Picture via Twitter.(
Picture via Twitter.(

Australians come together to support their Muslim community

by Natalie O’Brien

Two Muslim men who have experienced the rising tension in the community since the terrorism threat level was raised said it is affecting everyone, from their wives and children to the elderly.

Steve and Adam from south-west Sydney said they “can feel the tension in the air when you take your kids to the park” and there is also a visibly increased presence of the authorities which was making people feel uneasy.

In the past week, there have been a string of incidents involving Muslim women being verbally abused in the street, cars being vandalised and mosques and religious buildings sprayed with graffiti. Muslim community members have said they feel they are the ones being terrorised.

A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence after allegedly entering the Al-Faisal school in Minto armed with a knife and asking if it was a “Muslim School”.

Steve and Adam have said some of the community have responded by taking off the veil, trimming their beards or just staying at home and not going out.

“People on both sides are afraid,” said Steve.

But men had a message for the rest of the community to “stay calm” and don’t react.

They said the Muslim community had been through this before, and it would pass.

“We don’t want something like the Cronulla riots to happen again.

“We just hope that it goes back to how it was before. We don’t want anything to implode, we love this country, we just want to live in this great country,” they said.

Their comments come as Australians have banded together to demonstrate their support for the Muslim community by organising solidarity marches, setting up social media accounts and donning the hijab in public.

Thousands of people have joined efforts to promote social harmony, including a social media campaign called Women in Solidarity with Hijabis (WISH).

The campaign, which was started by a non-Muslim woman named Ruth who put on a hijab and posted her photo online, took off last week and within three days the Facebook page had more than 7000 likes.

Muslim women commenting on the page were grateful for the gesture saying it was appreciated especially given that women wearing the hijab are bearing the brunt of public anti-Muslim sentiment.

In other initiatives a new Facebook page called

, which began last week, already has almost 6000 members. The organisers said the “Islamophobia and discrimination encountered every day by Muslims living in Australia is unacceptable”.

Sally Balkan, a Buddhist, is co-ordinating a solidarity march to take place in each state early next month where people from different faiths and backgrounds can march in support of the Muslim community.

“We refuse to hate each other,” she told  Fairfax Media.

Community Relations Commission chief executive Hakan Harman said people “need to stand by each other, speak out against hate and violence and report any incidents of harassment, intimidation or vilification”.

Mr Harman said the actions of a few dangerous individuals should not prevent people from treating each other with respect and humanity.

His comments come as 250 mosques around the country delivered a united message through their Imams.

Organised by the Australian National Imams Council, the message to the congregations was that the “protection of human life is one of the five basic rights in Islam and as a Muslim we have a duty to protect humanity”.

ANIC general manager Samir Bennegadi said the sermons denounced the so-called fatwa from overseas targeting Australia, saying it has no religious authority and reiterating that the horrors conducted overseas in the name of religion are crimes against humanity and sins against God.

Australians show the world how to deal with terrorism

illridewithyou-twitterpicsA hashtag showing support for Muslim Australians has taken off on social media following a siege at the Lindt cafe in Sydney on Monday.

#illridewithyou is trending worldwide on Twitter, rising by hundreds of tweets per minute since it began Monday morning.

702 ABC Sydney have had calls from Muslim listeners who say they are too scared to ride on public transport at the moment.

The hashtag appears to have come from a Facebook post from a woman who was riding on a train in Sydney, who noticed a Muslim woman quietly take off her head covering.

The woman said: “No, if you want to wear it, then wear it. I’ll walk with you.”

Another woman took to Twitter and wrote: “If you reg take the bus b/w Coogee/Martin PL, wear religious attire, &don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride withyou. @me for schedule.”

The woman, Twitter user @sirtessa, then suggested “maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?”

The hashtag has been picked up by a number of prominant tweeters as well as throngs of everyday users, making it one of the most prominant topics on Twitter.

Christians and Muslims to join in solidarity against hate attacks across Logan and Brisbane

kurabymosque1Attacks on Muslim women across Logan and Brisbane have prompted Muslims and Christians to join at the Kuraby Mosque on Friday to call for others from the two faiths to stand together in solidarity.

In a press release issued this afternoon, Christian leaders said they were concerned about recent attacks on women from the Muslim community and that the release of an affirmation was the first step in strengthening ties between the faiths.

Muslim representative Dr Nora Amath said a number of Muslim women had been subjected to verbal abuse over the last couple of weeks.

She said one woman was physically attacked at Sunnybank Hills.

“Unfortunately the headscarf is very visible and it conjures up feelings of fear and hostility.”

Dr Amath said police liaison officers had met with female students from the Islamic School to discuss personal safety.

“We can’t control people’s reactions,” she said.

“Many attacks aren’t reported and many feel like it’s part and parcel of being Muslim at the moment which is quite sad.

“This is a positive and proactive way to make a statement that any attack on any person of any faith won’t be tolerated.

“With all the hysteria, we need to take care of each other and find common good.”

Dr Amath said the a copy of `Call for Christians and Muslims to Stand Together’ was an affirmation and that a multi faith Memorandum of Understanding would be released later in the year.

The reading of ‘Call For Christians And Muslims To Stand Together’ will occur at 11am on Friday at the Kuraby Mosque, 1408 Beenleigh Rd, Kuraby. (T/P3/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)