Last week’s Parramatta shooting outside the NSW Police headquarters, where gunman Farhad Jabar, 15, fatally shot Curtis Cheng, 58, has stirred up debate about radicalisation of youths in Australia, after it was revealed that Jabar had been radicalised and his attacked was linked to terrorism.

In response, Australian Muslim leaders have gathered to condemn his actions, including the Australian Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed.

Speaking through a translator to media today, he condemned any form of terrorist actives, calling on anyone who supported the shooting to “stop messing with Australia.”

It’s not just a religious problem that may have led to these things,” he said. “It’s a religious idealogical, social and other factors, that may have contributed to this kind of motivations.”

The thing is, he *also* spoke about the need for “proper communication between the families and the community and us,” and that the Australian Muslim leaders believe “that dialogue is the prerequisite of understanding.

And although Dr Mohammed has lived in Australia since 1997, he doesn’t speak English.

The very fact that his points about an open dialogue being key – which, let’s be clear here, are absolutely valid – were communicated through a translator has rankled some members of the community. 


Although Dr Mohammed has had no response to this backlash – valid, all things considered – he has spoken about his inability to speak English before, as this is not the first time it has caused controversy. 

Back in September 2011 when he became Grand Mufti, SBS reporter Seheil Damouny asked him about exactly that.

The dialogue between generations is not restricted to one person, but the values have to be delivered by trusted channels,” he replied. “These channels consist of Imams who can speak English and Arabic well. I value the importance of language and although I may not speak English, I still have a lot to say and contribute. Language is more important than being able to say ‘good morning’ and ‘how are you?’.”

Malcolm Turnbull, while staying well clear of any ‘speak English’ commentary (which has racist connotations), has stressed the importance of condemning hate speech.

“Not all extremist talk – intolerant, hateful speech – not all of it leads to violence. But it’s where all violence begins. And we have to call it out. We have to call out the language, the examples of disrespect, the language of hatred wherever it is practised.”

Read his full Facebook post here:

Violent extremism is a challenge to the most fundamental Australian values. We are the most successful multicultural…

Posted by Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday, 8 October 2015

Image: Twitter.