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Thursday, 18 October 2007
AMCRAN was founded in April 2004 by Agnes Chong, Waleed Kadous, Amir Butler and Jalal Chami. As individuals, they had contributed to parliamentary inquiries about the anti-terrorism laws before that time, but it became clear that the Muslim community was not well-equipped to deal with this new legal challenge. The new anti-terror laws were not specific to Muslims, but they had a disproportionate impact on them. Four months after its foundation, AMCRAN released its first publication: Terrorism Laws: ASIO, the Police and You in cooperation with the UTS Community Law Centre and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. It was launched at NSW Parliament House by Justice John Dowd and Senator Kerry Nettle, the same day that two of the founders appeared before a senate committee.  In October 2004, Agnes Chong and Waleed Kadous were nominated for a Law and Justice Foundation Volunteer award.

Since its inception, AMCRAN has conducted community legal seminars on topics related to the law and the Muslim community, including discrimination and vilification law, sedition offences and the impact of the anti-terror laws on the Muslim community. They have also been heavily involved in advocacy and have appeared regularly before parliamentary committees, presenting an Islamic perspective on legal issues. A hallmark of their activities has been the cooperation with other community and legal groups, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

At the end of 2005, AMCRAN was part of a coalition of non-government, legal and community groups opposing the Government's suite of proposals to introduce control orders, preventative detention and sedition offences. The coalition was deeply involved in the campaign to speak out about the laws and raise awareness about their effect, operation and enforcement. Some of the more draconian aspects of the proposals were abandoned, but many of the new powers and offences were introduced. Unfortunately, the second edition of the Terrorism Laws booklet had just been completed, and these new laws made it obsolete before it was printed. 

In November 2007, AMCRAN restructured itself to enable a new phase in its development. An AMCRAN Board was created that was responsible for the long-term vision and planning of AMCRAN, with convenors in different areas responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation. Agnes Chong and Waleed Kadous stepped down as convenors and joined the Board, along with Dr Zachariah Matthews, Vicki Sentas and Asmi Wood. Ayishah Ansari was appointed Legal Convenor (NSW), Sanmati Verma was appointed Legal Convenor (Victoria) and Nabiha Gable was appointed Administrative Convenor.  In July 2008, AMCRAN launched the third edition of the Terrorism Laws booklet in English as well as three community languages: Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia and Urdu.
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