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Opinion

Dr Jamal RIFI criticises Muslim Vote: 'The last thing we need in Australia is sectarian partisanship'





Dr Jamal RIFI criticises Muslim Vote: 'The last thing we need in Australia is sectarian partisanship'
05/07/2024
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: Muslim Vote Australia is planning to launch a political campaign to encourage Muslims in Australia to vote against Labor in the upcoming federal election, capitalising on the Muslim community's anger over the government's stance on Gaza. However, the movement has been criticised for its lack of transparency and religious nature, with Dr Jamal Rifi expressing concerns about its negative impact on the political landscape.
A spokesperson for the movement told the ABC that the group was founded out of a desire to "mobilise the Muslim community to vote as one bloc in the upcoming federal election, particularly on the issue of justice in Palestine".
For its part, Labor figures have said that the Prime Minister's Office believes that Senator Fatima Payman may seek to join the movement or form a new party targeting Muslim voters.
However, a spokesperson for Muslim Vote confirmed that "no discussions have been held" with Senator Payman about her partnership with the movement, and that the group's leaders do not know her personally.
“You can’t rule anything out in the future,” the spokesman added, praising Senator Byman’s stance.
“I’m aware of what she’s done… I think it’s a bold and good stance, and certainly Muslim Vote is fully behind her and the Muslim community is behind her.”
Senator Byman declined to comment directly on her future plans to join or form a party, but said on Monday she planned to “think about her future and how best to represent Western Australia.”
She also reiterated her belief in “the true values ​​and principles of the Labor Party.”
Dr. RIFI
In this context, Dr Jamal Rifi, a prominent GP and community activist, described Premier Anthony Albanese’s action in the Fatima Byman case as “wise.”
Dr Rifi said there was no information yet about who was behind the political movement launched by a little-known group called Muslim Vote, which claims to represent the Muslim community in Australia.
“We are a minority in Australia, and we come from countries that suffer from sectarian partisanship, and that’s the last thing we want to see here. I strongly oppose any party based on ethnic or religious grounds, whether Muslim, Christian or otherwise. I believe that the parties in Australia are already diverse, and those who wish to engage in politics should join parties that reflect their views. An MP cannot represent one segment of society, but must represent society in all its spectrums."
Dr. Rifi added that he does not believe that Muslims in Australia need a religious political movement to achieve their interests, as Muslims obtain their rights like other Australians.
We as Muslims obtain our full rights and more, because we are Australian citizens first and then Muslims. The Australian citizen in general obtains his full rights, and this applies to us as well.
Dr. Rifi pointed out that the approach of the group calling for voting in the upcoming parliamentary elections on the basis of religion is not desirable, and that the identity of those leading this campaign must be revealed in order to succeed in political work.
He said: "If you want to work in the political field, you must identify yourselves clearly. When I visited their website, I didn’t find any names, just a contact number, and when I called, either there was no answer or someone refused to identify themselves. I think this movement is not leading us in the right direction.”
In conclusion, Dr. Rifi stressed the importance of knowing friends from enemies in political work.
He said: “They have to differentiate between their friends and their enemies. They are running and pressuring their friends for religious reasons, and this is wrong. Their claim to represent Muslims is harming the cause.”



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