What was his “aggressive rhetoric against Muslims”? What were his “incredibly reckless” remarks? He said: “I’ve often heard Western leaders describe Islam as a religion of peace…I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often and mean it.” And: “The Islamist death-cult has declared war on the world.” In response, instead of declaring their loyalty to Australia and showing themselves to be on his side against the terrorists, Muslim leaders in Australia are claiming victim status. How unfortunately predictable.
“Tony Abbott under fire from Muslim community after national security speech,” by Tom Decent, Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2015:
Muslim community leaders have voiced their anger at Prime Minister Tony Abbott over his national security speech on Monday, saying it did nothing but inflame tensions and belittle the efforts of Muslims leaders working to decrease community antagonism.
The Lebanese Muslim Association condemned the “aggressive rhetoric against Muslims” employed by Mr Abbott on Monday, labelling it “politically opportunistic” and unnecessary.
“The Prime Minister’s comments are incredibly reckless,” said Samier Dandan, President of the LMA. “Few would fail to see this newfound focus on national security as anything other than an attempt at gaining public approval, especially in light of the contemporary political climate.”
In a national security address on Monday, Mr Abbott argued the Islamic community could be be doing more to stop the spread of extremism.
“I’ve often heard Western leaders describe Islam as a religion of peace,” Mr Abbott said. “I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often and mean it.”
Head of the Arab Council of Australia, Randa Kattan, said the comments were completely unhelpful.
“I’m really fired up about this, I couldn’t sleep last night,” Ms Kattan said. “The top man [Mr Abbott] needs to quit making these comments, they are not helpful.
“It is counterproductive and extremely insulting to many of us who have been working really hard on this. It just inflames sentiments that are bordering on hatred and racism.”
Ms Kattan said non-Muslims would be affected and would have to fan “not embers, but flames of racism” as a result.
“Anybody who looks like us [Muslims] has been tarnished now,” Ms Kattan said. “It impacts on wider groups who look like us, or might have olive skin, people can’t tell the difference sometimes.
“They are not unanimous objects, they are living breathing human beings that have lives, that have children. They want to continue living these lives.”
Keysar Trad, a spokesman for the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, was just as unhappy with Mr Abbott’s agenda.
He said he could not believe the Prime Minister talked down the efforts of Islamic groups.
“The government knows fully well how hard the Muslim community is working to help protect and improve the safety and security of Australia,” Mr Trad said. “Nothing has changed, I doubt they could pinpoint to anything we are doing less of than we are doing.
“This kind of message coming from a Prime Minister is very unhelpful in the circumstances.”