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'Cultures are not all equal,' writes Australia's former PM Abbott

Australians should stop apologizing for their Western values, Australia's recently-deposed prime minister, Tony Abbott, has written in a newspaper. His opponents accused him of trying to "Trumpify" the nation's politics.

The West should be "ready to proclaim the clear superiority of our culture to one that justifies killing people in the name of God," Abbot said in the opinion piece for the Wednesday edition of Sydney Daily Telegraph, speaking out against extremist factions in the Muslim faith.

"We can't remain in denial about the massive problem within Islam," the former prime minister added.

The religion needs to "delegitimize the urge to 'behead all who insult the Prophet' but only Muslims can do this," according to Abbott.

People should encourage Muslims to "reclaim their faith from the zealots," he added.

'Religious revolution'

In an interview with Sky TV on Wednesday, the center-right politician also said that all "cultures are not equal."

"We've got to work closely with live-and-let-live Muslims because there needs to be - as (Egyptian) President el-Sissi has said - there needs to be a religious revolution inside Islam," Abbott said.

This is Abbott's first public interview since Malcolm Turnbull, a member of Abbott's Liberal party, ousted him in a

coup three months ago.

Struggle with terrorism

Turnbull said that Abbott was entitled to his opinion, but stressed that vast majority of Muslims rejected violent extremism.

"The one thing we need to be very careful not to do, and I'm sure Tony agrees with this, what we must not do is play into the hands of our enemies and seek to tag all Muslims with responsibility for the crimes of a few," he said.

An oppostion Labor MP, Ed Husic, decried Abbott's "effort to Trumpify Australian politics," referring to the controversial US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Australian Human Rights Commission chief Gillian Triggs also warned against blanket assertions about Islam or Australian Muslims.

"Many of those (Muslims) I meet in my job, I know them to be really remarkably peaceable and good family people. So I think we need to work on understanding why that tiny number ... has become so radicalized," she said.

Australia has seen several terror attacks on its soil since late last year, when an Iranian-born self-proclaimed "cleric"

killed two people during a 17- hour siege

in Sydney.

A 15-year-old boy also gunned down an employee at Sydney police headquarters in October.

The security forces foiled at least six more attacks during the last 12 months, authorities say.

dj/msh (AFP, dpa)

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