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  • Combo image: Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed (R) and Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference in Sydney on Saturday (AAP)
Australia's Grand Mufti has rejected government calls that Muslim leaders needed to do more to combat radicalism in the community following the Bourke Street attack.
English
By
Fares Hassan

12 Nov 2018 - 5:39 PM  UPDATED 13 Nov 2018 - 11:48 AM

Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed told SBS Arabic24 that he believed comments by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton following the Bourke Street attack constituted "serious discrimination" against Australia's Muslim community.

The comments come as more information surfaces about the attack on Friday where Somalia-born man Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, 30, fatally stabbed well-known restaurateur Sisto Malaspina and injured two others along the busy street.

Shire Ali, who was gunned down at the scene by police, was known to the AFP and had his passport cancelled in 2015 amid concerns he planned to travel to Syria to fight with IS.

Mr Dutton on Sunday said police and other government agencies could not stop spontaneous acts of terror without tip-offs or alerts from the public.

Mr Dutton on Monday stressed that the Muslim community was key in alerting authorities, a call rejected by Dr Mohamed who pointed the finger of blame for the attack at security agencies for "failing to evaluate the threat level".

"We do not need Dutton’s plea to remember our duties. I’d like to remind him that security agencies failed to do their job; the offender’s passport had been cancelled and he was being monitored," Mr Mohamed said.

"I demand Dutton open an investigation in his department to find out why the crime happened, it isn’t because he’s [Shire Ali] Muslim or mentally ill, it’s because the threat hadn't been properly evaluated." 

 

Dr Mohamed said the Muslim community was "experiencing a difficult time" following the attack, and that such comments did more to "plant seeds of extremism" rather than deter it.

"Linking crime to religion is what frustrates us the most and the duty of politicians is to defuse conflicts rather than inflame them," he said.

"We should not use the word ‘terror’ to intimidate people the way other dictatorships do to oppress their own people, it should not be used in politics.

"We condemned the crime in an official statement while I was overseas. However, we have a take on those who link Islam to crime and those who blame the Islamic community for not fulfilling its duties."

Dr Mohamed said maintaining the security of Australia was part of the culture of the Muslim community and that it was a top priority.

The Grand Mufti said he'd like to remind politicians that himself and other prominent Muslims were also considered targets by extremist organisations.

On Saturday, Mr Morrison strongly condemned the attack, saying that "we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism in this country is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam".

The PM doubled down on Monday, affirming that there was "a very positive level of cooperation" from community leaders, but there needed to be a "heightened sense" because security services can't "watch everybody".