Muslims object to new powers Print E-mail
Monday, 26 September 2005


The former Qantas baggage handler Bilal Khazal, who is facing trial for inciting terrorism, was one of about 300 Muslims and sympathisers who gathered in Parry Park at Punchbowl to call for an end to the Government's "draconian" anti-terrorism laws.


Agnes Chong of the Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network said the community was concerned about the legislation, which will include police powers to detain suspects without charge for a fortnight.


"We know of at least 18 people who have been questioned and detained under ASIO warrants," she said, adding that the secrecy involved meant little was known of each case. "Do you want the same thing that is happening elsewhere in the world happening in Australia? … We are not going to stand for this. We have to use every legitimate means to prevent unjust laws …"


Khazal, 35, has pleaded not guilty. His trial begins in April.


Chaaban Omran, the president of Australian Muslim Students and Youth, said: "As Australians, we just want to be treated like everyone else. We don't wish to have all these laws set out that will lead to us becoming targets."

Dr Zachariah Matthews from the Islamic Council of NSW, called for an end to "journalism of hatred", saying sections of the media were peddling untruths about Muslims: "We are not asking for favourable treatment, we are asking for true journalism."


Lee Glendinning

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 2005

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