Muslim leaders question evidence behind counter-terrorism raids

5752996-3x2-700x467By Stephanie Smail,

Muslim leaders say questions are mounting about what evidence police had to justify yesterday’s massive anti-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane.

Australia’s largest Muslim organisations have issued joint response to yesterday’s raids, urging calm.

It followed a rally in the Sydney suburb of Lakemba, in response to what has been described as police brutality during the operation.

Lebanese Muslim Association head Samier Dandan said leaders are trying to maintain calm and wait for the facts to surface.

“Once those facts are made available that’s when the community can be in a much better position to decide whether this is something that had to be done in order to protect the safety of all Australians,” Mr Dandan said.

“Or what I fear and I’m very much concerned about even on that notion, if this was basically a move based on chatter. Because if that is the case then it feeds into some stories that are currently surfacing that this is purely, was a PR exercise.”

Mr Dandan said the lack of public information about the police investigation is generating community concern.

“Out of the 15 arrests for what I have been informed as of last night only one has been charged and we still don’t understand what those charges are,” he said.

“So after all of these search warrants and 15 arrests, how many of those are still in custody I have no idea.

“The only information that we have is one person has been charged. So if there was such a critical surveillance taking place surely then there should have been more that should have been charged.”

He said there is some resentment in the Muslim community over the lack of information from police.

“There is resentment and in fact yesterday there was a protest in front of Lakemba station at seven o’clock by a few Muslim groups which basically highlighted that resentment,” Mr Dandan said.

“We as leaders – we are trying to remain calm, we’re trying to wait until the information becomes more available where we have facts that we can deliberate on and at this point in time we don’t, so we’re not going to get caught up in any frenzy.”

AUDIO: Listen to Stephanie Smail’s report (PM)