Australian Federation of Islamic Councils

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Part of a series on
Islam in Australia

Eid Prayer at Lakemba Mosque.jpg


Early history
Afghan cameleers
Battle of Broken Hill
Contemporary society
Halal certification in Australia
Islamophobia in Australia


List of mosques
Baitul Huda Mosque · Lakemba Mosque
Auburn Gallipoli Mosque · Marree Mosque
Central Adelaide Mosque


Islamic organisations in Australia


Afghan • Albanian • Arab • Bangladeshi
Bosnian • Indian • Indonesian • Iranian
Iraqi • Lebanese • Malay • Pakistani •


National Mosque Open Day

Prominent Australian Muslims
Ibrahim Abu Mohamed

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) (also known as Muslims Australia[1]) was founded in 1964 as an umbrella group for various Islamic groups and councils, and is Australia's most important Islamic organisation. The mission of AFIC is to provide service to the community in a manner that is in accordance with the teachings of Islam and within the framework of Australian law, and to advocate for the Muslim community on matters that will affect the community's relevance, settlement and integration within Australian society.

The definition of Muslim according to AFIC member organisation, the Islamic Council of Western Australia, is "any person who conforms to the teachings of the Qur'an and Ahli Sunnah and Jamma' and shall specifically exclude any person or organisation, professing adherence to the Ahmadi, Lahori, Qadiani or Bahai schools of thought or of any similar inclination." [2]

The main role of AFIC is to represent Islam and Muslims of Australia as one "Ummah" to the government and other bodies nationally and internationally. AFIC coordinates and provides resources for activities of its State Islamic Councils and member Islamic societies.

The organisation[edit]

In July 2016, Keysar Trad was elected President of the AFIC following the standing down of the previous president, Hafez Kassem.[3]

The 9 member organisations of AFIC are:


In 2005 Ameer Ali, president of the AFIC, said that governments should, "rid the community of radical elements" and also prevent radical speakers coming to Australia.[5]

In 2011 the AFIC advocated that Australian Muslims be able to marry, divorce and conduct financial transactions under the principles of sharia law,[6] claiming that Australian Muslims should enjoy "legal pluralism".[7]

In 2014 the AFIC has advocated for increased government funding for faith-based schools, as well as funding to establish services such as new halal and kosher food stores, as a means of helping Muslim Australians to settle in new areas.[8]

In August 2016, the President of the AFIC said students in AFIC schools are taught they should not practise sex until they are married — and it should not be with someone of the same sex as this is clearly spelt out in the Koran and the hadith.[9]

Halal certification[edit]

The AFIC is one of Australia's top four[10] halal accreditation certifiers[11] with AFIC having strict rules with regards to Islamic slaughter for animals[12] and for chickens.[13] It is speculated that AFIC earns up to $1 million a year from this halal certification.[14]


In 2015 AFIC controlled six schools. They are: the Malek Fahd Islamic School, NSW; the Islamic College of Melbourne, Vic; the Islamic College of Brisbane, Qld ; the Islamic College of South Australia, SA; the Langford Islamic College, WA and the Islamic School of Canberra, ACT.[15] The schools received $42 million in government funding in 2013, plus $21.5 million for new buildings and other capital works, during the previous four years. Each of the schools has management and accounting-integrity issues.[15]

In March 2016 both the Malek Fahd Islamic School,[16] and the Islamic School of Canberra cut their ties with the AFIC[17] and with other Australian Islamic schools registering new constitutions and declaring independence from the AFIC.[16]


In the late 1980s, AFIC received more than $100,000 in funding per year from Gaddafi's Libyan regime. AFIC's then-leader, Sheikh Taj El-Din Hilaly, had ties to Libya.[18]

In 2003 the AFIC and the Supreme Islamic Council of Halal Meat in Australia were involved in a 'poisonous battle' to control the millions of dollars in halal meat trade rights, granted by the Saudi King.[19]

In 2010 the AFIC received $5.2 million from an Islamic School which is largely government funded.[20] In 2012 the NSW government demanded the repayment of $9 million passed on to the AFIC.[21][22]

In 2012 a government audit discovered a number of irregularities relating to financial transfers between AFIC and its schools in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide. Issues identified included the transfer of large sums of money, the lack of appropriate documentation and rental-payment concerns.[23] AFIC's president Ikebal Patel and assistant-treasurer Ashraf Ali were both stood down.[1]

In 2013 the AFIC vice-president was suspended from his position,[24] and AFIC's bank froze its funds.[25]

In 2014 the founding president of the AFIC identified internal dysfunction and corruption as the cause of a long running feud within the organisation, which he says has disenfranchised Islamic councils around the country.[26]

In May 2015 AFIC schools were described as being in the midst of leadership crisis[27] along with allegations of fraud[28] and that a power struggle had developed within AFIC with competing demands by those advocating conservatism and those advocating liberalism.[29] Dr Jamal Rifi believes AFIC, as Australia’s peak Muslim body, is "not capable of providing the leadership its communities need".[30]

In 2015, the Malek Fahd Islamic School refused to repay the Department of Education. Six schools associated with the AFIC are to be audited, including the Malek Fahd Islamic School the Islamic College of Brisbane, the Islamic College of Melbourne, the Islamic College of South Australia, the Islamic School of Canberra and Langford Islamic College in Western Australia.[31] Claims have also been made relating to financial impropriety, gender discrimination and teachers with fundamentalist principles.[32]

In November 2015 the Malek Fahd Islamic School sought an injunction in the NSW Supreme Court to remove the governance of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.[33][34] In mid November 2015 following a federal government audit, with the department concluding AFIC operates the schools for its own profit. Six AFIC affiliated schools were issued with non-compliance notices.[35] Ultimately this could lead to the schools losing their government funding.[36] and in December 2015 government funding for the Islamic College of South Australia, was frozen.[37]

In December 2015 the AFIC president resigned after being accused of inappropriately using $100,000 of AFIC funds for legal expenses and for "rampantly spending" on unapproved overseas trips. AFIC's treasurer also resigned following this unauthorised spending.[38]

In February 2016 the federal government said it will revoke its $20 million funding to the Malek Fahd Islamic School . It was reported that the "feud" between the school board and the AFIC had escalated to the point where security was required at the school for "fear it could escalate into violence".[39][40]

In February 2016 it was reported that separate inquiries into AFIC's Malek Fahd Islamic School and Islamic College of Brisbane had uncovered serious irregularities.[41][42]

The Islamic School of Canberra will cease operating, following Federal and Territory Governments withdrawing support because the school had not been able to demonstrate that the $1 million in recurrent funding, was only being spent on education.[43][44]

In March 2016 AFIC dropped legal proceedings, which had lasted several years, against former president Ikebal Patel.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Muslim peak body suspends officers". The Australian. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Constitution of The Islamic Council of Western Australia Incorporated, ICWA website, retrieved 21 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Muslim leader stands down amid school brawl". 
  4. ^ About AFIC, AFIC website, retrieved 2007-01-26. Archived September 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Between two worlds
  6. ^ Jacquelyn Hole (17 May 2011). "Muslim group wants sharia law in Australia". ABC. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Patricia Karvelas (17 May 2011). "Muslims to push for sharia". The Australian. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  8. ^ John Masanauskas (17 May 2011). "Call for taxpayers to fund Muslim schools". The Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  9. ^ The Australian (paid subscription)
  10. ^ Johnson, Chris (28 December 2014). "Why halal certification is in turmoil". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "What is halal - a guide for non-Muslims". Islamic Council of Victoria. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "AFIC's rules and condition for slaughtering chicken" (PDF). AFIC. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Masanauskas, John (18 July 2014). "Halal food outrage from anti-Islam critics". Herald Sun. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Shanahan, Leo (25 February 2016). "A very grim report card for Muslim schools management". The Australian. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  16. ^ a b Booth, Meredith (10 March 2016). "Schools cut ties to Federation of Islamic Councils". The Australian. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 
  17. ^ Burgess, Katie (11 March 2016). "Islamic School of Canberra scrambles to find $1.5 million in funding". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "Gaddafi sending $140,000 a year to Australian Muslims". Sydney Morning Herald. 15 December 1987. p. 1. 
  19. ^ "Revealed: the Saudis' paymaster in Australia". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 September 2005. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  20. ^ "Malek Fahd Islamic School 'fees' funding Australian Federation of Islamic Councils". The Australian. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Silma Ihram (13 August 2012). "AFIC, Islamic Schools and ethics". Muslim Village. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  22. ^ "Islamic council linked to cash shift". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  23. ^ Patty, Anna (16 November 2012). "Islamic council linked to cash shift". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Mr Ikebal Patel". Australian Muslims. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  25. ^ "AFIC funds frozen". SBS. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  26. ^ Shanahan, Leo (25 September 2014). "Former chief of Islamic body warns of rise of Islamic fascism". The Australian. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  27. ^ "Islamic schools in midst of leadership crisis with principals sacked, accusations of mismanagement of taxpayer funds". ABC News. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  28. ^ Shanahan, Leo (22 May 2015). "Police probe Islamic College of Brisbane over alleged fraud". The Australian. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  29. ^ Morton, Rick (21 May 2015). "Foreigners driving Muslims apart". The Australian. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  30. ^ Le Grand, Chip (23 May 2015). "Australia an estranged country to many Muslims including Sheik Omran". The Australian. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  31. ^ Hall, Louise (15 October 2015). "Islamic school refuses to repay millions to Department of Education". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  32. ^ Ray, Chris (24 October 2015). "The controversies raging inside our Islamic schools". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  33. ^ Shanahan, Leo (30 October 2015). "Largest Muslim school Malek Fahd locks out chairman". The Australian. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  34. ^ Hall, Louise (3 November 2015). "Malek Fahd Islamic School crisis deepens as legal action launched". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  35. ^ "Islamic councils peak body beset with infighting, claims of financial impropriety". 25 November 2015. 
  36. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (13 November 2015). "Six schools threatened with having their government funding cut". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  37. ^ Ltd, Australian News Channel Pty. "Page Not Found". 
  38. ^ Edwards, Verity (26 December 2015). "Federation of Islamic Councils chief accused of improper spending". The Australian. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  39. ^ Benson, Simon (9 February 2016). "Malek Fahd Islamic school: Government axes all Commonwealth funding". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2016. 
  40. ^ Shanahan, Leo (9 February 2016). "Islamic school Malek Fahd has $15m in funding taken away". The Australian. Retrieved 9 February 2016. 
  41. ^ Safi, Michael (24 February 2016). "Malek Fahd school accused of unexplained payments to Islamic body and staff". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  42. ^ Shanahan, Leo (11 February 2016). "Islamic College of Brisbane 'misused taxpayer funds'". The Australian. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  43. ^ "Canberra Islamic School students being 'punished' by possible closure". ABC News. 1 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  44. ^ Burgess, Katie (1 March 2016). "Parents of Islamic School of Canberra students back administration". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  45. ^ Oriti, Thomas (31 March 2016). "Islamic council federation drops legal case against former president". ABC News. 

External links[edit]