A LEADER of the Hervey Bay Muslim Community Centre has condemned the actions of the "fake sheikh" behind the siege in Sydney, and fears the attack will incite hatred against law-abiding Muslims in our region.
His sentiments have been echoed by other religious leaders, including Maryborough pastor Chris Foley who has urged the community to stand together against terrorism.
Khaled Shahin said extremists represented less than 1% of Muslims but their actions seemed to dictate how the world saw the religion.
"Islam is a religion of peace," he said.
Dr Shahin said some people had been brainwashed by extremist views but that was not true of the majority of Muslims.
He and other members of the Pialba Muslim community centre declined to be photographed on Tuesday because of fears that there could be repercussions from the wider community.
Dr Shahin called on the community to recognise the actions of extremists did not represent the sentiments of law-abiding Australian Muslims.
Fraser Coast politician and Christian leader Chris Foley agreed with Dr Shahin, saying it would be "un-Australian" not to give people a fair go, regardless of their background.
Mr Foley added that it was important for the Muslim community to continue denouncing the terrorism of extremists when it surfaced.
But he said people in the community saw the difference between "this murderous criminal" and peace-loving Muslims.
"In light of this tragedy we need to stand together in unity and in memory of this horrific crime against innocent people," he said.
Dr Shahin said the Muslim community was as saddened as anyone by what had happened in Sydney.
"It's very hard to watch," Dr Shahin said of the terrible images being screened from Sydney.
"It's very hard to see that, very sad to see that.
"We as Muslims are totally, completely against that."