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Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|this is whats happening in australia|
|12/09/02 at 04:46:40|
|for those who would like to learn about what's happening right now to Muslims in Australia, this message might give you an idea: |
COMMENT ON RECENT RAIDS
September 11 and Bali seems to have left many of us pummelled into a foetel position of faux-patriotism and figurative and literal flag waving. However, we must all be reminded that our obligation is only to speak the truth and we should not be silenced by the blanket of intimidation that has been spread over our community. If we condemn Bali, then lets not be as we accuse our enemies of being, and turn a blind eye to other forms of terrorism.
As such, we must condemn the reports of heavy-handed tactics used by the Australian government in raiding the homes of Muslims suspected of what amounts, at best, to 'thought crimes'. This is not an issue of Muslims or Islam, but a broader issue affecting all Australians who should feel themselves safe from having their homes invaded by armed men simply for holding 'unapproved thoughts' or having five years ago committed the unspeakable crime of having attended a lecture by a speaker who would years later who delegated a terrorist. It is happening to Muslims today, but it could happen to some other group tomorrow.
Last week, the authorities raided the homes of several Muslim families across Australia seeking 'information'. They were not seeking arrests or to prevent an impending terrorist attack, but rather they were only seeking to gather 'information' about whether there might be people sympathetic to Abu Bakr Bashir here.
Before anyone should be raiding sympathisers, they should first establish the guilt of Sh. Abu Bakr Bashir in the events in Bali. If that is proven, then determine if people in Australia had a role in that particular crime. Simply having an association with someone does not make anyone implicit in everything that person does. Just because you drove a car with Abu Bakr Bashir in it, as one victim did, does not necessitate that you were involved in Bali. It's a simple distinction, but one apparently relegated to the garbage can in this new dystopian world that John Howard has imposed on us.
Such truisms did not prevent ASIO and the Australian Federal Police from raiding Muslim family homes with sledgehammers and automatic weapons. The Age captured the flavour of these informal information gathering exercises on October 31, 2002: "Federal agents put guns in the faces of four Australian children aged between four and 17 years".
One of these children describes the treatment meted out to her and her family:
"We heard windows breaking, including my bedroom window, we were all sleeping when these men with sub-machine guns came barging in our house. They pushed my dad onto the floor, they handcuffed him and one of the police officers stepped on his ear and told him not to move, he cannot hear properly out of that ear. They grabbed my mum, they told us to get on the floor and pointed guns at us, I was really scared. One of them pushed me and told me to put my hands on the floor and lay on my stomach."
The Prime Minister has expressed his complete satisfaction with this operation and the manner in which it was conducted. None of these people were arrested or charged. Yet, they were considered so dangerous that the government felt itself justified in meting out this kind of treatment?
No doubt we will be forced to endure the ritual incantations of the political leadership of this country that this wasn't against Muslims. So who was it against? Terrorist sympathisers? Then where were the wholesale raids on members of the Irish Australian community in the 80s and 70s when it was well known many were fundraising for the IRA? Where have been the raids on members of the Tamil community fundraising for the LTTE? Where have been the raids on members of the Jewish community whom it is alleged have contributed to extremist causes abroad? Where have been the raids on members of the Sikh community who support the Sikh seperatist movement in the Punjab?
Noone is arguing that the government should not be allowed to use force to stop an impending terrorist attack, but it is difficult to see how these people living peacefully in their suburban dwellings with their families constituted an immediate threat to anything. The failure to arrest any 'evil doers' only reinforces that fact.
Now is not the time for the Muslims to be weak or fearful, or suffer some perverse form of Stockholm Syndrome where we have more sympathy for our oppressor than our own selves. Our homes have been violated this week, our community attacked, and we can be sure that there will be more. If it was the Indonesians this week, then maybe it will be the Pakistanis next time.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) left us clear instructions when faced with oppression and evil. He ordered us to try and stop it with our hands, but if we can't do that, to stop it with our tongue, and if we cannot even do that, then to hate it in our hearts.
The least we can do in this country is to use our tongues and our pens to fight this injustice. We should flood the airwaves and letter pages of the country's newspapers with vocal protest. We should form whatever alliances we can with non-Muslim civil liberties and other like-minded organisations, in opposing these actions. Those Muslims who find themselves the victims of raids or other forms of oppression, should be supported and if they pursue legal action against the government, then we should aid them financially if need be.
It is a sad indictment on each and every one of us, that the loudest and bravest voices in defence of our families and our right to live in peace have come from non-Muslims.
Here are some of those voices, collated from the nation's papers in the aftermath of the raids.
Attorney-General, I'm a sympathiser: I sympathise with law-abiding Australians who think they should be safe from having their door kicked in at 5am.
Bruce Hogan, Cloisters Square (WA), October 31.
I'll tell you what's unAustralian: secret police wearing balaclavas to hide their faces and carrying combat weapons smashing their way into someone's home in the early hours of the morning.
Maybe we need organisations to work in the shadows gathering information about threats, but law enforcement in a free country is the job of police in uniforms with their faces visible, wearing identifying badges and using the least actual or threat of force necessary.
Gordon Drennan, Ultimo, October 31.
Thank you, Attorney-General, for your offer to protect me from terrorism. But who is going to protect me from the terror of the balaclava-wearing thugs you send in the night with sledgehammers and guns to break down my doors and take away my property?
Rosie Young, Rozelle, October 31.
It seems ASIO has progressed in its intelligence-gathering capabilities - it found someone who could speak Bahasa Indonesia, or one of the more linguistically gifted members of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who could translate Jaya Fadly Basri's newsletter.
As a result of what appears to be a "church newsletter", probably not dissimilar to one from an Anglican or Catholic church, it has raided this man's house? This is considered evidence in these troubled times? Or is it based on the fact he is a prominent local Muslim who has happened to have met Abu Bakar Bashir?
I've been to lectures given by Irish Republicans wanting the British out of Northern Ireland. Does that make me a terrorist?
Perhaps we can hold him without trial, too. Or maybe rough him up some. That'd undoubtedly get George Bush in a congratulatory mood. We'd certainly be upholding America's concept of democratic values.
We are a free and democratic country. Don't let us become what we oppose. Let us protect this country and the freedoms of its residents.
James Turnbull, Enmore, October 31.
Having arrived at the Lakemba house armed with guns and sledgehammers, ASIO left the premises, armed with a copy of The Daily Telegraph. While the choice of newspaper may not reflect well upon ASIO I would have thought their inquiries may have revealed the paper can be bought from most newsagents.
Bill Carpenter, Bowral, October 31.
More raids by security and helmeted squads with sledgehammers and automatic weapons. Again, no arrests. It seems a strange way to protect a democratic way of life and save us from terrorism.
Dr Scott Poynting, Newtown, October 31.
I am not assured the Attorney-General, Daryl Williams, is acting in my interests when he sends storm troopers into family homes in the early hours of the morning. It looks like bullying the mild for photo opportunities.
Carolyn van Langenberg, Blackheath, October 31.
This is not my Australia
The ASIO raids conducted in Perth and Sydney this week are disturbing scenes that I never thought I would see in Australia. the very public raids, with officers dressed in combat gear, heavily armed, breaking down gates, doors and windows, is over the top, unjustifiable and a denial of basic human rights. As an Australian, I am ashamed that our government would allow such an action to be taken; as a member of the Labor Party, I am ashamed that our only response is to suggest there was nothing "unjustifiable" about it.
I express sympathy and compassion to those families who suffered from such a humiliating act by Australian authorities, and urge our political leaders to do the same.
Nathan Murphy, Watsonia
Australian Muslim Public Affairs Committee (AMPAC)
PO Box 180
PASCOE VALE SOUTH VIC 3044
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