By BI: Calls by Australian Parliament members for Christians to be given priority among Syrian refugees are discriminatory and reinforce a sense Muslims “are always going to be vilified in the Australian community,” the country’s highest Sunni authority has said.
The Guardian Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, Australia’s grand mufti, said choosing refugees based on religion or ethnicity was the very kind of sectarian thinking “that got Iraq and Syria into the problems they’re facing now”. “When it comes to catastrophes such as these we should be prioritizing human beings rather than prioritizing a certain religion,” he told Guardian Australia.
The employment minister, Eric Abetz, said on Tuesday that Christians in the Middle East were “the most persecuted group in the world” and should be favoured if Australia increases its intake of fleeing Syrians.
Another frontbencher, Barnaby Joyce, made similar comments on Friday, telling ABC Radio that many in the region were also being persecuted, but it was “the reality [that] the future of Christianity in that area is over”.
Abu Mohamed said Australian Muslims were “feeling yet another form of discrimination, or marginalisation and of targeting” “Statements like this, in their clarity of discrimination against Muslims … assert the counter narrative that Muslims are always going to be discriminated against and vilified in the Australian community,” he said.