While Muslim leaders and other community members have always voiced their condemnation of terrorist acts of violence against innocent people, these statements almost never get the attention of the media.
Our former Prime Minister Mr Tony Abbott exhorted the Muslim leadership to condemn terrorism and put an extra demand that they should “mean what they said”.
In compliance with these pressures, Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed has been pro-actively and promptly issuing statements as soon as any acts of terrorism takes place either within Australia or overseas.
After the Paris attacks, the Mufti on 15 November promptly issued a statement and condemned and mourned the loss of life on such a huge scale.
Rather than just parroting with condemnation, an intelligent man and a thinker that he is, he went further and stated “These recent incidents highlight the fact that current strategies to deal with the threat of terrorism are not working. It is therefore imperative that all causative factors such as racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitisation, duplicitous foreign policies and military intervention must be comprehensively addressed.”
He also tried to minimize the backlash against the Muslim community by appealing for calm by stating “In addition, any discourse which attempts to apportion blame by association or sensationalises violence to stigmatise a certain segment of society only serves to undermine community harmony and safety”.
The media and the usual Islamophobes went into a frenzy in order to curtain the Mufti’s right to freedom of speech and speak his mind of what he thought was right.
In spite of further explaining his stance, he is still being witch hunted where Josh Frydenberg, the Resources Minister has now accused him of leadership failure.
During the two day Sydney conference on Radicalisation and Islamophobia held this week attended by high calibre academics from US, UK and various parts of Australia and New Zealand, various speakers have deliberated on the root causes of terrorism and how to address them.
The conclusions drawn from the academic research that was brilliantly exposed by the keynote speaker Professor John Esposito is not very different than what was being said by the Mufti.
It is important that our politicians, policymakers, media barons and people at large consider the following in order to address violence, radicalisation and human misery that is now affecting every one on the globe and needs to be addressed.
Terrorism and War on Terror has been feeding on each other. Since 9/11, during the last 15 years acts of terrorism have increased and become widespread. Hence the strategies to fight terrorism have failed miserably.
Regime changes, invasion of countries, bombing and killings by drones have neither diminished the number of terrorists nor subjugated the population in these countries to accept hegemony of the West on these countries.
Support for authoritarian regimes in the Muslim countries and silence in the face of their repression of the opposition in the name of fighting terrorism must be stopped.
Popular indulgence in vilification of Islam and demonization of Muslims in order to sell newspaper or to increase TV ratings or to get votes, and all forms of Islamophobia must stop.
Programs for safeguarding of human rights for all people and providing equal opportunity to live with freedom and dignity against national and vested interests must be implemented.
Z I Ahmad