Australia’s first Islamic faith political party intends to field Senate candidates in all states and territories at next year’s federal election and also contest upper house seats at state level.
The party, to be announced Tuesday, will be known as the Australian Muslim Party, Fairfax Media can reveal.
Founder Diaa Mohamed defended the timing of the announcement days after the Paris terrorist atrocities, insisting there had never been a more critical time for the Muslim community to have a political voice in Australia.
As a devout Muslim, he said he would never condone the killing of innocents as seen on the streets of Paris and Beirut in the past week but said the Australian Muslim Party would also never support military action in a Muslim country in response to terrorism.
Mr Mohamed, a 34 year-old businessman from western Sydney, founded a group called “MyPeace” aimed at improving relations between Muslims and mainstream Australia. He was also behind controversial billboards erected in Sydney in 2011 that claimed “Jesus: a prophet of Islam”.
An unmarried father of a nine year-old son, he formerly worshipped at Lakemba Mosque but now attends the Parramatta Mosque.
He said the establishment of the AMP was in part a reaction to the six anti-Islamic parties intending to stand for election, including the Australian Liberty Alliance, launched recently by controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders, Rise Up and Nick Folkes’ Party for Freedom.
The party has already reached out to political experts for advice on a preference strategy, crucial to the election chances of minor parties.
Mr Mohamed said he had consulted both Imams and Christian bishops and priests on his intentions to form the party, saying non-Muslims were welcome as members.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald