Australian Politician Blames Lebanese-Muslim Migrants For Terrorism

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“Do Lebanese Muslim Australians really have to spend their entire lives being questioned and demonized?” asked an online user. “At what point will we say enough?”

 

The Lebanese-Muslim community in Australia was left hurt and angered after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton suggested that allowing their grandparents and parents into the country was a big mistake.

Targeting former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser’s immigration policies from back in the '70s, Dutton singled out the particular minority in federal parliament after Bill Shorten, leader of the opposition, asked him a sardonic question: “Which group of people, from which country, does the minister believe should not have been allowed into Australia?”

The minister responded by linking terrorism to second- and third-generation Australians.

“The advice I have is that out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offenses in this country, 22 of those people are from second and third generation Lebanese-Muslim background,” he said, prompting harsh reactions from other members.

Scores of Lebanese Muslims took to social media to express their emotions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia's Lebanese Muslim Association President, Samier Dandan, issued an impassioned video message for Dutton.

 

“Let us not beat around the bush here, what Mr. Dutton said was racist, what he implied was racist, and the lack of outrage in Parliament reflects on the racism underscoring much of how we talk about minorities in Australia,” said Dandan. “The Australian Lebanese community is not political fodder. Mr. Dutton is accountable for his divisive rhetoric and we would remind him that he and his government's responsibility is to preserve our successful multicultural country.”

The Australian National Imams Council also labeled Dutton's comments “racist” and “outrageous.”

“The ploy of shifting blame exposes the government's abdication of its responsibility to deal effectively with the threat of terrorism,” the council said in a statement. “For more than 40 years Australian Muslims of Lebanese background have been making significant and positive contributions to farming, education, health and much more.”

Meanwhile, amid the outcry of stereotyping Lebanese Muslims, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised Peter Dutton as an “outstanding” Immigration Minister. However, when asked specifically if he supported the minister's rhetoric, Turnbull refused to join in.

 

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