The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) strongly calls for law enforcement authorities to take decisive criminal action against those responsible for disseminating false claims against Palestinian protesters. A recent police statement has revealed that the investigation found no evidence to support the baseless allegation of the chant “gas the Jews” during a pro-Palestine Opera House protest in October.
The initial claims, which triggered significant outrage both locally and internationally, were utilized as a basis to unfairly vilify Palestinians and Muslims by commentators, politicians, and others. The subsequent revelation that these claims were unfounded demands a collective reassessment of the motivations behind willingly spreading unverified information before the conclusion of the police investigation. Consideration must be given to whether such actions may have been illegal, as these statements were presented as facts rather than allegations.
These false accusations have far-reaching consequences, not only in undermining the credibility of legitimate concerns but also in causing harm to the delicate fabric of social cohesion. AFIC underscores that making false claims not only diverts valuable law enforcement resources but also has the potential to incite fear and division within the community, as well as distort policy and legislative responses.
In the interest of justice and maintaining public trust, AFIC urges law enforcement authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the origins of these false claims and hold those accountable for the dissemination of misinformation. Dr Rateb Jneid, President of AFIC, stated, “It is crucial that those who fabricate or exaggerate events for personal or ideological reasons must be held responsible for their actions. We expect the police to continue with this investigation in those that spread this lie and quickly resolve this matter.”
Dr Rateb Jneid, President
NOTE: The title of this release was amended at 5.50 PM on 2 February