Sunshine Coast Muslim community leader Imam Zainadine Johnson.
Sunshine Coast Muslim community leader Imam Zainadine Johnson. Patrick Woods

Debate fires over Sharia law as Muslim leader introduced

"MEET the new leader of the Sunshine Coast's Muslim community - he surfs, enjoys footy and lives by Sharia law."

This one sentence drew hundreds of angry comments from Sunshine Coast residents when the Daily published a story on the Sunshine Coast's first Imam.

Some said it didn't look like Imam Zainadine Johnson was a surfer, others said the Sunshine Coast didn't need a Muslim leader, but the bulk of the anger was directed at the concept of Sharia law and the idea that anyone in Australia would, or would be allowed to, follow it.

"Sharia has no place in Australia," Rogues Kinnear wrote on the Daily's Facebook page.

Dozens called for Sharia law to be banned, saying it went against Australia - and other countries' - laws, cultures and traditions.

"Can't wear your bathers in a Muslim country but you can ignore our country's law," Lynton Mackenzie wrote.

Cherylynne Bullen thought reporting on the Sunshine Coast's Muslim community's new leader was "utter rubbish".

"He has to obey our Australian laws!!!!" she wrote.


"Our government needs to grow some (balls) and NEVER let SHARIA law in Australia EVER!!"

In response, Shane Bridges said many people commenting on the discussion had a "wacky understanding of how Sharia law works".

"If he can't practice Sharia law then all Christians had better stop following those 10 commandments," he wrote on the Daily's Facebook page.

Jennie Davis said Sharia law, and Canon law, should be banned.

"There should be NO religious laws over any laws in Australia," she wrote.

As the debate raged some called for a calm, measured approach.

"This article makes me sad. The likely reasoning behind this article makes me sad. This comments section makes me sad," he said.

"Don't be mad. Don't be scared. Just educate yourself (logically and objectively) and you might realise life is most likely gonna (sic) be ok (despite religion and prejudice), and if it isn't, that's probably because someone wasn't educated properly.

"Go forth, fellow humans, and live your lives."

Simon Crowden Woooohh said many of the comments on the post appeared to be "hate-fuelled".

"Chill your beans children, be happy," he said.

"We live on the Sunshine Coast because it's beautiful place it is, not because we're white and follow Christian beliefs.

"Don't be frightened friends."

But others were not convinced.

"It won't be beautiful for much longer," Mick T Holt said.

"There are already too many moses (sic) here."