A group of Muslims has delivered leaflets to houses in Hobart in an effort to reducing hatred and ignorance directed towards their faith.
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community have posted the material, titled Muslims for Loyalty and Muslims for Peace, across Hobart suburbs.
Messages include quotes from Muslim leaders, including “Love of one’s country of residence is part of faith,” from the head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya community and “The Quran is absolutely clear on the point that obedience to governmental authority is mandatory”, from the community’s founder.
Ahmadiyya Muslim community Tasmanian state president Doctor Aamir Mahmoud said he hoped the campaign would change the way people think about and interact with Muslims.
“You’ve just got through what’s happening in the world … there are images, not good images regarding Muslims that they are not good to their country,” he said.
“We want to express from our words, from our deeds, from our actions that whatever the other people are saying, they are wrong.
We are loyal to our country, and it is Australia here so from the deep core of the heart, we are very loyal to Australia.<br />
Dr Mahmoud moved to Deloraine, in Tasmania’s north, with his wife and two children six years ago. The GP is highly regarded in the community, but admitted it took some time to establish rapport.
“When I came in 2010, most of the people were afraid to talk to me, to come to me,” he said.
Dr Mahmoud hoped the messages would help educate those who are ignorant about Islam.
“(I hope) to change the mind of people. To get very clear concept to them that if some people or a group of people or a person is doing something wrong, it should not be related to every person.”
Move sparked by rise of One Nation, Reclaim Australia parties
Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Victoria and Tasmania, Wadood Janud, agreed the campaign was aimed at promoting peace, through education.
“With the rise of One Nation, Reclaim Australia, a lot of people think that Muslims have a personal agenda,” he said.
“We understand where that kind of stereotype comes from, but we want to do our part in taking away that stereotype, through such campaigns.”
Imam Janud said Australian identity is central to its message.
“We want our fellow Australians to understand that before any faith, we’re Australians. After being Australians, we are also Muslim but that is only our faith,” Imam Janud said.
“Loving and serving the country of your residence is a part of your faith.”
The Muslims for Peace campaign was born several years ago and has since spread across the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.
Leaflet drops have also taken place in other Australian states, but it’s only recently begun in Hobart. Imam Janud said the reaction had been positive.
“People have been coming out and saying ‘we didn’t know that this was what Muslims believe in’,” he said.
The movement has the backing of church leaders, including Hobart Muslim Community leader Imam Sabri Samson.
“I’m very supportive of the message, in fact the message is the exactly the same as the general Muslims in the world,” he said.