This statement by various university students’ associations states our position regarding recent incidents surrounding Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen (Kamer).
We strongly condemn the way in which an innocent young man has been dragged through the national mud, only to be found entirely innocent of grave false charges. Having witnessed the way in which law-enforcement authorities and some media agencies have acted, it is our moral imperative to raise our voice on behalf of the Muslim community, which has once again been left traumatised by how its members are treated.
Specifically, we wish to iterate the following points:
1. Kamer has been a well-respected member of Australian society for several years. He was known by all in his community to be a consistent force for good, a hard working student and employee, and a cherished person in the lives of his friends and family.
2. Law-enforcement authorities acted on baseless conjecture and created a hysteria that has irreparably damaged an innocent young man through their irresponsible drip-fed commentary to the media. These authorities, especially the AFP and NSW Police, have demonstrated a distinct lack of judgement. Although whoever forged the notebook acted irresponsibly, nothing can discount the greater irresponsibility shown by law-enforcement agencies who permitted an abject out-of-character set of scribbles to qualify as sufficient “evidence” on the basis of which this frenzy then took place. No weight was given to context, history, background, character or what was known of Kamer. Just scribbled notes by an un-verified author: this is all it takes for a young Muslim to become a national enemy on the front pages of newspapers.
It took over a month of unjust treatment, slander, jail and immense stress and psychological abuse before handwriting experts were engaged, who confirmed exactly what Kamer had said on day 1 of this ordeal.
3. We strongly condemn the media organisations which smeared Kamer’s good name almost irreparably. While Australia’s right wing media vultures barely need an excuse to go after the Muslim community, they published lies to paint Kamer as a terrorist without any evidence whatsoever. We are hopeful that the responsible media – especially News Corp outlets – are taught a lesson in defamation law.
4. Kamer was detained for one month in the notorious Goulburn Supermax prison. He was deprived of access to family, and unable to adequately convey his side of the story from inside this veritable dungeon. This breathtaking injustice must immediately call into question the way Australia’s anti-terror legislation operates, and the appalling ease with which innocent people can be locked away without adequate legal and familial access.
5. This is not the first time Muslims have been unfairly victimised in Australia, and we know it won’t be the last. We reject claims made by law-enforcement agencies and politicians that Muslims are treated justly in front of the law. We will struggle for justice in this regard and speak loudly to be heard.
1. That Kamer and his family be issued a formal apology as recognition for the irreparable harm caused;
2. That Kamer and his family be granted adequate redress by Australia’s legal system for whatever rights they pursue;
3. That measures must be taken immediately by law-enforcement bodies, universities and relevant organisations to alleviate the distress now felt by Muslim international students at university campuses who realise how helpless they are in front of an unfair legal regime;
4. That Australia’s lawmakers use this case as a catalyst to entirely review the current, unjust anti-terror laws;
5. That Muslims stop being made scapegoats and easy targets without adequate access to legal recourse.
The statement released on Friday 26 October 2018 is supported by:
University of New South Wales Muslim Students’ Association
UNSW Islamic Society on Campus
Sydney University Muslim Students’ Association
Cumberland Muslim Society
Macquarie University Muslim Students’ Association
Muslim Students’ Association Bankstown
Muslim Society Strathfield
Muslim Students’ Association Liverpool
Muslim Students’ Association Campbelltown
University of Technology Muslim Society
Muslim Students’ Association Parramatta
Monash University Islamic Society
Monash Caulfield Islamic Society
Swinburne Islamic Society
Islamic Society of Victoria University
University of Melbourne Islamic Society
Islamic Society of Deakin University
RMIT Islamic Society
La Trobe University Islamic Society
University of Western Australia Muslim Students’ Association
UNSW Pak Soc
UNSW Bangladeshi Society
UNSW Indian Society
Disarm UNSW Campaign
UNSW Education Collective
UNSW Students for Palestine
UNSW Socialist Alternative
UNSW Agnostics, Atheists and Humanists