It is with horror that once again we witness the name of Islam associated with senseless murder.
Investigations are to continue and the Australian community is more hopeful of a fair and just investigation than perhaps it has been in the recent past. A new Prime Minister who speaks of unity and co-operation, preceded by the Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and the Premier Mike Baird, encourages the Muslim community with leadership that discourages the inevitable discrimination and isolation of a whole community due to the actions of a few.
Whatever the root cause of a 15 year old teenager - too young to have a license, barely old enough to be employed - that is behind such a senseless killing, this is a tragedy for everyone involved. While mental illness is most frequently cited as behind such actions, that there is a problem globally with the hijacking of Islam for political purposes and by those who deny it's inherently just and peaceful source is acknowledged by most - either within or outside of the Muslim community. How to deal with it is a different matter altogether. There are any programs running around the country, however their success rate has not been researched, and their reach is tiny considering the funding allocated. Naming and shaming those with hateful speech only encourages their claim of persecution and increases the divide within the community.
AMWA is actively researching what has worked and what has not. Our belief is that education is one of the best sources of counteracting the twisted teachings that result in the atrocities we witness regularly around the world. Unfortunately education is not a short term solution, and it requires solid research and the support of recognised scholars - many of whom have been uprooted due to the conflict in countries that previously had institutions of learning that have been established for generations. It has been claimed that many notable scholars whose lineage trace back to the time of the Prophet, and whose teachers are legendary, have been killed through the carnage sweeping across the Middle East.
Certainly change is needed. In Australia we need new leadership in the Muslim community, and a generation of young people who can believe in the leadership that is provided. The years of a Liberal government that made a mockery of consultation, and engaged in constant finger pointing and questioning appears to have been replaced with a wiser, more consultative voice. This is welcomed. Australian Muslims have a lot to offer the wider Australian community if only it can unite more and act decisively to recognise and respond to its challenges.