The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) stands in unwavering solidarity with Commissioner Mohamed Mohideen amidst the ongoing scrutiny and calls for investigation into his advocacy and statements regarding the situation in Palestine.
AFIC underscores the critical distinction between criticising the policies of a state and propagating hatred or discrimination against a community. The conflation of criticism against the policies of the State of Israel with anti-Semitism is not only misleading but detrimental to the principles of dialogue and mutual respect that are foundational to our multicultural society.
We reiterate the crucial point that equating legitimate criticism of the actions of the State of Israel with hatred towards Jews is a grave misunderstanding. It undermines the fundamental civil rights to freedom of speech and expression, particularly when such speech is in the pursuit of justice and peace, as is the case with Commissioner Mohideen’s advocacy.
The reports of the escalating violence in Gaza, resulting in a catastrophic loss of innocent lives, are deeply concerning. Labelling these atrocities as GENOCIDE and WAR CRIMES is not an act of anti-Semitism but a desperate plea for humanity and peace and reflect the genuine community sentiment that Commissioner Mohideen is a part of.
The Australian Muslim community has a long-standing commitment to fostering interfaith understanding and championing the values of multiculturalism. The pursuit of peace, dialogue, and justice forms the core of our community’s endeavours. In this light, the scrutiny and calls for investigation into Commissioner Mohideen’s statements are deeply concerning, as they appear to undermine these very principles.
Commissioner Mohideen’s dedication to community service and his efforts to promote a multifaith and multicultural Australia are well-acknowledged and respected. The looming threat by the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) to investigate his advocacy raises significant concerns about the respect for freedom of speech and the understanding of anti-Semitism.
In the spirit of true multiculturalism and in support of democratic values, AFIC calls upon the VMC to reconsider its stance.
“It is imperative that the Victorian Multicultural Commission demonstrates courage and integrity, recognising that silencing voices advocating for peace and justice does not align with the democratic and diverse values we cherish in our society,” remarked AFIC President, Dr. Rateb Jneid.
Silencing voices that advocate for peace and justice is counterproductive and does not align with the values of our diverse and democratic society.
We firmly stand behind Commissioner Mohideen and urge the VMC to dismiss the campaign that seeks to misconstrue legitimate advocacy as divisive. Upholding the right to speak freely on critical international issues, especially when these discussions aim to bring attention to humanitarian crises and are conducted in a respectful manner, is crucial for the integrity and vibrancy of our democratic society.
AFIC urges the VMC to demonstrate the courage and integrity that our multicultural society deserves. It is not the time for equivocation but for the clear recognition and support of the principles of freedom of speech and legitimate human rights advocacy. “The attempt to silence a respected community leader for expressing concern over international human rights issues is an affront to the values of freedom and dialogue that define our nation,” stated Dr. Rateb Jneid, President AFIC.
We firmly stand behind Commissioner Mohideen and call for a balanced and respectful approach that upholds the rights and dignity of all individuals in our society.
Dr Rateb Jneid, President