The laws will still be passed, the raids will continue to occur, and the Islamophobia will continue to trickle down on the streets. But this time with a friendly smile and your tokenistic input. Malcolm Turnbull seems to be on a campaign to garner more Muslim support, but the issue is bigger than him and the state apparatus fully mobilised against the Muslim community doesn’t rely on the benevolence of one person.
The federal government is hoping it can build better relations with the Muslim community as it stresses more inclusive discussions.
Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says some Muslim communities are feeling marginalised, disenfranchised and ignored.
The senator has been consulting with more than 100 Muslim groups around the country on national security issues.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells said it is important to have a two-way discussion about problems within the community.
‘Practical engagement doesn’t mean attending a meeting for half an hour, giving them the government line and then expecting them to just work with you,’ Senator Fierravanti-Wells told AAP on Friday.
‘They feel they are being talked at rather than having a discussion with.’
The assistant minister believes tackling the issue of young people becoming ‘radicalised’ needs a social approach with a national security angle, not vice-versa.
‘We need to come at it from a social perspective to understand the reasons … why they are going off the rails, and how can we get them back on the rails,’ she said.
The Muslim community has welcomed the change of prime minister, saying it is an opportunity to counter what they believe was a rise in Islamophobia under Tony Abbott’s leadership.
Mr Abbott was criticised by Muslim leaders after suggesting they describe their religion as one of peace and ‘really mean it’.
Liberal MP Philip Ruddock, who has been assisting Senator Fierravanti-Wells on the project, said people often express themselves differently.
He believes terrorism is separate from race or religion, and it is unfortunate some feel Mr Abbott’s views ‘extended more broadly’.
‘He has the same view about terrorism as I do,’ Mr Ruddock told AAP.
However, the veteran Liberal conceded some Australian Muslims expressed concerns about a breakdown in relations with the government during his consultations.
But it was not what I would regard as the overwhelming response that we were getting,’ he said.
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