Inside Page Baner

New working group formed to help address concerns around extremism

Published: 25 June 2015

New working group formed to help address concerns around extremism
Logan City Councillors met with local Muslim leaders on 4 June.

In light of community concerns and misconceptions around extremism, the Logan: City of Choice Leadership Team has formed a working group to improve community dialogue on the issue.

The working group will discuss a range of initiatives, including a potential series of World Cafes across the city at which the community can come together in open and respectful discussion.

Logan: City of Choice Leadership Team Chair Jude Munro said it was particularly important to address misconceptions regarding the Muslim community, and give local Muslims a voice through which they can continue to denounce extremism - something the Logan community has been calling for.

In a recent conversation with a number of Logan City Councillors and Ms Munro, six local Muslim leaders expressed frustration at the inability to have their views on extremism aired through mainstream media.

Dr Nora Amath, Chairperson of AMARAH (Australian Muslim Advocates for the Rights of All Humanity), said people of the Islamic faith were against violence and radicalisation, and that members of the Muslim community were involved in extensive outreach and interfaith dialogue to reinforce that stance.

"It is very important that the issue of combating all forms of extremism is a collective effort, from grassroots to media to government, rather than just from one entity," Dr Amath said.

"Dialogues like these are an important starting point, which we hope will lead to better initiatives to empower communities so that everyone feels included, feels like they have safe place to belong. This is perhaps one of the most important roles for the leadership of Logan City Council."

This was echoed by Associate Professor Mohamad Abdalla, the Founding Director of the Griffith Islamic Research Unit and the Director of the Queensland node of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies (a consortium with the University of Melbourne and the University of Western Sydney).

Dr Abdalla said local mosques delivered strong messages against anti-extremism during sermons every Friday, and regularly released statements denouncing the actions of groups such as ISIS.

He also said mosques ran programs to help young people make wise decisions and help counter online campaigns by extremist organisations.

Logan: City of Choice Leadership Team Chair, Jude Munro, said that now was the time to build bridges - not walls - in the community.