Australian PM Calls on Muslims to Speak Out Against Terror

September 11, 2006

Source: BBC News

On September 11, 2006 BBC News reported, "Australian Prime Minister John Howard has called on moderate Muslims to be more critical of terrorism. In comments to mark the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US, Mr Howard said: 'No decent genuine Muslim would support terrorism.' He also said Muslims must fully accept that Israel had a right to exist. Islamic leaders in Australia have reacted angrily to the comments, saying Mr Howard should not single out Muslims for criticism. 'Instead of constantly singling out Muslim people, he should be trying to promote cohesion,' the president of the Islamic Friendship Association, Keysar Trad, told Reuters news agency. Mr Howard reaffirmed Australia's commitment to fighting terrorism during a special anniversary ceremony in Canberra. He said that what happened five years ago was 'an attack on the values that the entire world holds in common. We ... gather to reaffirm our commitment both as friends and allies of the people of the United States but also as citizens of the world to maintain the fight against terrorism,' he said. Australia has gradually strengthened its anti-terrorism laws since the events of 11 September 2001, and national police chief Mick Keelty said the nation was now safer than it had been then, because the level of awareness had increased. But Muslim leaders say their community has been unfairly targeted by authorities."