ICV Alarmed and Appalled by Dutton’s Derogation of Australian Lebanese Muslims
The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) unreservedly denounces the address made by Federal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton in which he criticised Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser for his acceptance of immigrants in the 1970s, specifically “Lebanese-Muslims.”
The Lebanese community, as well as numerous other recent migrant communities to Australia, suffered years of abuse and racial vilification upon arrival after fleeing civil war in the 1970s. With his comments, Minister Dutton has debased the historical circumstances and experiences of such minority communities and affronted the architects of courageous immigration policies to which he pales in comparison.
The minister’s claim that 22 of the last 33 people charged with terrorism offences are from “second- and third-generation Lebanese-Muslim background” is an irresponsible misappropriation of statistics and gratuitously blames entire generations for the actions of a handful of individuals who are born and bred Australians.
ICV Vice President and spokesperson Adel Salman stated, “The racist comments of Minister Dutton only serve to affirm the rhetoric of extremists that play on the mind of vulnerable young Muslims who feel that they are unwelcome and have no place in Australia’.”
“Our refugee policy has and should always be humanitarian and needs-based, irrespective of race or religion.”
The recently released Scanlon Foundation report shows continued high levels of national support for a non-discriminatory immigration program and humanitarian refugee policy. Additionally, it revealed strong positive opinions towards multiculturalism and its correlation with economic development.
In addition to the positive social and economic contributions Lebanese Australians have made to Australian society, Minister Dutton has also disregarded the efforts championed by numerous figures from the Lebanese community, such as the late Shaykh Fehmi El-Imam, to develop and proliferate multicultural, multiethnic and multi-faith messages to the nation.
The ICV stands with the Lebanese community and against bigoted individuals, especially those with institutionally vested powers such as Minister Dutton, who seek to tout slurs that serve only to bolster their own questionable stance on immigration. We call on our leaders, especially Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, to harshly reproach anyone endorsing such statements and display true moral leadership in reaffirming support for Australia’s diverse and inclusive multi-cultural communities, regardless of their race or religion.
For more information please contact Cameron Thomas (ICV Media Coordinator) at 0408 088 473 or firstname.lastname@example.org