Muslim groups condemn government's 'lack of response' to anti-Islam rallies

Protesters holding flags are seen at a Reclaim Australia Rally at Martin Place in Sydney on Saturday. (AAP)

Muslim groups have criticised the federal government for its lack of response to anti-Islam rallies held over the weekend.

Muslim groups have criticised the federal government for its lack of response to anti-Islam rallies held over the weekend.

The nation-wide protests, held under the banner 'Reclaim Australia,' protested against "sharia law, halal tax and Islamisation." In some states the rallies became violent, going head-to-head with anti-racism groups.

Now Muslim groups are expressing their disappointment over the federal government's "silence" on what they are calling a "national issue."

"The Commonwealth has been quick to call on our community and leaders to speak out against extremism and hate preaching, yet when these are directed at us they have remained silent," President of the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) Ghaith Krayem said in a media release on Sunday.

"We expect the Government to speak out strongly against these co-ordinated rallies and call them what they really are - and that is nothing more than a racist and bigoted attack on Muslims."

The ICV says it was "reassured" by a statement made by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Saturday after violence broke out between protestors at Melbourne's Federation Square.

"Free speech is an important principle but so is respect for multicultural communities," the statement read.

Lawyer and founder of the Islamophobia Register Australia Mariam Veiszadeh shared the ICV's concerns, saying silence from political leaders only allows Islamophobia to prosper.

"Such rallies are blatant examples of how Islamophobia, and the silence that often surrounds its condemnation, are threatening to become mainstream and 'acceptable.'

"It is also abhorrent that as a country, we can tolerate any vilification of fellow Australians," she said.

Ms Veiszadeh thanked "the ordinary Australians" who took part in the counter rallies.

"You stood for inclusion, multiculturalism, love and tolerance," she said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told Channel Nine on Sunday the anti-Islamic views of 'Reclaim Australia' were "exaggerated." Speaking on the violence shown by protestors in Melbourne on Saturday, Mr Shorten said, "People have got a right to state their view at a rally, but no-one has a right to violence."
 

Responses to the anti-Islam rallies on Twitter

Source SBS

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