This joint Muslim community statement expresses our position with respect to the Abbott Government’s ongoing demonisation of Muslims in Australia, their organisations, their leaders and their values.

We, the undersigned Sheikhs, advocates, community leaders, community organisations and student bodies of the Muslim community – make the following points in this regard:

1) We reject the Abbott Government’s predictable use of Muslim affairs and the ‘terror threat’ to attempt to stabilise a fragile leadership and advance its own political agendas.

2) We deplore and denounce the continued public TARGETING of Muslims through abominable ‘anti-terror’ laws. The laws passed in late 2014 have been used to justify opportunistic raids on Muslim homes, have created media and community hysteria where in the majority of cases no crime was committed, and have created distressing and harmful backlash towards Muslims, especially women and children.

3) We unequivocally reject Prime Minister Abbott’s and his party members’ use of language that portrays Muslims and the Muslim community as a SECURITY threat. This narrative threatens social cohesion as it invites suspicion and ill feeling from members of the broader community. The presence of Muslims in Australia as productive contributors to society is not the exception; it is rather the rule.

4) We deplore the undefined and politically expedient use of the words ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’ to criminalise legitimate political discourse and critique of the Government’s policies by members of the Muslim community.

5) We strongly oppose Prime Minster Abbott’s politically convenient threats to ‘tackle’ and ‘crack down’ on Islamic groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir who disavow and have never supported terrorist acts, and whose only ‘crime’ has been to criticise the Abbott Government’s stance towards Muslims domestically and abroad, as they are well within their rights to do. We also oppose the bullying of Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Abu Muhammad by Mr Abbott for his criticism of Mr Abbott’s attempts to silence individuals’ and organisations’ legitimate criticisms of his policies.

6) We affirm our commitment to robust political and ideological debate and discourse for the betterment of humanity at large. The Abbott Government’s attempts to undermine this brings into question his Government’s commitment to its very own purported values and liberal freedoms.

7) We affirm our concern about peace and security for all. We refuse, however to be lectured on peace-building and harmony by a Government that plays divisive politics, uses fear to elicit uncertainty in the general public, undertakes the oppression of asylum seekers and incarceration of children in detention centres, treats its indigenous population tokenistically, and pledges its explicit support to dictators such as Egypt’s El-Sisi, who continues to brutalise legitimate political opposition to his tyranny.

8) We call on all fair minded Australians, including politicians, journalists, academics, bloggers and others concerned about Australia’s social justice, to CONTINUE to scrutinise the Abbott Government’s scare tactics, fear-mongering and political machinations. They do not bode well for societal harmony and only increase the alienation felt and experienced by Australia’s Muslim community.

It is time the Abbott Government stops diverting the attention of the Australian public away from its disastrous domestic and foreign policies by playing the ‘Muslim’ and ‘national security’ card.

Name of organisations and individuals supporting the statement is listed at Islam in Australia website:

http://goo.gl/KxzpCX

For further details contact: hanandover@gmail.com