SHAFAQNA – Leaders of Australia Muslim community have said to be furious with PM Tony
Abbott over suggestions he made on Monday that the community does not do enough to stamp out extremism.
The Premier was slammed for inflaming racism and fanning anti-Muslim sentiments across the Australian society.
On Monday Abbott delivered a speech on national security, in which he said: “I’ve often heard western leaders describe Islam as a ‘religion of peace’. I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it.”
The head of the Arab Council of Australia, Randa Kattan, said the comments were “promoting hatred and inflaming racism”.
Kattan warned she had already seen a sharp increase in racism levelled at Muslim Australians since the Martin Place siege in Sydney last year, and that the comments by the prime minister are “dog-whistling to the racists out there”.
“It’s not helpful, it’s divisive. It labels our community as being responsible for the actions of a few,” Kattan she told reporters, adding, “It’s not helpful for anyone to make these statements … How much more can we condemn?”
Zaahir Edries, president of the Muslim Legal Network also reacted to PM Abbott’s comments on Monday, emphasizing, “This clearly shows that the government has not engaged in sincere and genuine communication with the Muslim community. We have incessantly denounced violence and encouraged peace, not simply as a responsive measure but because those are our core religious beliefs,” he said. “Consequently, we are of the view that tonight will not be genuine consultation with our community and we will advise our community of our reasons for non-attendance.”
Faced with a very public backlash, some members of government were keen to distance themselves from PM Abbott’s remarks.
Foreign minister, Julie Bishop told media, “I want to applaud members of our Muslim community here in Australia who are taking a stand against extremism and working with the government, with mosques and community groups to keep our people safe.”