CAIRO - Australian Muslims are worried of a backlash against the sizable minority after anti-terror raids on houses and an Islamic center in the city of Melbourne, The Australian reported on Thursday, September 13.
The Muslim community will blame the federal police because they publicized this, Imam Ibrahim Omerdic told reporters outside the Noble Park mosque.
Maybe they find nothing, and from one stupid man, everyone will (be) poisoned.
And now, especially humble women and children in schools will be pointed out.
Australian police raided homes and an Islamic center in suburban Melbourne, the capital of Victoria State.
Computer equipment, including a memory stick, was seized along with a number of registered firearms and fake weapons, police said.
The Islamic Council of Victoria said the police had briefed members of the Muslim community about the raids.
"The last thing we want is any kind of terrorist attack anywhere in the world, let alone in Australia, Sherene Hassan of the Islamic Council of Victoria told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
And it's very reassuring that the authorities are being very vigilant in keeping our community safe.
A 23-year-old man appeared in court on Thursday with four counts of "collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts".
He will remain in custody until his next court appearance in December. He could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted of the charges.
Australia, a staunch US ally, has gradually tightened its national security laws since the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Under those laws, police can detain a person for up to seven days for questioning.
Australia has never suffered a major peacetime attack on home soil, although 88 Australians were killed in 2002 nightclub bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali and Australia's embassy in Jakarta was bombed in 2004.
Australian authorities have disrupted four major plots since 2000, with 23 people convicted of terrorism offences.
Australian Muslim leaders criticized the police for publicizing the raids, calling for apology.
The federal police, they should come out in front (of) camera, Omerdic said.
... they have to say they're sorry (for) what's going on, (and) next time if they're going to raid, to raid without journalists, without cameras, he said.
They're going to damage the minority Muslim community.
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.