Media Release

ASWJ Statement regarding the proposed Control Order changes to minimum age

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

ASWJIn the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

To the Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, responsible members of our Government and Mothers and Fathers of Australia.

We earnestly appeal to your sense of decency and respect for parents of children, to stop the proposed changes of Control Orders, reducing the minimum age to 14 years. These proposed changes have the potential to affect our children’s human rights and destroy a child’s reputation for a lifetime.

All too often, the Muslim community is scapegoated by criminal acts and all too often Muslims are blamed, called upon and repeatedly expected to unanimously and unequivocally condemn acts of terrorism. Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah has on the record stated that as part of the Australian community, the safety and harmony of our country is of paramount importance to all of us. However, the latest wave of proposed anti-terror laws continue the divisive policies of the former Prime Minister. The proposed changes to the minimum age on Control Orders laws is an over-reach and should be opposed by all Australian parents.

We ask the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to continue working with all Australians, to reach out to Muslims and non-Muslims, uniting the community. These proposed Control Order laws changes are another remnant of the acrimonious rhetoric of the former Prime Ministers and his legacy. These proposed laws should be opposed on a number of counts:

1. As a civilised society do we really want children as young as 14 to be subject to these draconian measures? And if so, do we as Australians consider ourselves any better than those we claim the laws are needed to protect us from?

2. The new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has the opportunity to rise above the politics of singling out Muslim community for cheap political gain.

3. The introduction of these laws are counter-productive and would not have stopped the ‘unknown to authorities’ 15 year old teen schoolboy Farhad Jabar, murdering Curtis Cheng.

4. In the age of heightened mental health awareness, it is immoral and unethical to incarcerate a child of 14, expecting the unnecessary anxieties caused will not reinforce the stigma of exclusion from the community and lead to more severe social issues from childhood.

5. The fundamental premise of “innocence before guilt is proven” and a child’s reputation for the remainder of his/her youthful life is seriously compromised by changing the threshold of evidence required.

6. The notion of guilt until proven innocent is a collective punishment felt by the child, his/her immediate family, friends and Muslim community as a whole.

7. The decline of the threshold of evidence required for this unprecedented incarceration of children, artificially inserts a ‘catch-up’ period for sloppier policing practice.

8. The denied natural justice for Australian children.

9. The laws are just plainly wrong for all, Australians.

We urge Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull to reconsider these proposed laws as they impact upon all our freedoms and threaten to undermine the values underpinning the foundation of our country. The right balance between security, freedom and the rights of a child must be achieved.

Prime Minister, the Muslim community needs your action to support your words.

Sheikh Mohammad J. Omran

Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah Association of Australia

Source: ASWJ Facebook page