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Hizb ut-Tahrir, represented by spokesman Uthman Badar, has courted controversy and been criticised by Tony Abbott in recent times. AAP/Dean Lewins

Explainer: what is Hizb ut-Tahrir?

Hizb ut-Tahrir is not a political party. It is not active in any Islamic schools, mosques or institutes. It does not have any real influence on Australia's Islamic community.
When Manal Kassem laid her bridal bouquet at the tribute to the Lindt Cafe siege victims in Sydney, onlookers applauded – no-one cast doubt on her sincerity as a Muslim in the way Tony Abbott’s words have done. AAP/Supplied

Playing the Muslim card: Abbott’s loose lips threaten to sink unity

By casting doubt on the sincerity of Islamic leaders when they condemn terrorism and extremism, the prime minister risks alienating Muslims and dividing instead of uniting the Australian community.
Islamic scholarship gave rise to some of the world’s earliest educational institutions such as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. Wikimedia Commons/CPT photo

The trouble with Islam: learning is the traditional and best remedy

There is nothing in Islam that makes it dangerous or threatening to a modern Western way of life. However, those looking to incite violence and hatred are always capable of finding textual references in…
With so much uncertainty in halal labelling it can be hard for Muslim consumers to know they’re getting what they’ve asked for. Todd Lappin

Explainer: what is halal, and how does certification work?

Halal food certification in Australia has become a contentious issue. Recently, a Western Australian cafe received hateful and anti-Islamic messages after its owners tried to explain halal on Facebook…
Stéphane Charbonnier’s Charlie Hebdo offended people of all religions, but when does causing offence become unethical? EPA/Yoan Valat

How do we decide if offending someone is unethical or not?

Causing offence to others often causes hurt. Such actions have been condemned as unethical, even immoral behaviour in a civilised society. There have been many examples. The Bill Henson photographs of…
You can’t touch this? PA

A tale of two bishops

As the first woman bishop prepares for her consecration on January 26, a row has erupted over another high-profile consecration scheduled for the following week. Libby Lane will become bishop of Stockport…
From where does opposition to depictions of Muhammad arise? Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters

Why there’s opposition to images of Muhammad

After the violent attacks on Charlie Hebdo – the French satirical weekly that routinely published caricatures of Muhammad – many are wondering: are depictions of Muhammad actually forbidden in Islamic…
The majority of Muslims have developed a humanitarian image of their prophet over a long period in their local cultures. Darulfatwa Australia/Author

Understanding Muhammad: we need a more informed approach

In any terrorist attack by Muslim extremists perpetrated in the name of Islam – such as the recent Charlie Hebdo atrocity – discussions about the Prophet Muhammad, his life and his teachings come to the…
Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has argued for Australia’s racial discrimination laws to be revisited in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France. AAP/Alan Porritt

Repealing 18C would leave Jews exposed as Muslims already are

Let’s be clear about one thing as the loony right once more revisits with slavering lips their thwarted desire to allow racial vilification to run untrammelled through Australian society. Nothing that…
This candlelit rally in Tunisia was one of the many condemnations from Muslim nations of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo. EPA/Mohamed Messara

All of Islam isn’t intolerant, nor did the West always accept blasphemy

The tradition of freedom of expression on religious matters is not quite so venerable as many seem to imagine in the outcry at the killing of Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists in Paris. While modern…
AAP/Tracey Nearmy

In praise of agnosticism

Getting on for 14 billion years ago the universe suddenly sprang into life. I can’t actually do the math, as they say, but I’m happy to accept the word of those who can that the physics is unambiguously…
Any attack motivated by the pen upon that pen’s purveyor is an attack on free speech.

Charlie Hebdo: the pen must defy the sword, Islamic or not

The slaying of the Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists because of their work is the grossest attack on the value of free speech, and of course the right to life. In the deadly attack on the magazine’s…
Westerners are rallying in support of free speech and the right to question religion but only recently has political Islam encouraged violent intolerance of acts or words deemed blasphemous. EPA/Sebastien Nogier

Islam, blasphemy and free speech: a surprisingly modern conflict

From the fatwa on author Salman Rushdie to the attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the phenomenon of anti-blasphemy actions continues to be prominent in the Muslim world. At first glance…
I should be good. Prayer by Shutterstock

Is religion a force for good?

Do we need religion in order to be moral? George Washington cautioned against “indulg[ing] the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion”, and today more than half of Americans believe…

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