Australian Muslim Community Shows More Faith In NSW Premier Mike Baird Than In Tony Abbott

By @snksounak on
Muslim pilgrims pray after they cast stones at pillars symbolizing Satan, during the annual Haj pilgrimage on Eid al-Adha in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca
Muslim pilgrims pray after they cast stones at pillars symbolizing Satan, during the annual Haj pilgrimage on Eid al-Adha in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, October 5, 2014. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha to mark the end of the Haj pilgrimage by slaughtering sheep, goats, camels and cows to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God's command. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird may succeed where Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has apparently failed. While most of the Islamic organisations in the country have rejected the deradicalisation efforts by the government, Baird seems to have a more sympathetic outlook about the Muslim community in the country.

Baird remembered the Sydney siege in December. He spoke during a Ramadan dinner on Monday. He said young Muslim leaders told him that they had never felt more a part of the Australian society than they did during the Lindt Café situation. According to Baird, it was “an incredible thing” to happen.

Several Muslim leaders find Baird having a “different” perspective about dealing with the Islamic population in Australia. According to Kuranda Seyit, Baird has a totally different understanding about radicalisation. Seyit said that the Victorian government viewed it as a community issue instead of viewing it as a law enforcement issue.

Seyit accused the Abbott government of not willing to listen to the voice of the Muslim community in the country. The secretary of the Islamic Council of Victoria added that the federal government was lacking sincerity.

Seyit referred to Abbott’s appreciation of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s comment that Islam would need a “religious revolution to reverse centuries of false thinking.” According to Seyit, the language is inflammatory and abrasive.

The Board of Imams Victoria spokesman Sheikh Mohamadu Nawas Saleem said that it reduced the anxiety of Muslims in the country when premiers like Baird avoided talking like the Australian prime minister on the issue of radicalization. He said that that Muslims would likely to be more forthcoming to accept the programs once those were “up and running.”

Randa Kattan said that the NSW premier had been a tenacious critic of “Arab-phobia” in the country. “What happened with the federal government is that it’s extremely dismissive of the community, that’s how it feels on the ground,” The Guardian quoted the chief executive of the Arab Council of Australia, “Whereas with the state if feels like it’s a bit different, like they’re actually engaging.”

Baird earlier announced that asylum seekers would have travel concessions on public transport in NSW. He said that Australia, as a “lucky country,” should share its luck to become a “great country.”

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@ibtimes.com.au