A delegation of Australian Muslim community leaders recently engaged in a critical meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Penny Wong to address the pressing concerns surrounding the crisis in Gaza, Palestine. The meeting, which took place in Sydney on Wednesday 1 November provided a platform for the community representatives to directly express their concerns and advocate for immediate action.
The diverse Delegation, comprising nine representatives from different states, included prominent figures such as Imam Shadi Alsuleiman from the Australian National Imams Council (NSW), Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamad, the Grand Mufti of Australia (NSW), Bilal Rauf from the Australian National Imams Council (NSW), Ramia Abdo Sultan from the Australian National Imams Council (NSW), Tariq Nashar from the Islamic Society Victoria (VIC), Mahammed Fahour from the Islamic Society Victoria (VIC), Ali Kadri from the Islamic College of Brisbane (QLD), Habib Jamal from Queensland Muslims Inc (QLD), and Abdullah Khan from the Islamic Schools Association of Australia (WA).
This esteemed group of leaders played a vital role in conveying the community’s concerns about the crisis directly to the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister.
The Delegation raised key points emphasizing the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, highlighting the high death toll, injuries, displacement, and missing individuals, including children, due to the actions of the Israeli Government aimed at the civilian population.
One of the crucial messages conveyed by the Delegation was the need for urgent action to prevent further atrocities and to engage in dialogue addressing the concerns of the Muslim community.
The leaders expressed a sense of hurt within their communities and emphasized the importance of acknowledging the historical context of the longstanding oppression of the Palestinian people with decades of occupation.
The Delegation underscored the lack of international support for the Palestinian cause and expressed the need to precisely call out the transgressions of the Israeli Government, including its use of ‘collective punishment.’
Human rights and International Law violations, such as the siege on Gaza, were cited as significant concerns, denying basic necessities, like food water and medical assistance, to over 2.2 million civilians and exposing over a million people fleeing north Gaza to bombing in the south.
Additionally, the Delegation raised concerns about the Australian Government’s abstention from voting on a UN resolution aimed at protecting civilians and providing humanitarian assistance. They emphasized the impact of political statements on societal cohesiveness and community well-being.
During the meeting, the leaders discussed the role of language in promoting social cohesion, with the Government highlighting their consistent calls for humanitarian pauses in hostilities.
Prime Minister Albanese affirmed the Australian Government’s commitment to the Palestinian people, citing decisions such as reversing the recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and doubling funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
The meeting was characterized as candid, open, and constructive, with both the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister expressing condolences for the losses suffered by Australian Palestinian families.
The Delegation extended its thanks to the government for their time and consideration of the raised concerns. The government, in response, acknowledged the gravity of the situation, stating that the “international community will not accept ongoing civilian deaths.”
The Delegation welcomes the government’s commitment to addressing the urgent needs of the escalating crisis, emphasising the importance of immediate attention to prevent further civilian casualties, injuries, and displacement.
In these critical times, the collaboration between Australian Muslim community leaders and the government underscores the significance of dialogue and advocacy in addressing global crises and promoting humanitarian values.