Muslims groups in Australia are protesting against the government's new anti-terror law, saying it may affect Islam and the teaching of the Quran, the holy book.
According to Sydney Morning Herald, Islamic leaders said a Muslim cleric preaching from a certain passage of the Quran, for example, might be caught in the broad net of the new anti-terror law.
The Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, and the Australian National Imams Council have called for the removal of "advocating terrorism" offence from the 'Foreign Fighters Bill', which is currently being considered by parliament.
This comes on a day when Australian PM Tony Abbott backed measures to round up terrorist groups that incite religious hatred, including the radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
A council representing 250 imams has said a cleric could fall foul of the new rule even if he simply "advocated the duty of a Muslim to defend his land".
"We are therefore concerned that the proposal can have serious implications on free speech and will have a chilling effect on legitimate religious and political debate," the council said in a formal submission to the Parliamentary joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
Members of the Muslim Legal Network also appeared before the committee on Wednesday saying the laws – which were introduced by Attorney-General George Brandis – tended to target mainstream Muslims instead of extremist organisations.
Even if a religious community referred back to "stories in the Quran, Bible and Torah in their sermons," they could be charged with a terror-related offence, the Muslim legal Network said, the SMH has noted.