Sydney University encampment ‘Nabka Walk’ participants on the steps of Lakemba Mosque on Nakba Day 2024 with LMA Religious Affairs Administrator Salim Allouche.

On Wednesday 15  May, Nakba Day, a  group of students from the SUMSA held a Nakba Walk from Lakemba Mosque to the university to raise awareness of the historical trauma and ongoing Palestinian suffering – advocating for justice amid the current genocide.

Australia’s oldest non-profit Islamic organisation, the Lebanese Muslim Association, has been very outspoken in its condemnation of societal institutions – governments, media and international justice systems –  since 7 October of last year.

On Saturday 6 May , the LMA called out the hypocrisy of the media concerning events at American university campuses over recent months in terms of activism, protests and encampments.

Universities as we know them have been around for almost 1,400 years and have always stood as bastions of democracy and free speech.

Rallying for a great cause….Sydney University students marching for Palestine.

For example, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, the World Bank, Anti-Apartheid, the Free Speech Movement, the Environment Movement and Black Lives Matter are just some social challenges where university students have spoken out fearlessly against government overreach.

But now it seems that this has all been cast aside, with the American media (and Australian media as well in many instances)  questioning the right of university students to protest about the genocide in Gaza – a genocide which has been ongoing for over 76 years.

Thousands of media pieces have been written, recorded and filmed over time, where the media has acknowledged that it’s the right of students to protest peacefully.

But not when it comes to Gaza, apparently – indeed the silence of the media is deafening in terms of them displaying any support for the students, whatsoever.

Commenting on the situation, LMA Secretary and spokesman Gamel Kheir said, “Australia must be very careful moving forward not to follow America blindly, as we have often felt compelled to do.”

LMA Secretary Gamel Kheir.

“Australia is built on the back of supporting and encouraging the underdog and the oppressed.”

“The LMA  takes this opportunity to reaffirm its support for the activists at the various University encampments for Gaza – be they in America, in Australia – or anywhere else in the world.”

“We call on the Australian government and law enforcement officials to protect and openly support the right of university students to hold  peaceful protests and rallies.”

“The LMA as an organisation has been calling out injustice and hypocrisy for well over 60 years and we will continue to be outspoken when it comes to condemning those who perpetrate the ongoing genocide taking place in front of the entire world in Gaza – and those who support them.”

Six Australian campuses have erected student encampments, the first of which was at Australia’s most iconic place of learning Sydney University on 23 April, with the protesters demanding that institutions cut ties with Israeli universities and arms manufacturers.

Gamel Kheir reaffirmed that the LMA strongly supports the actions of the Sydney University Muslim Students Association (SUMSA) and added that  LMA officials have recently visited the encampment site and provided various forms of support.

Jumu’ah prayer at Sydney University on 10 May.