Who’s he hiding from?

And what’s he afraid of? This is all the story there is.

An imam forced into hiding after saying Muslim schools should close and for supporting a controversial anti-Islam speaker now is calling for Australia to appoint a female mufti to give women a voice.

Adelaide-based Sheik Mohammad Tawhidi, who is in hiding in a remote location, said he supported the views of former Dutch politician Aayan Hirsi Ali, who on Thursday night told The Bolt Report that Muslim women were too afraid of retribution to speak against sharia law. She also described a group of Muslim women who protested against her visit to Australia, before it was cancelled early this week, of being “fake feminists” carrying the flag for Islamists.

Sheik Tawhidi said there were no women on the National Imams Council and they did not have a voice. “If Australian Muslims want to prove they’re responsive to women, we need to change,” he said. “There’s not one woman on the grand council who’s given a voice. We need a female mufti in Australia.”

He said although other Islamic countries were changing, Australia was not, and the religion needed to reform to respond to the changing roles of women.

“There’s no elevation of women in Islam … of course women are downtrodden, this is something nobody can deny.”

The council did not return calls seeking comment on the issue.

Sheik Tawhidi said he had received hundreds of calls from Muslim women at his Islamic Association of South Australia office, alleging spousal abuse.

“Women are too afraid to speak out. I’ve had over 500 calls to my office since January 2016, saying their husbands beat them,” he said.

“When I speak like this they’ll kill me because I’m saying it from the inside. The cultural dimensions of the Muslim community don’t allow women to stand out.”

Born in Iran, Sheik Tawhidi describes himself as a Shia Muslim “creationist, educator, speaker, preacher, thinker, researcher and author”. He is the imam at the Islamic Association of South Australia, but told The Weekend Australian he did not preach at a mosque and instead operated from venues, university theatres, ministries and offices.

Sheik Tawhidi said he had hired lecture theatres at the University of South Australia and lectured at the University of Tehran, the Simon Fraser University in Canada, and Carleton University in Ottawa, although the international universities could not be confirmed. He says he started his studies in Perth before undertaking studies at the Islamic Seminary in Qum, Iran, before returning to Australia in 2015.

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