Leaders from Canberra’s Muslim community say the Federal Government has kept them in the dark over proposed new anti-terror laws, which they’ve described as “draconian” and “ill-conceived”.
Members of Australian Muslim Voice, Canberra Islamic Centre, Islamic Forum for Australian Muslim ACT, and the Bluestar Intercultural Centre met this week to discuss what they described as a lack of ACT consolation over the laws.
In a joint statement released following the meeting, the group expressed “deep concern” over the proposed legislation.
“We are equally concerned that the level of intelligence gathering may result in damaging civil liberties of innocent citizens,” the statement read.
“These creeping and unjust proposed legislative changes appear to be the type of laws that many migrants escaped from their county of birth on the expectation that Australia has greater respect for its people, human rights and the rule of law.”
The Government is proposing a broadening of the counter-terrorism regime that would include making it an offence to visit certain areas dominated by terrorists, without justification.
It would also compel telephone and internet companies to keep metadata.
‘Dialogue’ needed, Australian Muslim Voice says
Australian Muslim Voice president Diana Abdel-Rahman said the Muslim community was not being heard.
“We as a community understand that there might be small elements that are causing problems, but we can’t use a sledge hammer to crack a little nut,” she said.
“We need to a find a way, a better way and we need do this through consolations, we need to do this through dialogue, we need to do this through face-to-face meetings with those who are in decision making roles.”
Ms Abdel-Rahman said the Canberra Muslim community wanted to be treated equally.
“The community here in Canberra is no different to any other Muslim community in Australia … they are creative and they have ideas and they would like to be able to contribute towards any future building ideas of how we can work in a harmonious and social and happy sort of society in Australia.”Source/Read more: https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24855256/canberra-muslims-say-they-have-not-been-consulted-over-draconian-anti-terror-laws/