Muslim groups warn the government’s proposed counter-terror laws will impinge on the rights and freedoms of all Australians but “especially those of Muslim faith”. Photo: Andrew MearesBrandis cancels appearance at free speech forum
Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s hope for a united “Team Australia” approach to proposed new terror laws has hit a hurdle with a Muslim group describing them as “more destructive” than the now abandoned changes to the race-hate laws.
On Tuesday the government backed down on its plans to repeal a section of the Racial Discrimination Act which makes it illegal to offend or insult someone on the basis of their ethnicity.
The law was used to successfully prosecute News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt and Mr Abbott pledged to repeal the laws if elected. But the Prime Minister while announcing new counter-terror laws this week said that the debate over Section 18C had become a “complication” in maintaining national unity.
He said he was “determined” to engage in “even closer consultation” with communities and singled out the Australian Muslim community on the counter-terror changes.
But the Lebanese Muslim Association has described them as “deplorable” and vowed to fight them because they are “widely perceived to target Muslims”.
The organisation has described as “deplorable” the government’s plans to “soften the definition of terrorism”, retain internet and phone data, make it easier to detain and question suspects returning from overseas, and reversing the onus of proof for people returning from terror hot-spots.
“These measures will only force the Muslim community further offside [and] will cause relations with the Australian Muslim community to deteriorate significantly,” the association said in a statement.
The Australian National Imans Council has joined the criticism and says it believes the proposed changes will “severely impinge” on the rights and freedoms of all Australians but “especially those of Muslim faith”.
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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.