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Australians urged not to scapegoat innocents.

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Australians Urged not to Scapegoat Innocents

MPS 158/2001

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, has urged the Australian community not to blame the Australian Muslim and Arabic communities for the devastating recent events in the United States of America.

"Regrettably, there have been reports to my office and my department that Australian Muslim and Arabic communities are being subjected to violence and vilification because of the ridiculous notion that they are somehow associated with the dreadful events in the USA," Mr Ruddock said.

"This is un-Australian and denies people a fair go.

"These communities have a demonstrated commitment to Australia and have stated their abhorrence of terrorism just as much as every other section of the Australian community.

"All sections of the community have condemned what has happened. It is important that we avoid the trap of imputing blame to innocent people.

"What happened in the United States was a direct assault on the foundations underpinning democratic societies and was a gross violation of the principles and values which form the basis of all major religions.

"This has been made clear in the statements made by religious leaders of all major denominations, including Islamic, Protestant, Buddhist and Catholic.

"I join the Prime Minister in asking all Australians to extend to their fellow countrymen and women, whether they are of the Islamic faith, Christian faith, the Jewish faith, or no faith at all, tolerance and decency and inclusion.

"I regret and condemn the incidents directed against Australian Muslims, including abusive

language and threats of violence. Such incidents merely play into the hands of those, like terrorists, who do not share civilised democratic values," Mr Ruddock said.

14 September 2001 Media Inquiries: Steve Ingram (02) 6277 7860

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