Although our Muslim community shares a value system based on the Quran and the sunnah of the Prophet (s), we tend to a variety of political interpretations of that foundation.

During the pandemic we heard from Muslim voices denouncing vaccinations against the virus as haram and other voices proclaiming that vaccination was a duty to avoid spreading the disease.

Many of us deeply respected the role of Premier Dan Andrews in Victoria, protecting us from the virus while others denounced him.

During the course of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum, voices were raised to denounce the Yes vote as an elevation of paganism to emphasise upon the need to try to ameliorate the dreadful cost of colonisation by ensuring the First Nations had access to genuine consultation in decision making.

Others argued that a Treaty with the First Nations should take absolute priority.

The advent of Ramadan this year has been met by the usual calculation versus actual moon sighting, the different positions loudly defended by their proponents.

This usually results in two or three starting dates for the month of fasting.

No division over Gaza

The issue of the genocide in Gaza by the Israeli war machine has not led to such divisions.

The critical response to the US Administration blindly supporting the Netanyahu government with its extremist ministers, two of whom are described as terrorists by mainstream Israeli politicians, has been unanimous across the globe.

While most Muslim majority countries have dithered with inaction, the ordinary people of the whole Ummah have shown great unity.

The US, the UK and Europe have been very supportive of the Israeli assault on Gaza but their people have not.

There are huge ongoing demonstrations in support of Palestine everywhere.

In Australia where a large proportion of the Muslim population has traditionally supported the Labor Party for its defence of multiculturalism and its more positive attitude to the well being of the community, the community was deeply shocked and felt betrayed by the refusal of Australia to support a humanitarian truce in the UN General Assembly vote on 28 October 2023.

Despite the obvious lies coming out of the Israeli propaganda mill about looking after civilians while massacring them, and proclaiming that support for Palestinian rights is anti-Semitic, the erstwhile respected Minister for Foreign Affairs suspended aid to UNWRA on Israeli claims that it was employing terrorists.

This was in the midst of denial of food, water, medicines and safety to the civilians of Gaza.

It has led to a great re-think about how we should try to have our concerns recognised in the current Australian political set-up.

Just as so many traditional Liberal party voters opted for the more humane and more in tune Teal candidates at the last federal election, Muslim voters are now considering their options.

A major blow in Victoria was the sight of our former premier Dan Andrews flying off to the home of the genocide with the loudly Zionist Liberal party’s senator Dave Sharma as it was becoming public knowledge that the Victorian Labor government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Israeli Ministry of Defence in 2022.

[Defence analyst] “ Mr Shoebridge said he believed Israel would want to partner with Australian firms to manufacture military equipment in Australia, and export them to the Indo-Pacific region.” [ABC News, 24 Jan 2024]

Given the attitudes expressed about Israel and the Gaza genocide by our regional friends at the ASEAN Conference in Melbourne, we need to do better.

“25. We reiterate our shared concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, which has been exacerbated following the 7 October attacks. We condemn attacks against all civilians and civilian infrastructure, leading to further deterioration of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza including restricted access to food, water, and other basic needs. “  [The Melbourne Declaration – A Partnership for the Future ASEAN, 6 March 2024]

Australian obedience to the US/Israeli narrative harms our relations with the rest of the world.