Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Open Letter To Bob Carr & John Brogden
Premier of NSW
Hon. John Brogden, MLA
Leader of the Opposition
I am taking this difficult step of writing to you about a matter which concerns all the people of NSW.
It is the sad and sorry performance of Muslim community leaders in Sydney. Following the London bombings, Muslim leaders in Sydney and at a national level have failed to show true and proper leadership.
We have a national body which refuses to listen to ordinary Muslim Australians. It has yet to make a coherent statement in response to the genuine fears which Australians of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds share.
We have three (3) Islamic councils in NSW which are fighting with each other. The original Islamic Council of NSW has not placed any comment on its website on the London bombing. Over 90% of programs on its radio station are in Arabic, a language most Muslim Sydney-siders do not understand.
The Supreme Islamic Council of NSW does not even have a website. The Muslim Council of NSW does not have a functioning e-mail address.
Muslim Sydney-siders feel lost and abandoned by their leaders. Our fears and those of our non-Muslim friends and colleagues and neighbours are being ignored.
If, God forbid, a terrorist attack does happen in Sydney, I have little doubt Muslims will be among the dead and wounded. I also have little doubt that Muslim families will be grieving.
I also have little doubt that Muslims (and anyone deemed to be Muslim, such as Arab Christians, orthodox Jews and Sikhs) will be blamed and attacked.
Should such an unfortunate event take place, I am sorry to say that my community leaders will be helpless to articulate my views.
When the terrorists hit Istanbul, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) issued a press release in which they described Istanbul as the capital of Turkey. Turks represent one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sydney Muslim community. Their national body could not even consult them before issuing a press release. AFIC could not even get the name of Turkey’s capital city right.
Then there is the issue of Mufti Sheik Taj Hilali. We love and respect the Sheik, but we have no idea on what basis he was appointed as mufti. We are also alarmed that he is not provided by AFIC with adequate resources for him to perform his duties. Indeed, no one quite knows what the Sheik’s duties are.
AFIC will not spend money on providing Muslim Australians with a properly resourced religious leader. But they will spend tens of thousands of dollars on frivolous litigation in an effort to impose dummy Islamic councils on Muslim New South Welshmen.
I am writing to you because you are the leaders of all the people of NSW. You are more representative of mainstream Australian Muslim opinion than their peak NSW and Federal bodies. I implore you to place pressure on these bodies to become more democratic, more consultative and more relevant to the needs of Muslim Australians.
I also implore you to call upon Muslim Australians to take responsibility for the statements and actions (or lack thereof) of their peak bodies. We would like to see all peak bodies act as responsibly and sensibly as the democratic and progressive Islamic Council of Victoria and the Canberra Islamic Centre.
I hope you consider this sincere plea from an ordinary “Aussie Mossie” who has had enough of ‘unrepresentative swill’ speaking on his behalf.