We are being terrorised, say Muslims

Michael Koziol [and] Leila Abdallah

[In Australia] A car has been damaged and daubed with offensive comments, threatening letters have been sent, and women have been abused in the street.

A backlash of hate crimes against the Muslim community in the wake of the police raids last week has also sparked a rash of social media comments such as “This is how they should deal with them”, “Behead them all”, “Give them a taste of their own medicine for a change”, and “We just need to blow up Parramatta n Bankstown”.

“It is not OK to go Muslim-bashing.” ? Joseph Wakim

One of the founders of the Australian Arabic Council and human rights activist Joseph Wakim said: “Everyone should remember that no faith tells you to harm innocent people. It is not open season on Muslims. It is not OK to go Muslim-bashing.

“Ironically, the raids were about stopping people feared to be terrorists, yet it is the Muslim people who are being terrorised.”

Mr Wakim, a former Victorian Multicultural Affairs Commissioner, has reminded Australians to learn from history and not to make the same mistakes, in particular by treating one group as “collectively guilty”.

Anti-Muslim sentiment has been felt around the country, with people reporting graffiti on mosques and attacks on homes. Threatening letters have been sent to businesses, bookshops and religious leaders.

The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) has expressed anger that one of its most senior members, an assistant to the Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, was pulled up at Sydney airport on Thursday [18 September] on the way to the Haj, a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

The imam, who met Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis recently, was stopped at the boarding gate, stripped of his mobile phone and iPad, and kept in a room for two hours without explanation, the general manager of ANIC, Samir Bennegadi, said.

Mr Bennegadi said the imam was treated in an unprofessional manner and he wondered that if this could happen to one of the most senior imams in Australia, what could happen to the rest of the Muslim population, “especially during this time, the Haj, we have hundreds of people leaving Australia every day?”

Rebecca Kay, the secretary of Salamcare, a community services group, said the community also feared being the targets of a raid.

“I know some women who have slept in their headscarves just in case,” she said.

Ms Kay is collating reports of hate crimes including harassment, abuse or being targeted, and will be presenting the information to the Human Rights Commission.

“We had some Aussie ladies standing making gun movements with their fingers towards some Muslim ladies,” she said.

From: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/we-are-the-ones-be...