Press Release – 5 September 2008

Why is the Islamic communal leadership deflecting the facts regarding terrorism?

The statement by Ikebal Patel in today’s Age (Wounded soldier flown to Europe, 5 September 2008) with regards to Australia’s wounded soldiers in Afghanistan is a pathetic and devious attempt to deflect the facts regarding international terror and violent Islamism.

 The Age’s Defence correspondent Brendan Nicholson writes:

“Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president Ikebal Patel issued a statement expressing sympathy for the wounded soldiers and their families. He said he was concerned about developments in Afghanistan and the increasing numbers of military and civilian deaths.
And he questioned the continuation of the war and linked the Taliban campaign to the situation in Israel and Palestine.
“There must be a better way to deal with terrorism than by means of war,” Mr Patel said. “We must address the many underlying causes of terrorism and violence, such as the 60-year-old injustices and suffering of Palestinian people at the hands of a brutal Israeli regime.””

“The comments made by Ikebal Patel are outrageous” said Dr Danny Lamm, President State Zionist Council of Victoria. “We are appalled by Mr Patel’s poor attempts to fabricate a correlation between Osama bin-Laden’s inspired Taliban terror and the complex conflict between Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs, under the guise of sympathy for injured Australian soldiers”.

“There is no justification for terror, whether it be against Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, tourists in Bali, commuters in London and Madrid, office workers in New York or civilians on the streets of every city in Israel attacked by terrorists. The locations may vary, but the terrorist perpetrators and their murderous aims are the same – to inflict horror and fear because they can. The very reason why Australian troops are in Afghanistan is because it is a front line and source of Islamic terror in the Middle East, just as it is in Israel” stated Dr Lamm.

“The fact is that the underlying cause of terrorism and violence is the extremist Islamic world’s rejection of western values and our open, democratic way of life. Acts of terror are the Islamic jihadi’s way of violently usurping our lives and the sooner extremist elements of the Australian Islamic leadership openly discuss accountability the better”.

“We ask that the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils immediately distance themselves from Mr Patel’s remarks and clarify his position on the council. It was reported that in May of this year he was stood down by moderates in the council for being too extreme after accusing him of a dictatorial style. It is now important that it is made publicly known if Patel is in a position of leadership and representation in the Islamic community” concluded Dr Lamm.

For more information contact:
SZCV Executive Director, Ginette Searle 9272 5544
SZCV Director of Public Affairs, Elly Shalev 9272 5519
The State Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel.
For more information, please visit the State Zionist Council of Victoria website www.szcvic.org