• File image of The Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed. (SBS)
The prime minister says comments attributed to the Grand Mufti of Australia about radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir are "wrong-headed".
15 Feb 2015 - 12:45 PM  UPDATED 15 Feb 2015 - 1:34 PM

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has criticised the Grand Mufti of Australia for speaking against a possible ban on the controversial Muslim organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The prime minister says comments attributed to Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed were "wrong-headed" and unhelpful.

Dr Ibrahim, the spiritual leader of Muslims in Australia, last week said it would be a "political mistake" to ban the group.

"Hizb ut-Tahrir is not against freedom of speech, he, they are actually pro-freedom of speech and they are actually practising this policy those who are against freedom of speech are the ones who are thinking to ban HBT from expressing their thoughts," Dr Ibrahim said, according to the Seven Network.

On Sunday, Mr Abbott said more Muslim leaders must speak out against the rise in Islamic extremism and the growing threat from terrorism.

"He himself is not an Islamist," Mr Abbott said of the Grand Mufti.

"More and more people are speaking out but certainly those comments attributed to the Mufti don't seem either right or helpful," he said.

The government is seeking advice from security agencies on options for taking action against Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in other countries including Britain and the prime minister has flagged a crackdown.

"If cracking down on Hizb ut-Tahrir and others who nurture extremism in our suburbs means further legislation, we will bring it on and I will demand that the Labor party call it for Australia," Mr Abbott said in an address to the National Press Club earlier this month.

Dr Ibrahim suggested moves against Hizb ut-Tahrir appeared to be motivated by a want for distraction from other political issues.

"It's not right on the politicians' side to shift, to create an atmosphere of controversy when they are facing issues within their own party or the government," Dr Ibrahim said last week.

"This is the reason we think is behind it, it's a politician in trouble, wants to switch the light this way," he said.