An evil man is condemned but the hatred that spurred him lives on
ICV deplores political expediency in the wake of tragic Bourke St incident11 November 2018 The ICV sends its condolences and sympathies to the victims of this despicable act, and shares the shock and sadness being experienced by the entire community. There is no question that a heinous crime was committed in Bourke Street last Friday afternoon. What is in question is how it is being interpreted and described. The PM Scott Morrison has been quoted as saying that “I’ve got to call it out”, referring to the Bourke Street attack. We agree. This was indeed a murderous criminal act, just like the earlier Bourke Street attack that claimed the lives of six people and injured twenty-seven others, and there should be no difference in the public response. Referring to this criminal act, the PM also stated that “There is a special responsibility on religious leaders … They must be proactive, they must be alert, and they must call this out …for what it is.” The main problem with this statement is that it infers that Muslim religious leaders must do more to prevent such crimes, even though in this case, the perpetrator was known to security authorities for a long time. The other big problem with the PM’s statement is that there is no evidence that this individual’s religious beliefs were a causal factor. What is known is that this person was complaining about strange delusions and had been agitated for weeks. It is also reported that he had been involved in low level crime including drug use in the past. His passport had also been cancelled, like many others, to prevent travel to Middle East conflict zones. The ICV calls upon our political leaders and those in positions of influence to stop exploiting dreadful events such as these for cynical political or ideological point scoring. “We also call upon the media to do its job and to abide by its own journalistic standards” said ICV President Mohamed Mohideen. Reporting such as the front-page headline in The Weekend Australian, ‘Violent Islam terror strikes Melbourne’s Bourke St’ is false, inflammatory, and grossly offensive, and should be condemned. The religion of Islam had nothing to do with the events of last Friday. To insinuate otherwise is absurd.
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