This statement articulates our position with respect to the counter-terrorism proposals announced by the Abbott Government earlier this month. These proposals are unjust and unjustified.
We – the undersigned imams, activists, leaders, community organisations and student bodies of the Muslim community – denounce these proposals and the broader ‘war on terror’ regime within which they fit.
We highlight the following:
- These laws clearly target Muslims and they do so unjustly. Whilst the language of the law is neutral, it is no secret that in practice these laws specifically target Muslims. Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s commentary in selling these laws also makes this clear.
- The primary basis of these laws is a trumped up ‘threat’ from ‘radicalised’ Muslims returning from Iraq or Syria. There is no solid evidence to substantiate this threat. Rather, racist caricatures of Muslims as backwards, prone to violence and inherently problematic are being exploited. It is instructive that similar issues about Australian troops travelling abroad to fight or Jews travelling to train or fight with the Israeli Defence Force are simply never raised.
- These proposals come in the same style as those which have preceded since the Howard era. An alleged threat is blown out of all proportion as the pretext, further ‘tightening’ of the laws is claimed necessary and rushed through, without proper national debate or community consultation. The reality of the alleged threat is also exposed by the lack of correspondence between the official ‘terror threat’ level, which has remained the same since 2001, and the hysterical rhetoric from government ministers.
- The Muslim community is being asked to sign off on laws and policies that have already been decided. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is merely seeking approval under the cover of consultation. He seeks that the Muslim community be on board because the policy entails the community policing itself. We refuse to provide such a rubber stamp on what is an unjust and hypocritical policy. We also reject government attempts to divide the Muslim community into ‘radicals’ and ‘moderates’ and to use the community for its agenda.
- As Muslims, we are as concerned about peace and security for all as anyone else. At the same time, we are not naïve. We are not fooled by those who speak against violence and terrorism but are its proponents at an institutional level through military and foreign policies. We are not fooled by those who speak of peace but maintain cordial ties with dictatorial regimes abroad and who support and justify the most heinous of violence inflicted on innocent people as seen recently in Gaza.
It is evident that the ‘war on terror’ has been a failure.
After thirteen long years, everyone can see that the world is not a safer place. Rather, violence and instability is noticeably more prevalent. The approach of continuously ramping up laws, lowering legal standards, spending more on defence and intelligence agencies is not working. Over $30 billion has been spent in Australia on this war yet the threat is ‘as high as it has ever been’ according to the Prime Minister.
It is time for the wider community to take stock and properly debate these matters, instead of continually being misled by the politicians and their fearmongering. If matters continue as they are, we all stand to lose.
20 August 2014
Sheikh Abu Adnan
Sheikh Abu Ayman
Sheikh Abu Bakr Zaoud
Sheikh Adam Konda
Sheikh Eljam Bardi
Sheikh Haisam Farache
Sheikh Hassan el-Setohy
Sheikh Jamil el-Biza
Sheikh Laraibi Nouredine
Sheikh Mustafa Sarakibi
Sheikh Nazeer ul-Hassan Thanvi
Sheikh Omar el-Banna
Sheikh Rajab Idrizi
Sheikh Rian Wiramihardja
Sheikh Zuhair Issa
A Monirul Islam, JP
Abdullah Kunde – Community Activist
Abdurrahman Crossingham J.P.
Almir Colan – Australian Centre for Islamic Finance [AusCif]
Al-Furqan Islamic Information Centre
AMU Alumni of Australia Inc.
Assalam Initiative – Indonesian community organisation
Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah Auburn [ASWJ Auburn]
Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah South East [ASWJ SE]
African Diversity Association of Queensland – East African Muslim Community
Australian Muslim Women’s Association [AMWA]
Australians for Syria Association [ASA]
Baytal Hikmah Islamic Center, Melbourne
Cambridge International College Islamic Society [CICIS]
Canberra Islamic Center
Cumberland University Muslim Students Association [CMS]
Dr. Tamer Kahil
Dr. Yassir Morsi – Researcher
Fatihu Niam Soleh – Registered Nurse and Community Activist
Feroz Sattar – Community Activist
Hanan Dover – Forensic Psychologist, PhD Candidate, UWS
Hajr Toefy – Teacher and former School Deputy Principal
Hiraa Muslim Sisters of Canberra
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia
Hume Islamic Youth Centre [HIYC]
Imam Al-Taqwa mosque, Canberra
Imam Shameem, Surry Hills Mosque
Indonesian Islamic Association Inc. Sydney
Iqra Islamic Centre, Brisbane
IslaminAustralia.Com Web Portal
Islam in Focus Australia, Queensland
Islamic Awareness Forum of UNSW [IAFUNSW]
Islamic Council of Western Australia
Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia [IISNA]
Islamic Information and Support Centre of Australia [IISCA]
Islamic Society of Belconnen [ISB]
Islamic Society of Deakin University [ISDU]
Islamic Society of Victoria University [ISVU]
Global Islamic Youth Centre [GIYC]
Keluarga Jawa Timur – East Java Community
La Trobe Islamic Society
Macquarie University Muslim Students Association [MUMSA]
Markaz Imam Ahmad, Liverpool [MIA]
Masjid al-Azhar, Belmore
Mohamad Tabbaa – Terrorism researcher, University of Melbourne
Monash University Islamic Society
Muslim Debate Initiative Australia [MDI]
Muslim Legal Network (WA)
Muslim Students Association of New South Wales [MSANSW]
Muslim Women Association [MWA]
Nakhlah Childbirth Organisation for Muslim Women
Raudhatul ‘Ilmi Initiative – Indonesian community organisation
Raudhatul Ilmi Women’s Initiative – Indonesian women’s organisation
Raisah Douglas – Somali Organisation for Development Aid [SODA]
Rashid Alshakshir – Community Activist & filmmaker
Rebecca Kay – Community Activist
Regents Park Musallah
RMIT University Islamic Society
Silma Ihram – Community Activist
Sisters’ House Services, Brisbane
Stories in the Park
Swinburne University Islamic Society
Sydney University Muslim Students Association [SUMSA]
University of Melbourne Islamic Society
University of Western Sydney Muslim Students Association [UWSMSA Bankstown]
University of Western Sydney Muslim Students Association [UWSMSA Campbelltown]
University of Western Sydney Muslim Students Association [UWSMSA Parramatta]
University of Technology Sydney Muslim Students [UTSMS]
Ustadha Umm Jamal
Western Australia Muslim Lawyers Association
Note: We encourage all community organisations and activists to share and spread this statement. If your organisation would like to add their name to this statement please contact Rebecca Kay – rebeccakay[dot]bankstown[@]yahoo.com.au.