ALIENATING TERROR LAWS WORRY AUSSIE MUSLIMS

Police watch on as people pray during a rally to protest against negative coverage of Islam and French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, in Sydney on January 23, 2015. On January 7 at least two masked men gunned down 12 people at the satirical weekly, in a shocking attack on freedom of speech in Europe. AFP PHOTO / Jeremy PiperJEREMY PIPER/AFP/Getty Images
OnIslam

Melbourne, 9 Syawwal 1436/25 July 2015 (MINA) – Australia’s new counter-terrorism measures have been criticized by the Muslim community for risking alienating the disaffected Muslim youth and stirring up anti-Muslim sentiments in the country.

“It sends the message, we don’t want you, which could push disaffected young people into the hands of radical groups,” Kuranda Seyit, secretary of the Islamic Council of Victoria and a leading voice in Victoria state’s Muslim community, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday, July 23. OnIslam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

“From that perspective, it’s counter-productive. It’s also counter-productive in that it doesn’t give people any option for rehabilitation or reintegration.”

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Seyit is one of the Australian Muslim leaders who voiced opposition to the government’s controversial de-radicalization program as a way to contribute to the negative stereotypes about Islam.

Deeming it a “punitive” policy, Seyit warned that the new laws could potentially alienate disenchanted youth.

Seyit’s comments came a few days after the president of the Sydney-based Lebanese Muslim Association, Samier Dandan, penned the new anti-radicalization policy as “outdated” and “pointless”.

“[They are] opportunities for these departments to feel satisfied that they have ‘consulted’ with the Muslim community, without actually having done anything constructive,” Dandan wrote in an op-ed on the association’s website, The Guardian reported.

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“It boggles the mind, then, that it would continue to exclude legitimate Muslim voices and widely accepted research from the discussions about how to tackle radicalization.”

Dandan’s views on the language used in the recent “Countering Violent Extremism” summit discussion paper were echoed by Seyit.

“It perpetuates stereotypes and the assumption that Islam is intrinsically linked to some sort of extremist ideology,” Seyit said.

“It didn’t mention the generic problem of extremism which exists in white supremacist and Neo Nazi groups and other religious ideologies.”

Seyit, who is also a teacher at an Islamic school, slammed the language used by the government, saying that it feeds divisions in the society.

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The language used by the Abbott government feeds into the narrative of a division in society, which “leads to the emergence of [anti-Islamic] groups like Reclaim Australia.”

“Everybody now thinks there is an epidemic of terrorists threatening every Australian, which presents a huge danger for social cohesion,” he warned. (T/P007/R04)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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