Excerpt:

Clerics, including prominent Sydney imam Khalil Shami, joined other Muslim leaders yesterday in backing the federal Government's plans to recast the overly religious image of Islam by promoting secular and moderate voices. Sheik Shami urged the Government to include clerics when it picks Muslims to give advice about the community. Imams should be consulted, if only to offer the correct religious perspective on issues, he said. "You cannot exclude imams and expect all Muslim voices to be represented on an advisory body." The Howard government Muslim advisory board chairman Ameer Ali welcomed the Rudd Government's vision, revealed in The Australian yesterday, of a broader representation among the Muslim community. A new reference group could potentially go a long way in "demolishing Islamic stereotypes", he said.

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