September 16, 2015
Muslim leaders will seek a dialogue with Malcolm Turnbull that promotes social inclusion and counters what they say has been a rise in Islamophobia under Tony Abbott's leadership.
The Islamic Council of Victoria says Australia's Muslim community experienced an "unprecedented" amount of undue attention during the two years of the Abbott government, and had been the target of racially motivated demonstrations resulting in a backlash against everyday Australian Muslims.
"We hope to have a genuine and sincere dialogue with Mr Turnbull, a dialogue that will promote social inclusion," ICV spokesman Kuranda Seyit said on Wednesday.
He said that while the ICV welcomed Mr Turnbull's elevation to the prime-ministership as a "fresh beginning", the litmus test for the new Liberal leader would be how he responds to racism and Islamophobia in Australia.
"We anticipate that he will strongly condemn the racist activities and send a message to Australia that bigotry has no place in our society," Mr Seyit said.
Keysar Trad, spokesman for the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, will write to Mr Turnbull to congratulate him, but to also seek a dialogue.
Mr Trad told AAP that Muslim Australians have felt under attack, and that emerging divisions in Australian society had seemingly been nurtured in the last few months of the Abbott government.
Mr Abbott had often been criticised by Muslim leaders over comments directed at Islam.
In his landmark national security address in February, Mr Abbott suggested the Muslim community wasn't doing enough to combat the spread of Islamic extremism.
"I've often heard Western leaders describe Islam as a religion of peace," Mr Abbott said at the time.
"I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often and mean it."
Mr Trad told AAP on Tuesday that he had been contacted by many Muslims "expressing a sense of relief" that Mr Abbott's departure means Australia has a chance of "moving forward and moving away from the politics of blame".
Mr Trads Daughter Hala might have Mr Turnbull's ear.
There are times you need to fight
The Daily Telegraph
Hala Trad is a 23-year-old philosophy student from Yagoona. She was born in Australia to
Lebanese parents. Her father Keysar fled his homeland in 1976 as a refugee and her mother arrived here in 1986. Here she tells TAYLOR AUERBACH why she sympathises with Australian Muslims who feel compelled to join the war in Syria.
IS Islam against fighting? I don’t know how to answer that question.
It’s not completely against war because war happens. Suicide is completely Haram (against Islam) but war isn’t.
Sometimes you’re in a position where you need to fight. I definitely sympathise with the frustrations of Muslims in Australia who feel like they have to go over to Syria.
I know some people who I believe went over there to fight. People say things. By the way they talk, it seems like they went over for the cause.
The situation in Syria is very hard to hear about, especially from Australia where we can’t do anything. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. So many people are being oppressed by this regime and being displaced.
I’m not qualified to go over, I don’t have the resources. But I can understand how people would do anything to help the people the government regime is oppressing.
It’s hard to tell people not to go over and fight because Islamic people get very heated up by the situation. They feel helpless. It’s not close geographically, but it’s so close to home. One thing that Islam teaches is that we have to help our Muslim brothers and sisters.
This tyrannical regime is oppressing their brothers and sisters and it’s incredibly frustrating.
They feel helpless from here. Could they die as martyrs? It really depends on their motivations for going over there and the situation they were in when they got harmed.
Personally, I’m a philosopher. I think there are other ways to help. Any sort of humanitarian aid that I can do, I do.”