Islamic leader condemns violence
UPDATE: ONLINE readers have responded passionately to today's story about Muslims in Toowoomba.
Islamic Centre co-ordinator Professor Shahjahan Khan of Toowoomba condemned the actions of violent protestors in Sydney at the weekend.
More than 300 protestors, angry about a film that denigrates Islam, clashed angrily with police officers.
Prof Khan believes protestors were extremists, and not true believers of any religion, let alone Islam.
TOOWOOMBA Islamic Centre co-ordinator Professor Shahjahan Khan has condemned the actions of violent protesters, claiming their actions bear no resemblance to any religion.
Australia's leaders have expressed outrage after about 300 people clashed violently with police officers in Sydney at the weekend.
The protesters were angry about a YouTube film that denigrated the Prophet, Mohammad, and the religion of Islam.
"People protesting peacefully with respect to each other and in particular towards the law enforcement agency is okay," Prof Khan said.
"Regardless of religion, these violent acts show the ill-motives of people who want to divide and harm our peaceful community."
Prof Khan said Islam was concerned with peaceful outcomes, much like Christianity.
"In the history of mankind, we have mostly lived peacefully," Prof Khan said.
"I have been living with my friends and neighbours peacefully for 20 years.
"But no one notices the good deeds and peace time harmony.
"If I had a fight, then it would be in the headlines.
"This is the way the world is.
"Evil gets the publicity, and the good doesn't.
"Islam actually means peace.
"Any behaviour promoting extremism is not supported by any religion, let alone Islam."
Prof Khan arrived in Australia in the early 1990s and established the Islamic Centre at USQ in 2000.
In his first year in Australia, Prof Khan invited nine people to his house for prayers and food.
This year, 800 people showed up for the same event - this time held at the Islamic Centre.
"I think Australia is a country welcoming of migrants," he said.
"It is a country of opportunity.
"Sometimes when you are personally victimised it can be quite bad and embarrassing.
"But you sometimes see the other side.
"If someone is being victimised in a shopping centre, others will show concern and ask 'are you okay?'
"Like followers of other religions, Muslims want to live in peace and we live in peace here."