A flyer for a controversial Islamic conference set to be held in Australia next month is stirring outrage over its depiction of several female speakers.
The three women, who are featured on an advertisement for the Australian Islamic Peace Conference, have been replaced by faceless, burka-clad avatars while the faces of their male counterparts remain unaltered.
According to Australia’s Herald Sun, the speakers are Islamic teacher Umm Jamaal ud-Din, psychologist Monique Toohey and social worker Nina Trad Azam.
Organizers were met with outrage from both potential attendees and social media users after the image was posted online.
“It’s backwards and inappropriate,” a person with knowledge of the conference planning told the Daily Mail. “These are knowledgeable and professional women – this reduces them to faceless beings.”
Organizer Wasseem Razvi apologized for the incident but placed the blame on “right-wing extremism” – claiming the images were needed to protect the females from “Islamaphobia.”
“Muslim women are particularly (being) humiliated and targeted in our streets, threatened and abused on social media,’ Razvi said. “Due to the growing Islamophobia our campaign team wanted to be extra cautious with female guests so they wouldn’t be targeted in the streets.”
“So the organisation decided to put their first flyer out without images of the female speakers.”
Razvi made headlines in 2015 after meeting with notorious Muslim Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a vocal supporter of “jihad” in Syria and suicide bombings against Israelis.
Despite Razvi’s claims, prominent Islamic women in Melbourne were reported to have protested to organizers as well.
The Sydney Morning Herald also reports that similar Islamic events in Melbourne have been criticized for supporting “anti-Semitic and sexist views.”