Canberra, June 20 (IANS) An Australian Labour party politician has resigned from running in the upcoming federal election over his alleged links to radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Christian Kunde, running for the seat of Farrer in New South Wales, has stepped down from the election race after a report in News Corp publications linked him to Uthman Badar, the spokesperson for the extremist group, Xinhua news agency reported.
Kunde told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio on Monday that stepping out of the race was the best thing for his party.
“It was my choice to step aside,” he said.
“I think that it’s important that I did that so that the conversation won’t get bogged down in this particular matter.”
Following the news of Kunde’s association with Badar, Labour Senator Penny Wong said Kunde’s resignation was “immediately accepted”, while party leader Bill Shorten was understood to be “furious” with the drama just two weeks ahead of the election slated for July 2.
Despite the links to Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is associated with the goals of implementing sharia law, Kunde denied that he was a member of the organisation, and denied claims he compared homosexuality with incest during a recent university lecture.
“I think that homosexual people should be entitled to all the same opportunities that heterosexual people are,” Kunde said.
Kunde was set to compete with the coalition’s Sussan Ley, who is currently in cabinet as the health minister.