CAIRO - Australian Muslim community leaders have voiced concerns about pressures they are facing from spy agencies, putting them under constant surveillance or stressing them to work as informants in their community.
"There's a general feeling of living under suspicion and being under surveillance constantly," Mohamad Tabbaa, Islamic Council of Victoria executive member, told Australian paper The Telegraph.
"It's very common knowledge around the mosques, especially, that most people have been contacted by Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) or have been asked to attend an interview or things like that, he added.
He added that ASIO and the AFP (Australian Federal Police) had contacted Muslims as part of counter-terrorism operations.
Tabbaa's comments preceded a meeting with other council members at a forum on police racial profiling held by the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre.
His concerns were not new.
Over the past months, Muslims have complained that they were targeted by spy agencies asking them to work as secret agents or informants inside their community.
The method was repeatedly condemned by Muslims as taking a wrong way.
Victoria Police has launched a separate inquiry into racial profiling as part of a legal settlement reached with six young men of African background.
He noted that worshippers attending Preston Mosque had complained of being targeted by intelligence agencies.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
In post 9/11-era, Australian Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
A 2007 poll taken by the Issues Deliberation Australia (IDA) think-tank found that Australians basically see Islam as a threat to the Australian way of life.
A recent governmental report revealed that Muslims are facing deep-seated Islamophobia and race-based treatment like never before.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net