“We join Muslim community leaders in NSW, and especially Afghan community leaders, in condemning events of this kind,” they said.
“We are relieved for all members of our community that this event has been cancelled and look forward to a continued constructive relationship with AFIC.”
AFIC chief executive Keysar Trad defended the event on Thursday, saying the Taliban was invited to participate, given they are now “recognised as the government of Afghanistan”.
“Our members have serious concerns about and for the future of Afghanistan. We have many members who are Afghan-Australians and they want to hear directly about what the future holds,” Mr Trad said.
The event attracted widespread criticism from politicians, other Muslim leaders and advocates.
The Afghanistan-Australian Advocacy Network said the event demonstrated “a clear lack of judgment and empathy”.
“There is no justification for giving a public platform to members of the Taliban at a time when they continue to repress the rights of women and minorities such as the Hazaras in Afghanistan.”
Human rights lawyer Mariam Veizsadeh said it was “deeply shameful” to provide the Taliban with a platform. “It’s just further proof that AFIC is out of step with Australian Muslims,” she said.
Lawyer and NSW Council for Civil Liberties member Lydia Shelly said: “It is shocking that, in 2021, we need to educate an Australian-based Muslim organisation … that inviting members of the Taliban to speak with an all-male panel is not stellar, but it is offensive [and] dangerous.”
Comedian Nazeem Hussain wondered if the whole thing was real.
“Ummm … Is AFIC hosting a Zoom call with the Taliban? Or is this a joke post?” he wrote on social media.
NSW Labor’s police and counter-terrorism spokesman Walt Secord described the event as “irresponsible” and said it looked like “a road map to radicalisation”.
The six proposed speakers included Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who has previously been interviewed by Australian and international media, and Sayed Abdul Basir Sabiri, another senior figure in the group.
Other speakers included Dr Jneid and Abdul Quddoos Al Azhari, declared by the organisation to be Australia’s grand mufti.
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