Members of Canberra's Hazara community are outraged after a now-cancelled online panel made plans to include senior figures within the Taliban to discuss the role of Muslim Australians in Afghanistan's future.
A virtual discussion organised for Saturday by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has been cancelled following strong criticism from Australia's Muslim community and Immigration Minister Alex Hawke over the inclusion of two figures from the Taliban.
The council's president Dr Rateb Jneid on Thursday released a statement, confirming the panel had been called off.
Dr Jneid said it had been the council's intention to gain assurances from senior Taliban figures that human rights and rights for women would be upheld in the panel.
The online event was first published on Wednesday to heavy backlash by Muslim-Australians, particularly Afghan-Australians and those of the Hazara ethnic minority group.
ACT Hazara community president Hussain Muhammad said he was pleased to see the event was cancelled but remained concerned it could happen again without community vigilance.
"It is the responsibility of all of us to be careful and pay attention to the sensitivity of issues of public concern," he said.
"Our acts should not send mixed messages to issues of national [and] international importance that could jeopardise Australia's national security and interest."
He called on politicians to make inquiries into the connections between the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and local groups in Australia.
Mr Hawke thanked the Islamic and Afghan community on Twitter for their cooperation in cancelling the event.
"I welcome cancellation of this event with Taliban spokespeople," he said.
"There is no circumstance where it's acceptable to Australians."
The immigration minister on Thursday announced a new settlement package for evacuees from Afghanistan, totalling $27.1 million over two years.
The funding includes $8 million for community organisations supporting Afghan-Australians, $6.4 million for those on humanitarian visas to access legal services and $4.8 million for evacuees to identify education and workforce pathways.
An additional $7.9 million will be given to a trauma support program to provide evacuees with mental health services.
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