While the Federal Government tries to win the support of the Muslim community in relation to its anti-terror legislation, Western Sydney Muslim leader and former chairman of the Islamic Muslim Association Neil Kadomi explains how he feels about the proposed changes.
Our politicians are sending out a message that radicalisation is happening in mosques, placing responsibility on Imams to prevent radicalisation of young people. As a result, mosques and the mainstream Muslim leadership is seen as somehow responsible which is unfair. What these politicians choose to ignore is that:
a) the Muslim community leadership has worked tirelessly to condemn violence in the name of religion and to educate the community, especially young people.
b) young people who may go overseas to fight are not normally the ones who are attending the mosques. They are disconnected from the mainstream Muslim community, its mosques and leadership.
c) As a community we are concerned that so much attention is focused on a fringe tiny number of Muslims going overseas to fight but the involvement of Australians in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] is not a matter of concern. This is a blatant double standard.
d) The Australian government continues to throw money at counter-radicalisation programs, but the one thing that it has not accepted is the role of foreign policy in fueling the anger that leads a tiny number of people to go overseas to fight. For example, the government’s hypocrisy as one of Israel’s strongest supporters despite Israel’s brutal occupation, defiance of international law and horrific death and destruction in Gaza.
How do young people trust a government that wants them to renounce violence when the government supports a violent state and its human rights abuses? We need consistency and a reassessment of our official stand on human rights and saying no to ALL violence, not just the violence of some groups or states and not others.
Maybe this will go a long way to some of our youth feeling they are part of a country that has strong and consistent principles. Of course this hypocrisy does not mean young people’s involvement in fi ghting overseas is justified. Rather, it means that we need to focus on the real CAUSES and assess LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS not knee-jerk, band aid reactions.