Fringe group angers Muslim alliance

A HISTORIC alliance formed by Muslim leaders to promote unity following Saturday's violent protest looked increasingly shaky yesterday, with one fringe group encouraging Muslims to ''continue in their noble work of resisting Western attacks''.

Leaders who formed the unprecedented coalition have been desperate to control the messages being disseminated by the Muslim community since the violent protest, and several were furious at the release of an eight-point statement by a radical group that contradicted their united front.

In the statement, the Islamic political group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, justified the ''praiseworthy'' actions of protesters who clashed with riot police.

Several members, including the group's former spokesman, Wassim Doureihi, were at the rally.

''It is a clear illustration that the major issue with events in Sydney is not the violence, but the anti-Islamic agenda peddled by media and politicians,'' the statement said.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and his colleagues Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison have all criticised Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The group said they were ''the usual crowd of political opportunists who only reveal their hatred of Islam by continually attacking all things Islamic as they appeal to the Islamophobic fringe of their electorates''.

Hizb ut-Tahrir was not invited to the meeting of 25 Muslim groups on Monday night because they were ''not considered to be part of the community … [and] basically say whatever they want,'' said one community source.

A controversial sheikh, Feiz Mohammed, cancelled a seminar on the riots to be held last night. He was due to present a lecture with other members of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah group on ''the recent events that have been taking place where our beloved Prophet has been attacked and mocked … [and] what our responsibilities are regarding this matter''.

One community leader said the event at Bukhari House in Auburn was cancelled because the build-up had become a ''circus'' and had overshadowed the important discussions that would take place.

Sheikh Feiz instead released a statement to say he condemned the violence and had no involvement with the protest. This was confirmed by the head of the coalition of Muslim leaders, Samier Dandan.

Meanwhile, police arrested an eighth person over the riots. A 17-year-old Padstow youth was charged with assaulting two police officers during the riot.

Police will allege he used the timber pole of a banner to hit an AFP officer and a NSW riot squad officer on the head as they defended the US consulate in Martin Place. The officers suffered open head wounds and were treated in hospital.

The story Fringe group angers Muslim alliance first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop