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Former Aussie PM appointed UK trade advisor

30th Oct 2020
Former Aussie PM appointed UK trade advisor

Tony Abbott (Credit: David Foote/Australian Dept of Foreign Affairs & Trade)

Elham Asaad Buaras

The decision to appoint ex-Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, as a senior post-Brexit trade advisor to the UK Government on September 4 has sparked controversy.

Much of the media coverage has focused on series of sexist and homophobic comments made by Abbott throughout his career, which included arguing that men are suited to leadership roles as well as contentious claims about climate change, refugees and the coronavirus pandemic, which led equality campaigners and opposition MPs to demand Boris Johnson block his appointment.

However, Abbott has also made a string of Islamophobic comments. In June 2017 Abbott claimed that “Islamophobia hasn’t killed anyone,” in the immediate aftermath of the London Bridge terror attack, arguing officials were too scared of offending Muslims to debate “Islamic terrorism” properly.

Following the Christchurch massacre in which 50 people were shot dead in mosques, Abbott said he no longer held that opinion, but stopped short offering an apology arguing his views “might have been correct then.”

In April this year his successor Malcolm Turnbull, slammed him for his “profoundly dangerous” decision to inflame animosity against Muslims during his own premiership when he said Islam has a ‘massive problem’ and needs to reform. Writing in Australian media in 2015 Abbott said ‘not all cultures are equal’ and the West should stop apologizing for defending its values.

His letter, published in News Corps tabloids, said the West ‘can’t remain in denial about the massive problem within Islam’ and although most Muslims utterly reject terrorism, some are all too ready to justify “death to the infidel’”,’ he wrote. Abbott, a Roman Catholic, said, ‘Islam never had its own version of the Reformation and the Enlightenment or a consequent acceptance of pluralism and the separation of church and state.’

He argued, ‘It’s not culturally insensitive to demand loyalty to Australia and respect for Western civilization. Cultures are not all equal. We should be ready to proclaim the clear superiority of our culture to one that justifies killing people in the name of God.’

At the time Nail Aykan, Executive Director of Islamic Council Victoria, described his comments as “completely unhelpful at a time when we are trying to foster unity and social cohesion in Australian society.”

Despite countless fatwas, statements, press releases, sermons and community projects by Muslim organization and leaders against terrorism, the then PM Abbott called on Muslims to “speak up clearly” against terror, the clear implication being that they had either been silent or ambiguous in their response. “I have often heard western leaders describe Islam as a religion of peace. I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it,” he said on March 1, 2015.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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