Shaikh Mohammad Tawhidi hits all the right notes as the ideal Australian Muslim media darling: a website full of condemnations of ISIS; a friendly visage at rallies, vigils and in the media; and a smattering of criticism from militant Sunnis. He has expressed opposition to unregulated madrassahs (Islamic schools), and says he "doesn't want burqas running around." He also insists that Muslims in the West should assimilate, saying that had his father known "so many extreme Muslims" would one day be in Australia, he would never have moved there. He says all of these things while wearing a robe and beard, providing a veneer of legitimacy so appealing to Westerners eager to hear these words in a suitably "Islamic" package.
So, is Tawhidi the imam we have been waiting for? The one who sincerely seeks to advocate for critical thinking within the "house of Islam," who will work to abolish sectarianism, promote gender equality, combat anti-Semitism, and bring about the reformation many have discussed – but so few have meaningfully supported?