Counter-terror raids 'straining Islamic relations'


Today's arrests in Sydney follow a string of raids across Australia targeting terror suspects. Multicultural groups say they have greatly affected the Muslim community.

Early on Wednesday morning, more than 200 armed police officers arrested four men and raided homes in the Sydney suburbs of Guilford, Wentworthville, Merrylands and Marsfield.

Since the Lindt cafe siege last December there have been multiple raids aimed at quashing any terror threat.

Muslim Legal network barrister Bilal Rauf says despite a united front against terrorism, the lack of clarity surrounding recent counter-terrorism raids has inadvertently put some offside.

“There's no doubt a level of apprehension amongst those who do identify with the Islamic faith in terms of the way things have been done,” Mr Rauf said.

A week after the cafe siege in December 2014, two alleged would-be jihadis were arrested in Sydney's west.

The arrests have continued with a 33-year-old man was arrested in January for weapons offences and an Anzac Day terror plot foiled in Melbourne with a group of teens arrested over plans to behead police officers.

A 17-year-old boy was charged in May over an alleged Mother's Day attack plan.

Most of those charged come from an Islamic background.

Peter Doukas from the Ethnic Communities’ Council said ties need mending between some Muslims and the rest of the country.

“It's understandable that the reaction of the wider community to what's happening makes the Islamic community feel isolated,” he said. 

“It's necessary for people to belong and the first step in addressing these challenges is for people to feel like they belong - to their community and to the wider Australian community.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten today joined a long chorus praising authorities for keeping the nation secure.

“I for one have a high degree of confidence in what they are doing and we're very supportive of what they're doing,” said Mr Shorten.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Secretary Alan Tudge said attention had rapidly turned to reducing the rate of radicalisation.

“There's no single answer to it,” he said.

“All of us have to be engaged through our programs, through law enforcement, through the leadership of the Muslim communities, and indeed from the families themselves.”

While local mosques have some role to play to help reduce disunity among some Islamic groups, community leaders have said that is just one part of the solution. 

Mr Rauf said he believed a collaborative approach across Australia was critical to mending ties.

“There's a real need to engage with members of society at large from different perspectives,” he said.

“It's something which impacts all of us.”

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