialogue on Afic’s fb web page, the Afic account stated opposition to the forum had come from Australia’s Hazara community.

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“Some people are trying to censor a 58-year-old Muslim body and stop it from addressing concerns that are being raised in many parts of the nation. It just so happens that many of these objections are led by people identifying as Hazara,” Afic stated. “This looks like someone does not want Afghanistan to move forward from its crippling past sectarian conflicts. Shame indeed.”

Hussain stated at a time when the Taliban was searching for to ascertain worldwide legitimacy, to have a public forum all of a sudden cancelled – and that cancellation attributed to the Hazara community – carried actual and vital danger of hurt for Hazaras in Afghanistan.

“My friends in Afghanistan said to me: ‘What if they cancel it? The blame is already there, it has already been put on the Hazara. So we can expect a negative response from the Taliban, we can expect retribution’.

“And it is not true. The opposition to the event was not only from Hazaras, it was from the broader Afghan community, from Pashtun, from Tajik, just targeting Hazara is irresponsible and wrong.”

Hussain stated Hazara in Afghanistan feared retribution.

“Taliban are looking for platforms, legitimacy, and they are now being told it is the Hazaras who stopped it. This event has created fear, instead of creating unity, it has damaged our community.”

The ethnic and non secular minority Hazara have confronted generations of violent persecution by the hands of the Taliban and different Sunni extremist teams.

A Shia mosque primarily attended by Hazara was attacked in Kunduz final Friday, in an assault claimed by an Islamic state affiliate. Thousands of Hazaras have additionally been pushed from their properties by the Taliban in Daikundi province.

The cancellation additionally comes after the New South Wales premier, Dominic Perrottet, launched a press release, saying the NSW authorities had requested Afic to cancel the occasion.

“The NSW community is currently opening its arms to refugees and Australian repatriates from Afghanistan.”

“We join Muslim community leaders in NSW, and especially Afghan community leaders, in condemning events of this kind.”

Afic has been approached for remark.

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