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Australia’s Abbott Defends Comments On Need To ‘Modernize’ Islam

SINGAPORE (AP) — Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday defended his comments suggesting that Western culture is superior to that of Islam, and called for U.S.-led assistance in defeating the Islamic State group.

In a Sydney Daily Telegraph opinion piece published earlier in the day, Abbott, a staunch Catholic, wrote of a need to “modernize” Islam, saying it propagates a culture that is inferior to that of the West.

Critics associated his comments with those of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has proposed a controversial ban on all Muslim visitors to the U.S., with the exception of foreign Muslim leaders.

“I am more than ready to assert the superiority of a culture that is decent and humane, and welcoming, over a culture that thinks it’s right to kill in the name of God,” he said in a speech in Singapore.

Once you embrace the principle of killing in the name of God, “we have the war of all against all, until there is only one man, or one particular faith or version of faith left standing. Now, that is a recipe for catastrophe, absolute catastrophe,” he added.

In September, Abbott suggested that the Islamic State group was worse than the Nazis during World War II, angering members of the Jewish community.

“Islamic State has a simple but deadly message — submit or die. To most, a medieval fantasy, but rational enough to many Muslims based on their scriptures,” Abbott said Wednesday.

“We need to address the allure of Islamic State and part of that is defeating it, because as long as it survives, there is this idea that somehow it is of God, and if it fails, almost by definition, it is not.”

While the main fight should ultimately be between local forces and the Islamic State group, more assistance should be rendered by outside powers such as the U.S. and Australia, Abbott said.

Abbott spent two years in office before being ousted in September by current leader Malcolm Turnbull in a Liberal Party coup, but is still involved in politics.

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