Brisbane Addresses Islamophobia

Brisbane extends their support and solidarity to the Muslim community. 

In such close proximity to the tragic attacks on mosque attendees in Christchurch on March 15th, members of Australian Muslim communities’ were left devastated and fearful.

The attacks and their hateful intentions have consequentially forced the Australian public, media and politicians to reflect on inherent racism and Islamophobia in our society.

Yet, the Islamic community in Brisbane refuse to let  the attitudes of a handful  individuals prevent them form the important aspects of their day-to-day lives such as Friday Ju’uma Prayers.

Instead, they hope the attack will serve as a reminder of the education and understanding needed to prevent something like this ever happening again.




“We’re going to carry on and welcome everybody to the mosque regardless of who they are.”  – Assistant Imam Mohammed Arafeh of Masjid Mosque.


46 year-old Sabiha Jakupovic is a member of the Muslim community in Brisbane. She is originally from Bosnia and fled the country for a better life.  She is now  a hard-working mother and wife residing in Brisbane city. Here’s what she said in a phone interview.

Q: How did you feel when you learnt about the Christchurch attacks?

A: I was very very sad but I wasn’t surprised. It was a big tragedy for the Muslim community in New Zealand and it even affected us over here as it is so close. I thought, what’s going to happen now? Will it keep happening? I was just worrying of course. I do believe it is a problem though in society. Non- Muslims receive a different picture about Islam and Muslims.

Q: Are you scared that attacks like this will happen again, maybe even closer to home?

A: It did disturb people. Not in the way that they would stop going to the mosque but they are being more cautious maybe. I mean, it definitely brought the community together in a good way after the event. We are more connected not just Muslims but non-Muslims as well. So in the news it was very nice to see non-Muslim people visiting the mosques and bringing them flowers, it is nice to see that people are affected, even non-Muslims. I think safety is a little bit disturbed but I guess you can never anticipate if these things are ever going to happen again. So, we just move on with things. The world is a very weird, weird place at the moment. I don’t think its going to have a huge affect on going to the Mosque and Friday prayer. Maybe even, people are going to the Mosque now more than before.

On the video, it was so sad because we leave the doors open and people can come and go as they please. The man with the gun was welcome in because that’s how it is in the mosque. As soon as he said “Welcome brother” he was shot. That’s real Islam. We are welcoming. The Islam that the media sometimes portrays and the people who are doing things like this, calling themselves Muslims, we are also against that. We value all human lives and that’s what we’ve been taught in the Quran. That’s what it tells us to do. That’s really sad because some of the stories we hear about Muslims being bad and creating terror and that people think Islam is an evil religion, it’s really hurtful.

Q: You say people don’t understand Islam. What would you like to see improve in the media’s portrayal of Muslims and how politicians are addressing this issue? Do you think the current portrayal is problematic?

A: The way they handle things when something like this happens, the way they interpret things, affects all communities. So I think they can be careful and sensitive about things when something like this happens. Some people because of the wrong portrayal of Islam, think that people deserved for this to happen to them in New Zealand and that is not the case. It’s a very sensitive and huge issue for politicians and the media to pay attention to how things are said and call them as they are. Any act of a Muslim person doing terror is labelled terrorism right away. But, it isn’t as clearly labelled as that when someone from another ethnicity or religion does it.

I do think though,  it was nice to see though how well New Zealand and their Prime Minister handled it. All the communities came together and they supported the Muslim community. I think the actions and intentions of the man who did it in a way backfired, because he actually brought people together.

By Georgie Hewson