Islamic expert responds to group's views

RELATED: Email reveals black balloon campaign aim

Prominent Islamic expert and professor at the University of Melbourne, Abdullah Saeed, has responded to comments about Islam made by the group behind the black balloons seen in Bendigo.

The group's anonymous email sent to Bendigo media outlets last week made statements which Professor Saeed said were ill-founded.

The group said Sharia law made it acceptable for Muslims to marry off child brides and forbade women to express themselves. 

Professor Saeed, a leader in contemporary Islamic thought, said Sharia law could not be understood as a set of laws similar to those made by a government but were open to interpretation.

The vast majority of Muslims have no issues or problems with Australian law. - Abdullah Saeed

"Just like there are different interpretations of what Christianity is or what Judaism is, and how a Christian or a Jew is expected to live his or her life, there are different interpretations of Islam," Professor Saeed said.

He said Muslims were diverse in their views.

"It is a serious mistake to think that 1500 million Muslims of today think, act and behave exactly in the same way," he said.

The black balloon group also said those of the Muslim faith were prone to "overriding" the "law of the land".

"The vast majority of Muslims have no issues or problems with Australian law. They abide by these laws and do not see any contradiction between being Muslim and being law-abiding citizens of the country," Professor Saeed said.

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