The Affinity Intercultural Foundation is deeply concerned over the reports presented in The Australian newspaper re the incidents in Syria and Iraq, particularly of the photo showing a young boy holding a decapitated head. We strongly condemn the motif behind this image as no child should be put in this unsavoury position.

Islam demands places of worship to be protected and to safe guard the human rights of all citizens including minorities who are under your care. What we have seen in Syria and Iraq is the destruction of homes and sacred places. We have also seen the blatant disregard of free will with the militant group’s abrasive manner to either kill or coerce their ideological position on others. This manner is contrary to the teachings of Islam.

Ahmet Keskin, Executive Director of the Affinity Intercultural Foundation said “The situation that’s unfolding in Iraq and Syria is deeply concerning. Just like it was said immediately after 911 by Fethullah Gulen that ‘A Terrorist can NOT be a Muslim, nor can a Muslim be a Terrorist’, we see these sentiments ring true when we hear of the heinous acts being committed in the name of Islam. As it has been mentioned before, Islam values life immensely and to kill one person is likened to killing the whole of humanity”.

We trust the Australian community will be able to separate the actions of overseas terrorists and not conflate the situation with the local Muslim community who are trying to get on with their daily lives.

We also would like to express our condolences to people who have lost loved ones in the region as a result of oppression. We also hope the global community could work together to find a diplomatic, sustained solution to cement long term peace in the region.

Affinity will be hosting a panel on this very topic on Tuesday, 2nd of September at 12:30pm titled Understanding the sectarian dimensions of the conflicts in Syria & Iraq.

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About Affinity Intercultural Foundation (AIF)

The AIF is an intercultural dialogue organisation established to specifically focus on relationship building between cultures and faiths. It is a not-for-profit organisation seeking to promote mutual respect, seek understanding and unconditional acceptance of the different members of our diverse society.