The following statement has been released in a press conference this morning outside the LMA offices in Sydney to representatives of Media and has been endorsed by the majority of Muslim community leaders in Sydney.
Press Conference Statement:
MUSLIM LEADERS MEET IN RESPONSE TO SATURDAY’S INCIDENT IN SYDNEY
Press Conference: Tuesday 18 September 2012, 9:30am, LMA Grand Hall, 71 Wangee Rd Lakemba
Several Muslim representatives and religious leaders met again last night to discuss the events that occurred on Saturday in Sydney. This was the second meeting by community leaders concerned about what had happened. After the first meeting on Saturday night a media statement was released condemning in unequivocal terms the violence that occurred as well as the offensive film at the centre of the conflict.
Those present at last night’s meeting came from a wide cross section of Sydney’s very diverse Muslim community and included representation from the office of The Grand Mufti of Australia, the Islamic Council of NSW, Lakemba, Belmore, Liverpool and other Mosques, as well as women and youth organisations.
The meeting was productive and demonstrates the seriousness with which community representatives are treating the situation.
As a result of the meeting, community representatives would like to make the following statement:
- We acknowledge that the problem of disaffected youth cuts across all Australian communities and that more must be done to address their needs and problems. The Muslim community’s leadership plans to place greater focus on developing specific programs which could affect positive change amongst the youth.
- We call on all Muslim religious leaders to address the incident in their sermons this coming Friday calling for calm in line with the great legacy of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
- The community leadership does not endorse any rallies that may be planned in the near future to protest against the insulting film. The community also plans to implement a level of governance to manage any future action that may be deemed necessary to deal with religious vilification and related matters. We call on members of the Muslim community to be vigilant and respond only to directives from reputable and established centres and Mosques.
- Unfortunately since Saturday several hundred messages of outrage as well as hate have been received by Muslim organisations. There have also been threats made to people and property which will be passed on to the authorities. We therefore call for calm and restraint and urge individuals to leave this matter in the hands of law enforcement agencies. We extend our appreciation to those who have sent messages of support especially other religious communities.
- We call on the media to conduct themselves with restraint and responsibility. Unfortunately some outlets have used the opportunity to inflame community tensions through sensationalist and unbalanced reporting. A similar call is made to those politicians who are manipulating the event to their own advantage. We all have a responsibility to stand against divisive hostility to ensure that peace and harmony are maintained.
- Representatives plan to meet with the police to discuss and review the incident and how it was handled.
- Representatives will also be meeting with the NSW government through the Minister for Citizenship and Communities in the next few days to discuss additional strategies in response to the incident.
- We call on the goodwill of the wider Australian community not to allow Saturday’s unfortunate incident to undo the positive relationships that have been established in the past. The actions of a very small minority should not be used to tarnish the reputation of the whole community.
- Finally, we pray that what occurred on Saturday does not repeat itself in the future. The Muslim community values the religious freedom that exists in Australia and supports all efforts to promote respectful co-existence.
Thank you and peace be with you. END
STATEMENT: MUSLIM LEADERS MEET IN RESPONSE TO SATURDAY’S INCIDENT IN SYDNEY – 18 September 2012, 9:30am Page 1 of 2
Office of The Grand Mufti of Australia
Islamic Council of New South Wales (ICNSW)
Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA)
Islamic Council of Victoria
Australian Islamic Mission
Australian National Imams Council
United Muslim Women Association
Australian Institute of Islamic Culture
Muslim Students Association of Australia
Australian Council of Women Association
Australian Islamic Voice
Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah Association of Australia (ASWJ) United Muslims of Australia (UMA)
Islamic Egyptian Society
Australian Muslim Women’s Association
Islamic Sciences and Research Academy’ (ISRA)
Islamic Foundation for Education and Welfare (IFEW) Australian MEFF Consortium (MEFF)
Indonesian Muslim Nurses Association
Granville Youth Association
Australian Islamic House
Quran Kareem Radio
The Islamic Society of UNSW (ISOC)
Voice of Islam