Terror threat changes will unfairly target Muslims, says Islamic Council

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The Islamic Council of Victoria fears Australian Muslims will continue to be unfairly targeted if Australia's terrorist threat rating is raised from medium to high.

The Islamic Council of Victoria has responded to ASIO Director-General David Irving's comments he is considering raising the country's threat level from medium to high, saying such a change would increase hostility and prejudice towards Muslim Australians.

The change in Australia's threat level would mean an attack on Australian soil is likely, but the Council's Secretary Ghaith Krayem is unconvinced.

"The difficulty is we don't get given any information that really helps us assess how genuine these sorts of assessments are. We're expected just to take these things at face value. I mean we haven't seen or heard anything, to be honest, ourselves that says the threat is any more now than what it was ten years ago," Ghaith Krayem told SBS.

"The laws are there now, the government has a proposal to broaden those laws. What the threat is really doesn't do anything at a practical level other than, in my view, just makes the average Australian more fearful of something happening which means they'll look at Muslims with more suspicion than they would otherwise. Which is an unfortunate thing," said Mr Krayem.

The federal government has also announced plans to increase airport security with measures that will target Australians believed to be taking part in terrorist activites overseas and identify those returning from conflict zones.

Mr Krayem believes the proposed changes will increase the unfair treatment Australian Muslims are already experiencing.

"In the last fortnight there have been well over a dozen cases of people heading to the Middle East who have literally been taken off planes for reasons that are not apparent whatsoever. They are then reported in the press as being suspects when in reality there's no basis to it at all and they're detained for four or five hours and then they're put on another flight and allowed to continue on their way. It's just ludicrous what's been happening."

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