Imam in hiding after backing calls to close Aussie Muslim schools

A Muslim imam says he's been forced into hiding after voicing support for the ideas of anti-Islam campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

 

Mohammed Tawhidi, of the Islamic Association of South Australia, said he agrees with Ms Ali's call to close Islamic schools in Australia.

He has also rejected extremist groups.

Ms Ali cancelled her tour of Australia this week because of fears for her safety.

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Imam Tawhidi fears for his safety after agreeing with a controversial anti-Islamic speaker. Photo: 7 News

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Ms Ali cancelled her tour of Australia this week. Photo: 7 News

"These schools do exist that are a problem and they need to be either shut down or changed completely," Imam Tawhidi said.

Fearing reprisals, the Adelaide-based Imam said he was escorted into hiding by police.

A video released on Facebook has been credited, in part, with stopping Ms Ali's speaking tour.

In a video, which was posted to Facebook a group of Muslim women speak out against Ms Ali saying: "You're not here to help us or stand with... you're here to profit from an industry that exists to dehumanise us".

Hana Asafiri, of the Persons of Interest group, which is behind the video, said they opposed Ms Ali because her rhetoric could inspire random attacks against Australian Muslims.

"There's nothing to be celebrated through a divisive and very hostile and fear-mongering conversation," Ms Asafiri said.

Hana Asafiri says that Ms Ali's rhetoric could inspire random attacks against Muslims. Photo: 7 News

Ms Asafiri said Ms Ali cancelling her trip was seen by her group as a victory for free speech.

"Everybody has a right and they're the hallmarks of our freedoms and democracies.

"But I guess what I'm saying is those rights cannot be uncontested particularly when they're promoting hatred and fear."

The group has condemned Ms Ali as an extremist and a hatemonger and signed a petition against her visit.

But the Somali-born former Muslim has hit back, saying her critics are doing the work of radical groups.

"These are people who are far more interested in defending Sharia Law, that's Islamic law and the doctrine of radical Islam over human rights."

Muslim video have made a video criticising Ms Ali. Photo: Facebook

Ms Ali said these women criticise her, but say nothing about the millions of repressed women in Islamic countries.

"The idea that women have to cover themselves from head to toe to hide from men because if men see women's hair or women's faces or women's bodies then they are seized by this desire... and they start harassing and groping and sexually assaulting women," Ms Ali said.

"There is no feminist ideology of Islam.

The women say Ms Ali is not speaking for them. Photo: Facebook

"There are of course Muslim women all across the world who are fighting for their rights and fighting for their dignity, you know, the women in Saudi Arabia who are fighting for their right to drive a car and to be relieved of the obligation that they need a male guardian at all times."

But Ms Asafiri said her group opposed female oppression.

"Look, we start from the premise that all forms of violence against women and the subjugation of women are completely unacceptable," Ms Asafiri said.

Ms Ali spoke to 7 News in an exclusive interview. Photo: 7 News.

An unrepentant Ms Ali has gone further, when asked whether groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir should be banned in Australia she said they should be treated like "skinheads".

"White supremacists and all sorts of remnants of the Nazi Party ... are stigmatised and they are actively marginalised and that's what we should do with Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jemaah Islamiyah, with the Diobandi, with the Muslim Brotherhood, with all Islamism organisations that set up shop in Australia and other liberal societies."

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