The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) has called upon the Australian government to utilise its influential position to exert pressure on the Indian government to put an end to the continuous persecution of Muslims and other minority groups in the country.
The ICV’s plea comes amidst the backdrop of a robust relationship between Australia and India, prompting the council to assert that Australia should leverage its strong ties to advocate for human rights and the cessation of violence against minorities.
Australia’s relationship with India has been touted as a pillar of shared values and interests, highlighted by the warm welcome given to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit in May. The Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, praised Modi, likening him to a “boss” and commending his contributions to strengthening democracy and inclusivity.
An ICV media release mentioned that the two nations have underscored common interests in regional security within the Indo-Pacific area and in promoting trade, exemplified by the recent “Quad” naval exercises that showcased Australia’s alignment with India.
Given these strong ties, the ICV asserts that Australia holds significant leverage to hold the Indian government accountable for the escalating violence and oppression faced by Muslims and other minority communities within the country. While debates could arise over the compatibility of India’s version of democracy with Australia’s inclusive society, the evidence of the perilous conditions for non-Hindu citizens in India remains undeniable.
More than 40 Muslim community organisations and peak bodies, including the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV), ANIC, and AFIC, have united in a collective effort by signing an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Albanese.
ICV President Adel Salman told NRI Affairs, “Australia has remained silent for too long about the alarmingly deteriorating human rights for India’s Muslims and other minorities. We can upon our Prime Minister to publicly condemn the violence and to pressure the Modi government to act.”
The letter calls upon the Australian Prime Minister to implore his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Modi, to take swift and comprehensive measures to bring an end to the ongoing violations of human rights against minorities within India. Dated August 14, 2023, the open letter highlights the urgency of the situation and underscores the need for immediate action.
The ICV emphasised that Australia must avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, wherein economic and security interests took precedence over human rights concerns. The council stresses that safeguarding the rights of persecuted individuals globally must be prioritised over short-term gains, demonstrating a commitment to principles of justice and equality.
The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) website, it is the foremost representative body for Muslims in the state of Victoria, “with a network of 76 member societies, encompassing more than 100 ethnically varied communities, collectively representing around 270,000 Muslims”.