Federal leaders have joined the head of the mosque linked to last week’s terror killing in Sydney to tell anyone who doesn’t like the Australian way of life to leave the country.
Amid renewed efforts to work with the Muslim community to halt the spread of violent extremism following the murder of a Sydney police accountant by a 15-year-old boy, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on all Australians to adopt a code of “mutual respect”.
He insisted the execution of police accountant Curtis Cheng seven days earlier was a politically and religiously motivated act of terrorism.
Mr Turnbull, who has called an urgent meeting of security chiefs to discuss what more can be done to counter the spread of violent extremism, said it was not “compulsory to live in Australia”.
“If you find Australian values unpalatable, then there’s a big wide world out there and people have got freedom of movement,” he said in Sydney on Friday.
It was a view endorsed by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
“If you really hate Australia, then you should go,” he told reporters in Tasmania.
The comments came as the chairman of the Parramatta mosque – where 15-year-old Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar prayed last Friday before dressing in traditional Muslim garb and walking to the police building where he shot and killed Mr Cheng – said Muslims who reject Australian values should “get out”.
In his first sermon since the shooting, Neil El-Kadomi told hundreds of worshippers gathered for Friday prayers that “if you don’t like Australia, leave”.
After prayers, Mr El-Kadomi said that many Muslim people had waited a long time to come to Australia.
“You should not abuse the privilege you are Australian, which is very important,” he said.
“We do not need scumbags in the community.”
The prime minister met with seven Muslim leaders in Sydney on Friday, later saying all spoke of a determination to work together.
“Whether we are over this weekend at church or at home, at a mosque, wherever we are, I want to encourage Australians of all faiths, or of no faith, to reflect on this fundamental value of mutual respect,” Mr Turnbull said.
The Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed did not attend the meeting with the prime minister, instead sending his political adviser, Samir Bennegadi.
Dr Mohamed instead spoke at a media conference held at the same time to address the fall-out from last week’s shooting.
But the grand mufti, while telling those with radical views to “stop messing with Australia and its society”, did not describe Mr Cheng’s murder as terrorism.
“Sadly, a very, very small number of Australians of Muslim faith have chosen this path,” he told reporters through an interpreter.
“We refuse and reject any form of terrorist activities, whether this – if it’s proven to be a terrorist act – or any other,” he added.
Mr El-Kadomi, speaking after prayers, rejected suggestions the Parramatta mosque was a breeding ground for extremism.
“I’m not hiding anything. You see in the mosque, there’s not guns in it,” he said.
“We reject terrorism.”
Authorities are still trying to discover how Jabar got the .38 calibre revolver used to murder Mr Cheng and how he was prompted to commit the killing.
Three of four males arrested in Wednesday’s dawn raids have since been released.
An 18-year-old man remains in custody without charge after investigators applied for a court order extending his stay behind bars.
A small group of anti-Islam protesters gathered outside Parramatta mosque on Friday afternoon, saying multiculturalism has failed.
About 20 people, linked to the Party for Freedom, waved signs denouncing Islam.
“You hate society,” Party For Freedom leader Nick Folkes yelled at an opposing crowd gathered about 100 metres away, separated by a strong police presence.