AUSTRALIAN MUSLIM COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO THE PARRAMATTA SHOOTING INCIDENT
His Eminence, the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, the Australian National Imams Council and community leaders were extremely shocked by the tragic incident that took place on Friday 02/10/2015 in front of the Parramatta police station.
We would like to convey our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. We reiterate that the sanctity of human life is guaranteed in Islam.
The motive for the young man’s actions is yet to be determined and any speculation at this stage is just that, unfounded speculation. As such, any comments made in this statement are in relation to the issue of violent extremism in general and not about the specific case in question.
Any discourse that attempts to apportion blame by association or sensationalises violence to stigmatise a certain segment of society only serves to undermine community harmony and safety. In this regard, it is of great concern that there has been a significant increase in messages of hate and threats of violence towards Australians of Muslim faith following the shooting incident.
Credit goes to those voices that have called for calm and responsibility. We call upon all people of goodwill to stand against fear mongering and injustice.
The issue of violent extremism is a rare but serious problem facing the entire community. Sadly, a very, very small number of Australians of Muslim faith have chosen this path. There are no simple answers to the problem since the drivers and motivators are multifactorial and include personal motive, individual history, psychological state, mental wellbeing, social situation, family context, personal relations, social identity, and ideological attachment. All of these factors in association with misguided and deviant so-called religious teachings become a dangerous recipe with disastrous consequences.
As such, all stakeholders share collective responsibility – politicians, the media, law and security enforcement, religious educators and community leaders.
We acknowledge that religious educators within our community have a significant role to play. Since September 11 we have increased our efforts and dedicated more resources to educating community members about their faith and the challenges of violent extremism. But just as the police cannot assess all risks all the time, we too cannot guarantee that every Australian of Muslim faith will be educated with the correct and true teachings of Islam. We do however; want to reassure the wider community that every effort is being made to deal with the challenges of our current times. The importance of education in the life of our youth is critical to their success in all areas of life.