Saturday’s violent demonstration against a film depicting the prophet Muhammad ended in Muslim protesters, police and bystanders bloodied and battered.
The Sun asked Merrylands resident and Hazara Council of Australia President Mosa Gherjestani to write about his reaction to the violent scenes.
This is what he wrote:
Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
I have watched the video on YouTube and it seems to be very offensive to the Muslim community and it was, I believe, an attempt to offend Muslims.
I understand why people would protest violently, especially in the Middle East, for many different reasons — their culture and history — but having said that I didn’t expect the violent protest in Sydney.
I became aware of the Sydney protest via the media, and I was very disappointed and shocked at the way it turned out at the end.
I think the NSW Police Force did what they had to do and in my opinion they conducted a great job by enforcing the law towards people who don’t respect the Australian law and systems.
I am in favour of a peaceful, meaningful and civilised protest but based on what I saw in the media in regards to this protest, I do not think it was within the guidelines.
Providing children with banners such as those we saw may seek attention, but it will only seek bad and unwanted attention.
These images do damage to the whole community, whether you were there or not.
A lot of people watch TV and in two seconds form a view; they may not interact with any Muslims but in two seconds they can form a view.
I think as a Muslim community in Sydney, and Sydney’s west, we must preserve our culture, religion and history but as the same time we must respect other cultures, religions, the law and the communities here.
These king of protests may occur in the Middle East but it is not acceptable here as there are other avenues of giving your opinions and ideas a voice.
When we have protests like that it does not represent the whole Muslim community, this is only people from the Muslim community.
Mosa Gherjestani, President of the Hazara Council of Australia Inc.