Using a heavy-handed approach to track “extremism”, security forces arrested several Australian Muslims, sending shockwaves among the religious minority that staged a night protest against the crackdown.
“We’ve all seen what has taken place this morning,” Hizb Ut-Tahrir speaker Uthman Badar told the crowd who gathered in Sydeney’s Lakemba to denounce the police raids, 9News reported on Thursday, September 18.
“We are not here tonight to determine who is guilty and who is innocent, they are processes for the relevant authorities, but we have great concern… about these processes being carried out properly.
“There are people out there who would like to convey this point, this propaganda that somehow Muslims are a threat to this country, and the Muslim community is a threat.”
Lakemba’s protest came in response to the morning raids in which 15 people were arrested from north-western Sydney.
Mobilizing for the protest, organizers posted on Facebook, “The Australian government has overnight carried out “the biggest anti-terror raids in Australian history”.
“Just as in 2005, these raids come on the eve of new laws being tabled in parliament next week! Many families terrorized in the middle of the night, people beaten, and stories of harsh, unjust policing are emerging.
“Raise your voice as one and do the least that can be done: condemn the government for its brutality.”
Signs saying “Stop terrorizing Muslims” and “We won’t stand by as Muslims are vilified” were raised by the protest that was attended by more than 100 people.
“We are not here to disrupt security, Muslims are as much concerned about security and peace as anyone else, but at the same time we are not fools,” Badar stated.
At least 15 Muslims’ homes and 10 cars were searched by about 800 police officers, leaving families outraged.
“My house was raided by these police pigs,” a teen from within the crowd screamed, News.com reported.
Telling the crowd about violence his mother faced by police, the teen said: “The dog punched my Muslim mother on the ear…” The boy screamed, growing increasingly agitated as he asked his ‘brothers and sisters’ what they would have done”.
Muslim leaders expressed sadness after the raids, voicing concerns about the soaring Islamophobia.
“We are shocked by these allegations and we appeal to everyone not to judge the Australian Muslim community as a whole by the actions of these individuals and we should not inflame hatred,” Community leader and Belmore GP Jamal Rifi told The Express.
As a part of the US-sponsored campaign against the so-called Islamic State, similar raids were launched in Kosovo and Kuwait where dozens were arrested.
The head of Pristina’s Grand Mosque, Shefqet Krasniqi, and several imams were among 15 people arrested on Wednesday, by an anti-ISIL operation in Kosovo.
A day before, Kuwait has referred 11 people to public prosecutor over terror links allegations.
France too was among the nations who have been endorsing anti-terror measures that resulted in arresting six last Wednesday in Lyon area, including a 13-old-year girl.
A few days ago, a group of nations, including 10 Arab states, have agreed to form a US-led coalition to tackle ISIL threats in Iraq and Syria.
Militants from ISIL have been widely condemned by Muslims worldwide who staged several protests to express anger against the radical group.
Earlier this month, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, has condemned ISIL, accusing it of serving a “Zionist” plot to “destroy the Arab World”.
Two weeks ago, Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh condemned Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State rebels as “enemy number one” of Islam, urging Muslims to take up arms against the group’s members. ONISLAM