An Australian judge who said Muslim leaders should publicly denounce “belligerent” verses of the Koran has been warned not to offer Islamic scriptural guidance.
Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed said Muslim leaders would “never, ever, ever” disavow verses of the Koran while president of the Australian Muslim Women’s Association Silma Ihram said that it was not appropriate for a judge to delve into religious scripture interpretations.
Both spoke the day after Justice Desmond Fagan said lethal messages derived from “hostile passages” of the Koran were not effectively countered by suggestions from “various quarters” that the verses had been “cherry picked” or that Islam was an “interpretive religion” of peace.
“The incitements to violence which terrorists quote from the Koran cannot just be ignored by the many believers who desire harmonious coexistence. Those verses are not ignored by terrorists,” Justice Fagan said in Sydney while delivering his judgement in the NSW Supreme Court in a case involving two convicted jihadis.
SBS News reports Dr Mohamed pointed out “only two Koran verses talk about pre-emptive fighting” while Ms Ihram said that when the Koran is translated from Arabic to English, “meaning and context is lost.”
“The English translation does not convey the depths of meaning that the Koran actually holds for those relevant verses,” she said. “There are very few verses in the Koran that can be twisted for violent purposes, there are a lot more in other scriptures.
“That is why we are working as much as we can to educate Muslims on interpreting the Koran.”
Dr Rateb Jneid, Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president, cautined that a judge shouldn’t be drawing conclusions on a religious text.
“A judge’s role is to deal with the individual before the court and not the religion as a whole,” he said in a statement. “A judge in such circumstances is unlikely to have sufficient material before them to draw any conclusions about the religious position on such texts beyond what the individual in question may or may not believe.”
This is not the first time Islamic texts and their interpretation have publicly collided in Australia.
Labor MP Anne Aly: It’s important we don’t use language that will divide the community, as opposed to singling out groups and religions. I don’t care how politically desperate you are.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) November 10, 2018
As Breitbart News reported, last year Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called out “radical, violent, extremist Islam that opposes our very way of life” the day after an Islamic State-inspired jihadist carried out a terror attack in Melbourne.
He said while he supported religious freedom, religious extremism must be called out.
“Radical, violent, extremist Islam that opposes our very way of life,” the premier said. “Religious extremism takes many forms around the world and no religion is immune from it.
“But here in Australia, we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism in this country is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremists.”
The Australian National Imams Council responded immediately, calling the attack a national tragedy before adding it was “outraged” by the prime minister’s linking Islam to any radical or dangerous jihadi ideology.
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