Joint Statement: Muslim Community Rejects Abbott Government’s Demonisation and Condemns Moves to Silence Legitimate Critique
This joint Muslim community statement expresses our position with respect to the Abbott Government’s ongoing demonisation of Muslims in Australia, their organisations, their leaders and their values. We – the undersigned Sheikhs, advocates, community leaders, community organisations and student bodies of the Muslim community – make the following points in this regard:
1) We reject the Abbott Government’s predictable use of Muslim affairs and the ‘terror threat’ to attempt to stabilise a fragile leadership and advance its own political agendas.
2) We deplore and denounce the continued public targeting of Muslims through abominable ‘anti-terror’ laws. The laws passed in late 2014 have been used to justify opportunistic raids on Muslim homes, have created media and community hysteria where in the majority of cases no crime was committed, and have created distressing and harmful backlash towards Muslims, especially women and children.
3) We unequivocally reject Prime Minister Abbott’s and his party members’ use of language that portrays Muslims and the Muslim community as a security threat. This narrative threatens social cohesion as it invites suspicion and ill feeling from members of the broader community. The presence of Muslims in Australia as productive contributors to society is not the exception; it is rather the rule.
4) We deplore the undefined and politically expedient use of the words ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’ to criminalise legitimate political discourse and critique of the Government’s policies by members of the Muslim community.
5) We strongly oppose Prime Minster Abbott’s politically convenient threats to ‘tackle’ and ‘crack down’ on Islamic groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir who disavow and have never supported terrorist acts, and whose only ‘crime’ has been to criticise the Abbott Government’s stance towards Muslims domestically and abroad, as they are well within their rights to do. We also oppose the bullying of Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Abu Muhammad by Mr Abbott for his criticism of Mr Abbott’s attempts to silence individuals’ and organisations’ legitimate criticisms of his policies.
6) We affirm our commitment to robust political and ideological debate and discourse for the betterment of humanity at large. The Abbott Government’s attempts to undermine this brings into question his Government’s commitment to its very own purported values and liberal freedoms.
7) We affirm our concern about peace and security for all. We refuse, however to be lectured on peace-building and harmony by a Government that plays divisive politics, uses fear to elicit uncertainty in the general public, undertakes the oppression of asylum seekers and incarceration of children in detention centres, treats its indigenous population tokenistically, and pledges its explicit support to dictators such as Egypt’s El-Sisi, who continues to brutalise legitimate political opposition to his tyranny.
8) We call on all fair minded Australians, including politicians, journalists, academics, bloggers and others concerned about Australia’s social justice, to continue to scrutinise the Abbott Government’s scare tactics, fear-mongering and political machinations. They do not bode well for societal harmony and only increase the alienation felt and experienced by Australia’s Muslim community. It is time the Abbott Government stopped diverting the attention of the Australian public away from its disastrous domestic and foreign policies by playing the ‘Muslim’ and ‘national security’ card.
19 February 2015
Organisations, Mosques and Community Initiatives
Ahlul Sunnah wal Jamah Association New South Wales Ahlul Sunnah wal Jamah Association Victoria Al Noor Islamic Association [Masijd Nur] [Sydney, NSW] Australian Muslim Advocates for the Rights of All Humanity [Brisbane, Queensland] Ansar Sisters [Youth Group] Assalam Initiative [Indonesian community organisation] Auburn Islamic Center / Arcade Mosque [Sydney, NSW] Australian Islamic Mission – Punchbowl Mosque [Sydney, NSW] Australasian Muslim Times (Muslim community newspaper) Australian Muslim Faces Portal Australian Muslim Voice Azhar Mosque [Belmore, Sydney] Baytal Hikmah Islamic Center [Melbourne, Victoria] Cumberland University Muslim Students Association [CMS] [NSW] DawahMatrix [Queensland] Fajar Islam – Indonesian Community organisation [Sydney] Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth (FAMSY) Queensland Fitzroy Mosque [Melbourne, Victoria] Forum on Australia’s Islamic Relations [FAIR] Forum Pengajin Jum’at – Indonesian Community organisation [Sydney] Global Islamic Youth Centre [GIYC] [Sydney, NSW] Gold Coast Mosque [Queensland] Hiraa Muslim Sisters of Canberra [Muslim Women’s Association] Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia Indonesian Islamic Association Inc. Sydney Islam in Focus Australia [Queensland] Islamic Awareness Forum of UNSW [IAFUNSW] [NSW] Islamic Council of Western Australia Islamic Da’wah Central Australia (IDCA) [Community organisation; NSW] Islamic Foundation for Education & Welfare [IFEW] [NSW] Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia [IISNA] [Victoria] Islamic Society of Belconnen [ISB] [Australian Capital Territory] Islamic Society of Deakin University [Victoria] Islamic Society of Gold Coast [Queensland] Islamic Society of Victoria University [Victoria] Islamicate [Educational institution] IslaminAustralia.Com Web Portal Keluarga Jawa Timur – East Java Community [Sydney] La Trobe University Islamic Society [Victoria] Macquarie University Muslim Students Association [MUMSA] [NSW] Monash University Islamic Society [Victoria] Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair Consortium (MEFF Consortium) [NSW] Muslim Debate Initiative Australia [MDI] Muslims in Medicine [University of New South Wales] [NSW] Muslim Legal Network Western Australia Muslim Students Association of Victoria [peak body] Muslim Women Welfare and Advocacy Association of Western Australia Noble Park Mosque [Bosnian community] [Victoria] Preston Mosque [Victoria] Raudhatul ‘Ilmi – Indonesian community organisation [Sydney] Regents Park Mosque [Sydney, NSW] RMIT University Islamic Society [Victoria] Salam Care [Muslim NGO] Sefton Mosque [Sydney, NSW] Seena Incorporated (Publishers of Australasian Muslim Times) Shepparton Mosque [Melbourne, Victoria] Sharjah Islamic Association [Queensland] Sisters’ House Services Inc Qld [Queensland] Slacks Creek Mosque [Queensland] Somali Organisation for Development Aid [SODA] Stories in the Park Initiative [Sydney] Swinburne University Islamic Society [Victoria] Sydney University Muslim Students Association [SUMSA] [NSW] Taqwah Mosque, Canberra [Australian Capital Territory] The Islam Project University of Melbourne Islamic Society [Victoria] University of Technology Sydney Muslim Students [UTSMS] [NSW] University of Western Sydney Muslim Students Association [UWSMSA Bankstown] [NSW] University of Western Sydney Muslim Students Association [UWSMSA Campbelltown] [NSW] University of Western Sydney Muslim Students Association [UWSMSA Parramatta] [NSW] Werribee Mosque [Melbourne, Victoria] Western Australia Muslim Lawyers Association
Prominent personalities [Scholars, activists, commentators]
Aamer Rahman [Social Commentator and Comedian, Victoria] Abdurrahman Crossingham J.P. [Community Activist, NSW] Almir Colan – Australian Centre for Islamic Finance [AusCif] Ataman Atlas [Barrister/Solicitor] Baha Yehia [Community Activist, Victoria] Dr Rateb Jneid [President, Islamic Council of Western Australia] Dr. Tamer Kahil [Community Activist] Dr. Daud AbdulFattah Batchelor [Co-founder of the Islamic College of Brisbane] Mohamad Tabbaa [Terrorism researcher, University of Melbourne] Mohammed Hoblos [Speaker and Lecturer, NSW] Rashid Alshakshir [Community Activist & filmmaker, Melbourne] Rebecca Kay [Community Activist, Sydney] Sheikh Akram Buksh [Slacks Creek Mosque, Queensland] Sheikh Imraan Hussain [Gold Coast Mosque] Sheikh Khalil Hamed [Victoria] Sheikh Faiz Mohammad (Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association) [NSW] Sheikh Abdel Aziem Afifi [President, Australian National Imams Council] Sheikh Abdullah Hawari [Bilal bin Rabah Newport Mosque] [Victoria] Sheikh Abu Adnan [Markaz Imam Ahmed] Sheikh Abu Bakr Zaoud [GIYC Liverpool, Sydney, NSW] Sheikh Eljam Bardi [Shepparton Mosque] [Victoria] Sheikh Feizel Chothia [Chairman, Bayt Al Nur Association] [Western Australia] Sheikh Hassan el-Setohy Sheikh Ibrahim Omerdich [Noble Park Bosnian Mosque] [Victoria] Sheikh Issa Abdo Musse [Virgin Mary Mosque, Vice President of Board of Imams Victoria] Sheikh Jamil el-Biza [Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jamah Association] Sheikh Khalid Issa [Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jamah Association] Sheikh Khoder Soueid [Victoria] Sheikh Mohamadu Nawas Saleem [Werribee Mosque, Treasurer of Board of Imams Victoria] Sheikh Mohamed Mahdi Fitzroy Mosque] [Victoria] Sheikh Muhamed Djidic [Deer Park Bosnian Mosque] [Victoria] Sheikh Nazeer ul-Hassan Thanvi [Sydney] Sheikh Nouredine Laraibi [Taqwa Mosque, Canberra] Sheikh Omar el-Banna [Al Noor Islamic Association] Sheikh Rajab Idrizi [Former head of Board of Imams, Victoria] Sheikh Rami Sharouni Sheikh Rian Wiramihardja Sheikh Zuhair Issa [Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jamah Association] Souha Alemmadine [Community Activist and Events/Projects Co-ordinator] Tarek Chamkhi [Researcher and Community Activist, Perth] Ustadh Muhammad Al Bizry [Teacher, activist] Ustadha Umm Jamal [Teacher] Will Scates Frances [Writer] Ziaul Islam Ahmad (Editor of Australasian Muslim Times) Zulfikar Sharrif [Academic and activist] [Melbourne]