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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Festival of Dangerous Ideas

It's hard to believe that the Sydney Opera House would invite Uthman Badar, spokesman for the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, to give a talk entitled "Honour killings are morally justified."

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas put together by the Sydney Opera House and St James Ethics Centre, came up with the brilliant idea of inviting a murderous thug to give a lecture on how it's okay to murder family members, especially women, who dishonour their family.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a banned, radical organization in Germany and The Netherlands and before becoming Prime Minister, Tony Abbott said he would outlaw it here.  As soon as the media picked up on the story, the government stepped in and Uthman Badar's lecture has been cancelled.

Uthman Badar

Sydney has the largest population of Lebanese Sunnis outside Lebanon and that's why so many young men have gone over there to fight.  Sydney extremists "groom" young men identified as good prospects for jihad.

Belmore GP Dr Jamal Rifi said yesterday "We are fuming and very angry about ISIS, our young men have been brainwashed, not by the people of the cloth, but by evil people. They've taken them where they should not go, they've taken them to their death."  One 17 year old told his mother he was going to Gosford to get a job and he turned up on Facebook in Syria. "We informed the AFP and the local authorities....the family is devastated" Dr Rifi said.

Dr Rifi (left)

But getting back to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, last night the Opera House released a statement.

"It is always a matter of balance and judgment and in this case, a line has been crossed.  Accordingly, we have decided not to proceed with the scheduled session with Uthman Badar.  It is clear from the public reaction that the title has given the wrong impression of what Mr Badar intended to discuss.  Neither Mr Badar, the St James Ethics Centre nor the Sydney Opera House in any way advocates honour killings or condones any form of violence against women."

Last night, Mr Badar tweeted "Hysteria wins out, welcome to the free world, where freedom of expression is a cherished value."