Muslim organisations in NSW and Victoria have called on the community to boycott Premiers’ Iftars during this year’s fasting month of Ramadan in protest over the Labor Party’s inaction over the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and oppression in West Bank and constraints over Muslim worshipers praying at Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.

Due to this strong stance, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan announced on Thursday 29 February, that this year’s Iftar is therefore cancelled, a move welcomed by the Islamic Council of Victoria.

Other peak Muslim organisations have also called for a boycott in NSW including ANIC, AFIC and Islamic Council of NSW. It has been reported that the NSW Premier’s Iftar stands cancelled as well.

In an open letter, over 100 Muslim organisations and groups are boycotting the annual Victorian Premier’s iftar.

“This year, the Labor Party’s inaction, at all levels of Government, towards preventing the live-streamed genocide of the Palestinian people clearly demonstrates where the Labor Party stands. Palestinians are ethnically cleansed by the Zionist, Genocidal state of Israel and here In Australia the Victorian government’s dismissive response to the rise in hate crimes against Muslims has created a situation that calls for the boycott of the Premier’s Iftar,” the letter says.

In a video released on Thursday 29 February 2024, the Victorian Premier said “My role here in Victoria is to support the community, not add to distress and grief. It’s in that context that the dinner will not be proceeding this year.”

The Islamic Council of Victoria welcomed the cancellation announcement saying “It is an appropriate decision in response to the overwhelming sentiment from the Muslim community that due to the traumatising impact of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza it would not be appropriate to stage the Premier’s Iftar this year, and it would not be supported.”

The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) confirmed their position a Facebook post on Thursday 29 February 2024 saying “Given the immense suffering and oppression of Palestinians and further planned assault by Israeli forces against Palestinians taking refuge in Rafah on the eve of Ramadan and the ongoing genocide and illegal settlement committed by the Israeli Regime, the Australian National Imams Council representatives will not be attending the Premier’s Iftar Dinner this year.”

“ANIC is also deeply disappointed with the Minns’ Government lack of response to the distress of the Muslim and Arab communities in NSW.”

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) said on Wednesday 28 February 2024 that they made a considered decision to abstain from participating in any Ramadan Iftar events this year, hosted by the NSW Government.

“NSW Premier must learn that he is a Premier for all NSW, and also represent people that are suffering and in pain about the genocide in Gaza’ said Dr Rateb Jneid, President of AFIC.

The Islamic Council of NSW (ICNSW) announced their decision to decline any Ramadan Iftar gatherings this year organised by both the New South Wales and Commonwealth governments earlier on Tuesday 27 February 2024 saying, “It is impossible for us to “break bread” with those who claim that they are friends of the Muslim community yet betray these sentiments with their actions (and indeed, inaction).

“The double standards and highly divisive statements of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Chris Minns in failing to acknowledge a genocide, cutting off vital humanitarian UN funding and unwillingness to call for an immediate ceasefire has not gone unnoticed. We as an Australian Muslim Community are deeply hurt and disappointed. Humanitarian support and standing up to injustice and oppression should never ever be sacrificed for political agendas.”

Senator Dr Mehreen Faruqi, Deputy leader of the Greens wrote on social media that the Greens back calls by the Muslim community to boycott Labor this Ramadan.

“If Labor won’t listen to the Palestinian and Muslim community then their empty iftar tables will mimic their hollow response when it comes to support for the grieving community in this country,” she said.

Earlier this week, the Labor government announced their partnership with Israel-based military technology company and defence contractor Elbit Systems.

“Elbit’s weapons have been developed and field tested against Palestinians for years. Elbit currently provides up to 85 per cent of the land-based equipment procured by the Israeli military and about 85 per cent of its drones, according to Database of Israeli Military and Security Export,” said a spokesperson for No More Bodies in Gaza.

The spokesperson said the weapons had been used to kill almost 38,000 Palestinians and injure 68,000 in 138 days.

The Muslim community overwhelmingly seems to support these boycotts with posts on social media commending the Muslim organisations for taking a united stand.

What are your thoughts? Do you support the boycott? Let us know in a comment below.