Religious leaders across Australia have issued a message of love to Muslims, in what they hope will become a viral campaign to counter hatred, divisiveness and marginalisation.
The movement follows the unveiling of a proposed raft of new counter-terrorism laws by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, prompting concern from Islamic organisations that Muslims will be unfairly targeted.
The religious leaders issued a statement saying they will “love Muslims for 100 years” – a reference to a recent headline published by News Corp which misquoted former army chief Peter Leahy as saying “we’ll fight Islam [for] 100 years”.
“We believe people of Muslim faith are being unfairly smeared in the eyes of the Australian public,” the statement read.
“…The violence and values of extremists like ISIS are not representative of the vast majority of Muslim people in Australia, who are recognised better by their commitment to peace, community and mutual respect.”
The statement has signed by more than 150 members of the Christian, Jewish and other religious communities, including Rabbi Zalman Kastel.