Australia launches its first Muslim political party

Sydney, Nov 17 (IANS) Australia’s first party representing Muslims was launched on Tuesday. It which intends to contest senate seats at the next federal election.

Sydney resident, 34-year-old businessman Diaa Mohamed unveiled the Australian Muslim Party, and is confident of signing up to 500 members needed to allow it to register for the Senate ballot paper, ABC reported.

He said the party would provide a platform for his community on the national political stage, after criticism that “Muslims were not loud enough” in the public debate.

“Maybe it is because we didn’t know how, or we were a bit too fragmented, so hopefully this will at least give us that opportunity,” Mohamed said.

Mohamed also defended the decision to launch the party in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, revealing he and his supporters almost called off the launch.

“There are going to be a lot of questions raised in the coming days of the events recently, and this is the whole reason we created this party. So, it is as good a time as any to launch it,” he said.

Prominent Sydney Muslim community leader Jamal Rifi said it was timely for someone to step up and share the burden of representing Australia’s Muslims.

He said political representation was the best way to counteract notions that Islam and Muslims are not compatible with the Australian way of life.

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