The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, alongside other community and religious leaders, says in order for Australia to remain a cohesive society the public needs to come together and have an open dialogue.
Today Mohamed spoke to the media for the first time since radicalised 15-year-old Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar killed NSW police accountant Curtis Cheng in Parramatta, which resulted in counter-terrorism raids that led to four people being detained. Three of which has since been release. An 18-year-old remains in custody.
“Sadly, a very, very small number of Australians of Muslim faith have chosen this path,” the Grand Mufti said.
“[There needs to be] proper communication between the families and the community and us.
“We believe that dialogue is the prerequisite of understanding,” he said, adding “Australia deserves this for us to remain in a cohesive society”.
Mohamed stressed “it is not just a religious problem” and reiterated that any act of terrorism should be condemned, and that those who support Jabar’s act of violence should “stop messing with Australia and its society”.
“We refuse and reject any form of terrorist activities, whether this – if it’s proven to be a terrorist act – or any other.”
Speaking alongside the Grand Mufti was Maha Abdo, director of the United Muslim Women Association. She also stressed the need for community solidarity during this time and reject any subsequent hate speech.
“Things are happening and we need to really start engaging academics, research, understanding of the issues because we’ve been literally under siege,” she said.
“When we start to blame, we shift away from the responsibility and I’d like to really say this is not about blame, this is about taking the leadership and control of the fact that we all have that responsibility and we want to see a better outcome for that.”
The Grand Mufti called for a “proper forum” where the Australian society can engage in “learning exercises and refute any misperceptions”.
“We have youth programs and we have Australia-born imams. We try to achieve connection with the ministry of education for school visits,” he said.
Leaders of the the Muslim community will be talking to the families of the victim and the gunman in the coming weeks.
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