South Australian Islamic leaders have condemned the perpetrator of the Martin Place siege and praised non-Muslim Australians for their solidarity following the incident.
Katrina Dawson, 38, and Tori Johnson, 34, died last night during a 16-hour siege at the Lindt Café in Sydney’s CBD, perpetrated by Man Haron Monis – an Iranian self-proclaimed cleric – who was also killed.
President of the Islamic Society of South Australia Waleed Alkhazrajy said his community was devastated by the incident and was praying for the victims.
“We are sad for the loss of life. We are sad being part of this nation for the taking of these people as hostages,” he said.
“Muslims in the community spent the whole day praying… fearing for the safety of these people
“We feel for each other, this pain. We are one body, we are one Australian body.
“We pray for a speedy recovery for the people who are affected by the ordeal.”
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He said the “mature” reaction to the incident by the broader Australian community represented a monumental turning point in relations between Muslim and non-Muslims in the country.
He said non-Muslims were “showing huge solidarity as one and moving from divisive language into unity language, which is what we need at this time”.
“They felt that this is an individual act.
“This action is a completely individual act, based on personal disturbance.”
The #illridewithyou hashtag, showing support for the Muslim community following the tragedy, continues to trend on Twitter, around Australia and worldwide.
However, Imam Hamza of the Parafield Gardens Mosque told InDaily women in his community were afraid to go out in public following the incident.
“Always, when anything happens, either here or in the Middle East countries, yes, this is a fear that our women always have,” he said. “They become the easy targets.
“It is a difficult time for our community because whenever a Muslim commits an act which is regarded as a crime, instead of attributing to the particular person, the media always attributes the crime to the action of Islam.
“(When a) Christian … commits such crimes, it would be attributed to that particular person, but when a Muslim committed the same (crime) it is attributed to their religion, and this is unfair.
“Islam does not allow such things to occur. If they are angered, it has to be channelled through a proper way. It cannot be by taking innocent people as hostages.
“I would like to ask Australians not to practise prejudice against Islam and Muslims, and not to quickly jump to conclusions.
“Take time, analyse and find out the truth.”
Adelaide City Councillor Houssam Abiad told FIVEAa radio this morning he was appalled by the incident, but heartened by the reaction of non-Muslims on social media.
“As an Australian Muslim I feel I have a very heavy heart and I’m sad, I never thought that this would happen in Australia on any level,” he said.
“I’m worried about the … vilification of Muslims, and some of the young Muslims, who are great contributors to society.
“Although that is a fear of mine, we are seeing on social media that it’s otherwise.
“There is some fantastic stuff that we’re seeing. That’s happy news for me.
“I’m really hoping that this is an issue Australia will band together on.
“Australia really is a melting pot of multiculturalism.
“I don’t want that we create segregated bubbles within the community.”
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