Aust Muslims fear backlash

“This is not an anti-Muslim action,” he told the Seven Network.

“This is action being taken by the police because they believe the law has been broken.

“I say to my fellow Australians who are Muslims, you are part of our community, we value you, we want you to fully participate in Australian life.”

“But we also want you to understand that people who have anti-social attitudes, people who support terrorism, are your enemies as much as they are the enemies of the rest of the Australian community.”

A key Muslim leader said he is meeting with government ministers to ask for greater protection for his community, with violence against Muslims on the rise well before the raids on Tuesday.

Dr Ameer Ali, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, also warned radical clerics to tone down their rhetoric.

“I want to get more information about what has happened over the last 48 hours and secondly I also want the government to assure my community that they will not allow the rednecks in this country to exploit the situation and create disharmony in this society,” he told reporters.

He’s called on law enforced to provide extra protection for Muslims at places of worship, schools and areas where many Muslims live.

Dr Ali also sent a blunt message to radical clerics to refrain from preaching intolerance.

“This is a country that believes in pluralism, it’s a multicultural society … Your religion does not preach intolerance and I ask them not to hijack the religion.”

The leader of another Muslim Group, the Forum on Australia’s Islamic Relations, said Tuesday’s raids are the Muslim community’s worst nightmare come true.

Kuranda Seyit told AAP that the raids sweeping the country will further alienate Australian Muslims from the wider community.

“They are creating the impression that there are Muslim baddies crawling all over the place,” Mr Seyit said.

He said the arrests has set back efforts to create a positive climate between Muslims and non-Muslims, and described both the raids and subsequent media coverage as “rash”.

“And this is just going to impact on plain, average Australian citizens who happen to be Muslims as well,” he said.

However he said FAIR welcomes the arrests, if it can be proven that the suspects were legitimately planning an attack.

Of Australia’s population of 20 million people, around 300,000 are Muslim.

Most of the 17 men arrested in Tuesday’s raids are Australian citizens, and many of them born in the country.