Sydney man Diaa Mohamed has launched the Australian Muslim Party today and is confident he can gain the 500 members needed to be allowed to register on the Senate ballot paper.
Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten said: ‘I don’t necessarily want to see religion being a lightning rod for people being for or against a particular party. I don’t think that is going to help the debate about inclusion and multiculturalism.’
However Mr Mohamed stressed that people of all faiths were welcome to join the Party.
He said the party was formed because of growing anti-Islamic sentiment in Australia.
‘Four or five anti-Islamic parties are being created and we thought we need to do something to address that.’
Jill Sheppard, lecturer at the Australian National University’s school of politics and international relations, said the new party would counter the recent rise in anti-immigration parties like the Love Australia or Leave Party.
‘This redresses that imbalance a little bit – the very loud anti-immigration voices tend to get more attention than they deserve,’ she said.
It could also help young Muslims feel more engaged with the community and politics, she said.
Prominent Sydney Muslim community leader Jamal Rifi said it was timely for someone to step up and share the burden of representing Australia’s Muslims.
Kim Vuga, founder of the recently established Love Australia or Leave Party has hit back saying that the Australian Muslim Party would segregate Australia further. She continues: ‘We’re already a nation divided. We haven’t sorted out the Muslim issue. Our cultures are incompatible and we need to be sorting out the Muslim problem that exists here before we take any more [refugees and Muslim immigrants].’
When asked whether he considered himself an Australian or a Muslim, Mr Mohamed answered with:
“I’m a Muslim first, absolutely”.
P. Antonopoulos is currently a Candidate for an MA Degree, writing his dissertation on the Saudi-Iranian Geopolitical Rivalry in the Syrian War.
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