Stanhope is going to meet with some of Canberra’s Muslim leaders tomorrow morning to tell them that our community supports multiculturalism and that we totally believe that “terrorism is the work of extremists whose ideology is not shared by the overwhelming majority of Muslims”.
Stanhope’s put out a release (not yet online) after the event saying that terrorism is abhorrent to most Mulsims. Full text is below.]
I had a sneaking suspicion that I had heard this somewhere before, and a quick google search shows that at least Blair and Victorian premier Steve Bracks have also had the same idea (and then I stopped going down the list).
TERRORISTSâ€™ IDEOLOGY NOT SHARED BY OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF WORLDâ€™S MUSLIMS
Terrorism was the work of ideological extremists whose beliefs and methods were abhorrent to the overwhelming majority of the worldâ€™s Muslims, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said today.
Mr Stanhope met local Islamic leaders at the Canberra mosque this morning to reaffirm Canberraâ€™s commitment to multiculturalism and to join with Muslims in condemning terrorism and mourning its victims.
â€œDown through history people of many faiths have resorted to acts of terror in a bid to shock and frighten their enemies,â€ Mr Stanhope said. â€œBut these individuals are motivated by extremist interpretations of religious teachings. It is vital that their actions not be allowed to sour the communityâ€™s tolerance of religious and cultural diversity.
â€œThe terrorists who, in these terrible times, claim to commit acts of terror in the name of Islam, are no more representative of the Islamic faith than the IRA bombers of decades past were representative of Christianity, or the Tamil Tiger suicide bombers are of Hinduism,â€ Mr Stanhope said.
â€œViolence in all its forms is a terrible thing, and it is hard, when we think of and mourn the victims of recent terrorist attacks in Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and the United Kingdom, the young Brazilian man mistakenly shot on a London train this week, and the 25,000 civilians killed in Iraq since the United States-led invasion, not to despair.
â€œWhat keeps us from despair is the conviction that by and large society is tolerant and just and fair. What keeps us from despair is the knowledge that, by and large, the community will refrain from labelling and stigmatising entire social groups, on the basis of the abhorrent acts of a few.
â€œFor the overwhelming majority of Muslims, Islam is a religion that teaches peace. It is a faith followed by a billion people worldwide â€” more than one in five people alive today. It is a faith that is practised by people from myriad cultural backgrounds, from Indonesia to Pakistan, Palestine to Fiji, the United States to Australia. Here in Canberra our diverse communities of Muslims are deeply and securely embedded in all aspects of our shared life. They are bosses and employees, teachers and sporting heroes, volunteers, entertainers and doctors. And just as they have something in common with members of other Muslim communities â€” a shared faith â€” they also have much in common with non-Muslims â€” a love of our way of life and a respect for human rights, including religious freedom.â€
Mr Stanhope said he hoped todayâ€™s gathering demonstrated the solidarity and sense of common purpose the community badly needed at this difficult time.