Sunday, January 20, 2008

Calling for an accountable AFIC

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, established since the early 1970's, has long been regarded as the official representative of the Muslim community in Australia. While local organisations struggled to be established, and State Islamic Councils were generally representative bodies, this was a credible assumption during the initial years. AFIC was widely consulted and included in fund raising, the purchase of land and the initial development of new associations and entities. In recent times however, the burgeoning Muslim community has effectively established its own schools, mosques, economic and welfare institutions independent of the Federation. Most of these substantial enterprises are neither recognised nor accommodated by AFIC. AFIC's own questionable economic management, dubious political history and lack of any form of transparency has rendered it a body that has no real credibility in the Muslim community today. While it retains its role as the only National body, and maintains affiliation with many of the Islamic societies throughout Australia, it's lack of authority and inability to provide meaningful leadership are contentious for Australian Muslims. This is reflected in today's call by Muslim Women's National Network leader, Aziza Abdel Halem (Leaders want Islamic taskforce return) for an Islamic consultative body - similar to the ill fated Muslim Community Reference Group - to be re-established, at both national and state levels. While it's performance was disastrous, the Muslim Community Reference Group at least attempted to include the voice of a range of ethnic and professional groups, as well the important (and currently silenced voices in AFIC) of women and youth.
It will not be easy for the new Rudd government to pick it's way through the fractious political landscape of older early migrant associations and the young achievers amongst Australian born Muslims. It would be far easier for politicians, professionals and activists of all colours to deal with a single representative body that the AFIC once purported to be. It is time for the Federation to shed it's past, recognise and embrace the vast range of Australian Muslim expertise that has developed outside of its influence, and for once, become truly accountable to its community.


Anonymous said...

AFIC is so moribund, corrupt and irrelevant that Mulsims may as well ignore it and let it die. Yes starting a Mulsim Reference group would be a start.

I believe that our only real future is with some form of government involvement and oversight sad as it may be.

Other countries have dedveloped legislation controlling how Muslim minority communities manage themselves or are managed. I beliueve we should develop ideas for legislation our selves so as we have a say in how we are managed.

If we don't it is inevitable that the government will impose something on us.

It is horrific to think that they might decide to take the easy way out and decide to make it AFIC

Anonymous said...

You talk of building bridges, why do your people LIE to achieve what they want? The Bass Hill project was the perfect example of what devious means your people will go to so that they can get what they want. The Bass Hill saga was disgusting. Using a sham company, GardenView Apartments, to purchase the land saying it was for housing, then wanting to use it for a school. This did nothing for your cause, it showed everyone what a bunch of liars and sneaks you are! You want everyone to think that you are great people,honest and trustworthy. What a load of rubbish. You will do whatever it takes to achieve what you want. You are a most undesirable type of people, and it is no wonder that people react the way they do when the word "Muslim" is spoken in connection to anything. And you have no one to blame but yourselves. You don't want to live in harmony with the rest of Australia, your schools with their high walls around them keeping the rest of society out, this isn't building bridges, it is building mistrust to the rest of the "community". Shame on the lot of you!