Tony Abbott has accused the nation's spy chief of tiptoeing around the subject of Islam and terrorism.

The former prime minister says Australia can't pretend there isn't a problem with Islamic extremists and called on moderate Muslim leaders to do more to denounce attacks.

"We keep tiptoeing around this subject," Mr Abbott told 2GB's Ray Hadley on Monday.

"The problem is that nearly all of the terrorist incidents are associated with people shouting out 'Allahu akbar' as they kill."

Mr Abbott was responding to the comments of ASIO chief Duncan Lewis who told a Senate hearing last week had no evidence to suggest any connection between refugees and terrorism.

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