TWO prominent Australian Muslim leaders have clashed live on air during a fiery debate about extremism and Islam.

Appearing on Sunrise this morning, Dr Jamal Rifi and Imam Shaikh Mohammad Tawhidi condemned the terror attacks in Manchester which has claimed 22 lives.

Both leaders agreed the devastating act didn't represent Islam, however this is where any common agreement ended.

Imam Tawhidi said the reality was young people were getting radicalised, even in Australia, "because of the Islamic scriptures that we have."

"They push the Muslim youth to believe that if you go out there and you kill the infidel that's how you will gain paradise," the Imam said.

When Kochie asked if Australia is being infested by radical clerics the Imam replied it wasn't just clerics, but followers as well.

Using an example of an ISIS poster available for a few dollars in shops across Melbourne, the Imam said not enough was being done to stop extremist behaviour.

He said stores openly selling these items were creating a jihadi atmosphere for youths.

But it was when Kochie asked if Muslim leaders were being vocal enough in condemning such attacks and behaviour that Dr Rifi got fired up.

Dr Rifi, a Lebanese Muslim GP and prominent community leader, insisted Australia was a peaceful country and he had no idea where the Imam was getting his information from.

"First of all these scriptures existed for thousands of years, they didn't incite violence or terror acts," he said.

"It is an ideology of the so called Islamic State and Daesh and they are actually targeting young people who are impressionable."

Dr Rifi also said the Muslim community had spoken out against the Manchester terror attack and the Prime Minster had also spoken for all Australians in doing so.

"But we are Australian, our Prime Minister has expressed the feeling of the nation and that's good Australian Muslims," he said.

"The Grand Mufti condemned it, we have shouted from the rooftops our condemnation of this act. What more can we do?"

But Iman Tawhidi shook his head and launched into the reasons why he disagreed.

"We have a situation where a month doesn't go by without a terrorist attack happening somewhere around the world," he said.

"For 1400 years we have had a religion of war, that's exactly what we have had. This is not something I'm imagining," he said.

He added Islam had spread from the Middle East to other parts of the world through war.

"The Islamic scriptures are exactly the thing that's pushing these people to behead the infidel," he said.

But Dr Rifi was having none of it.

"There is nothing in Islam that justifies killing innocent people," he said.

Imam Tawhidi accused Dr Rifi of lying to the Australian people.

"Our books teach the beheading of people," he said adding the Manchester bomber would have believed he was going to heaven for what he did.

Dr Rifi insisted the Manchester suicide bomber was going straight to hell because he has killed innocent people.

"Nothing in our religion supports killing innocent people, full stop," he said.

This wouldn't be the first time the South Australian Imam has caused waves within the Muslim community.

Last month, Iman Tawhidi backed controversial Muslim critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali's demand that Islamic schools should be closed for security reasons.

He told 7 News: "These schools do exist, they are a problem and they need to be either shut down or changed completely."

Imam Tawhidi has also spoken out about ISIS in the past and says he has been called a "fake Muslim" by the community when he speaks about Islamic radicalisation in Australia.

News Corp Australia


Stockland Rocky's expansion plans for big department store

premium_icon Stockland Rocky's expansion plans for big department store

It follows the approval of a $45m entertainment precinct proposal

Residents fear for CQ town's future after bank closures

premium_icon Residents fear for CQ town's future after bank closures

Banks leaving town and a damaged road make for tough times

96yo surrenders licence after freak crash pins mum

premium_icon 96yo surrenders licence after freak crash pins mum

Crash leads to elderly driver facing a magistrate

Local Partners