Australian leader enrages Muslims after 'get with the program' comment

February 24, 2015 06:09

Australian Muslims were outraged on Tuesday after Prime Minister Tony Abbott urged their leaders to “get with the program” and do more to combat Islamic extremism.

Abbott gave an address to the nation about security during which he offered pointed criticism of Islamic leaders and their attitudes toward extremism.

“I’ve often heard western leaders describe Islam as a ‘religion of peace’,” the conservative leader said. “I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it.”

Local Muslims condemned the premier’s remarks as divisive.

“We continue to encourage the prime minister to reflect the set of values he espouses by utilizing a repertoire of inclusive rather than divisive language,” said Kuranda Seyit, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Council of Victoria. “The prime minister’s lack of acknowledgement or appreciation of Muslim community leaders and members who volunteer their time to consult with all levels of government and enforcement agencies misleads and incites ill-feeling from the broader community.”

The story was originally reported by the British newspaper The Guardian.

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