The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) vehemently condemns the Victorian Parliament’s recent decision to ban the wearing of the keffiyeh within its chambers. This ruling not only suppresses an important symbol of Palestinian identity and resistance but also represents a broader attempt to silence voices advocating for the Palestinian cause amidst an ongoing ‘genocide’.

Dr. Rateb Jneid, President of AFIC, stated, “To ban the keffiyeh on the grounds that it is ‘political’ is to ignore the moral imperative that compels us to stand in solidarity with those suffering under oppression.”

The ban came into effect as the world commemorates Nakba Day, reminding us of the catastrophic displacement of Palestinians since 1948, which continues under the current hostilities. “At a time when we should be amplifying Palestinian voices, the Victorian Parliament has chosen to mute them. This is an outrage against the values of freedom and justice,” Dr. Jneid added.

AFIC applauds the courage of the three Green MPs who stood with the Palestinian community by wearing the keffiyeh. Their actions reflect a moral stance that is commendably absent in much of today’s political discussion. It is disheartening that amidst widespread atrocities, it has only been members of the Green Party who have consistently demonstrated the moral fortitude to stand with Palestine.

The Federation calls on all levels of government to unequivocally condemn the ongoing wholesale slaughter of civilians and end campaigns aimed at silencing support for Palestine. “We will not be silenced,” Dr. Jneid declared. “We demand a permanent ceasefire and insist on the right of every parliamentarian to express their solidarity without fear of censure or reprisal.”

AFIC urges everyone to recognize the keffiyeh not merely as a piece of cloth but as a beacon of struggle against injustice. The organisation invites all Australians to join in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to advocate for their rights and recognition.

AFIC, established in 1964, stands as the Peak Muslim Organisation in Australia, with 170 members including 9 State and Territory Councils. It has a rich history of pioneering numerous community services and actively advocating for the rights and representation of the Muslim community.


Dr Rateb Jneid, President

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