Visa delay for Festival keynote speaker threatens freedom of speech

6th Jun 2018

The Festival keynote speaker Muhammad Manwar Ali is waiting on the Department of Home Affairs to grant him an ‘entertainment’ visa to enter Australia for the event which is being held in Tasmania this weekend.

Muhammad Manwar Ali is a British scholar, teacher and peace activist. As a former jihadist, he now promotes peace, addressing issues around preventing Islamic radicalisation as Founding CEO of the UK Muslim educational charity JIMAS.

“Protecting the basic right to free speech is essential to maintaining the kind of country we all want to live in,” said Mr Fabiano Cangelosi, Tasmanian state president, Australian Lawyers Alliance.

“Strong and robust human rights protections mean we can say what is on our mind without fear, and we can be confident that we can go about our lives without being unjustly detained or having our movement restricted.

“Expecting freedoms such as these in Australia should not be much to ask. Australia has traditionally been a global leader in human rights. This Government has asserted the importance of traditional freedoms such as freedom of speech. Unfortunately, we are increasingly seeing laws passed that compromise these fundamental rights.”