Some imams are also sceptical that the killing of Osama bin Laden will benefit ordinary Muslims and they are unhappy with the way US forces disposed of his body.
An Advertiser survey of the nation’s Islamic leaders has also revealed:
STRONG condemnation of MPs who criticise Muslim women for wearing the burqa/nijab.
CONCERN that ordinary Muslims are still being linked to terrorism.
DISGUST that innocent people in Muslim countries are being killed in the “war on terror”.
The survey was conducted in the wake of a $55,000 Federal Government training program for imams on Australian laws and values.
The religious leaders have been told to preach Aussie values such as the fair go, freedom and responsibility to their congregations.
Imam Yusuf Parker, from the Alhidayah Centre in Perth, said that Australia should consider recognising sharia law as it applied to finance and family law matters.
Imam Parker said that Islam forbade the charging or paying of interest “so finding interest-free loans will again help Muslims to practice their Islam better”.
“Other than the two major issues mentioned, I don’t see other sharia law that Muslims would seek to have legally recognised,” he said.
Fellow WA imam Sheikh Burhaan Mehtar said the issue of sharia law was often raised to scare non-Muslims, but a dialogue would lead to better understanding. “Islamic banking and the non-slavery of humans is a classic example. Interest is slavery,” he said.
Islamic Council of Victoria board member Nazeem Hussain said that currently there were legal and tax barriers preventing local banks from offering Islamic products.
“That’s a massive market that the Australian Government has identified (and) we’d encourage the Government to seek ways to tap into that market,” he said.
On the issue of bin Laden’s killing by US forces, Imam Parker said it might be closure for those convinced that he was the mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“But the reality is that the negative impact on Islam and Muslims has not changed and it will take many decades for that to change,” he said.
Sheikh Burhaan Mehtar said the symbolic victory of bin Laden’s death would remain hollow while people in countries like Afghanistan suffered a “terror of death delivered from the skies” by the US and its allies.
Gold Coast imam Imraan Husain reflected a general view that bin Laden’s burial at sea was a violation of his funeral rites.
Victorian imam Sheikh Ramy Najmeddine said that Muslims felt there was an unfair link between terrorism and Islam.
“But we believe that this association is being broken down by the good work that members of both the Muslim and non-Muslim community are doing to work together for a better society,” he said.
Sheikh Mohamadu Saleem, spokesman for the Board of Imams Victoria, accused some MPs of trying to get political mileage out of the burqa issue.
“This could be akin to (issues like) global warming/carbon price. It is mere political expediency,” he said.
Victorian imam Abdinur Weli said: “If only Muslims are the people who are told what to wear then it is discrimination.”