Toddlers in Australian childcare centres would inevitably come under the radar of spy organisations and counter-terrorism police, a gathering of hundreds of Muslim men, women and children has been told.
More than 500 people flocked on Sunday to a forum in south-western Sydney addressing the “criminalisation” of the Islamic community in Australia.
They were told Muslim children should not be forced to sing the Australian anthem and that “deradicalisation” was an agenda of forced assimilation.
Organised by the controversial Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) – the organisation that former prime minister Tony Abbott wanted banned – the conference heard the Muslims were being demonised over their faith.
“Deradicalisation has come to mean making Muslims less Islamic, more Western, more secular, more submissive to secular, Liberal political … norms,” HuT spokesman Uthman Badar said.
“It is nothing more than an agenda of forced assimilation justified by exaggerated fears of a security threat.”
He said Muslim children should not be forced to sing the national anthem.
“The insistence of senior government ministers that Muslim children sing the national anthem – an anthem that reflects a particular disputed view of history and celebrates particular ideological values … Why should they be forced to sing it?” he asked the crowd, gathered at The Bellevue function centre in Bankstown.
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