Muslim leaders today said they would call on Australia’s Islamic youth to assimilate and refrain from extremism in an effort to prevent a repeat of Sydney’s racial violence.
A meeting of the nation’s imams next month will urge Islamic community and religious leaders to teach ‘Australian values’ and promote tolerance and harmony, conference organiser Munir Hussain said today.
Dr Hussain today said the conference, being organised by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, would be a crucial step in improving relations between Muslims and non-Muslims following the December 11 Cronulla riot and retaliatory attacks.
He said Islamic leaders wanted to shun extremism and play a greater role in helping young Muslims to feel connected to the communities in which they lived.
This is good news indeed and is a first step towards repairing the negative image of Islam in this country. What I’d also like to see is more studies about the major religions in the history classes at schools. I know I benefited greatly from having studied about them when I was in high school in Malaysia.
There has to be mutual understanding and respect. The Muslim community needs to shun extremism and the general public needs to be more enlightended about Islam, especially its similarities with Christianity and Judaism. Only then will the fear and distrust go away.