In a fresh development in the government’s ongoing efforts to harass and intimidate Muslim community activists and institutions, ASIO is now approaching mosques and urging them to ban certain speakers from speaking or face the prospect of “closing down”. Several such incidents are known to have occurred, but the latest was reported today in regards to Ustadh Ismail Alwahwah, who writes on his Facebook page:

It was planned that I would give the Friday khutbah at one of Sydney’s mosque on Friday the 16th of October.
On Saturday the 10th, three ASIO officers visited the brother who runs the mosque and threatened that allowing me to give the khutbah could lead to them closing the mosque eventually.
In regards to this:
1. It’s not the first time that they have done this with a masjid which I’m aware of .
2. Whenever you close a platform, other platforms are opened.

3. In the time where authorities ask people to respect the law, they themselves are bending it by doing this.
4. To silence a voice doesn’t mean to silence an idea.

This development comes hot on the heals of similar ones in Britain, where the British government has flagged measures to “root out” so called “radical preachers” from mosques and speaking platforms. The British PM is also set to announce plans to publish a blacklist of radicals and extremist groups subject to banning orders and similar measures.

It seems that the Australian government is – unsurprisingly – following its British counterpart in terms of the latest strategies it pursues. This is only going to proliferate the anger and resentment felt by an already furious and frustrated community.

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