Terror alert impacts local Muslim community
MEMBERS of our region's Muslim community say they have witnessed an increase in negative reactions to their presence since the Australian Terrorist Alert was raised to high.
They have been told to be careful to avoid any backlash from the community and are trying to create more awareness of their culture and customs.
Islamic Society of Gladstone assistant secretary Syed Quadri has lived in Gladstone for seven years and said he had seen changes.
"There was an occasion two weeks ago. I was coming out from the Friday prayer in Islamic dress and I stopped at a place; something was said. It was a racist slur and an odd stare," he said.
"It was the first time that has happened to me in the last 10 years."
Society president Dzulkamal Ahmad said he always makes an announcement after Friday prayer.
Mr Dzulkamal said Muslim men dressed like the rest of the community, but most female members wear the hijab and are easy to recognise.
The pair said the society was heavily involved in the community and had good relationships with many different groups, committees and religious organisations.
Mr Quadri said society members were going out of their way to be a part of social groups to work together for a better community and to build an understanding about their culture and religion.
"In Islam, killing one innocent person is as if you have killed the whole humanity. Islam is about peace and not terrorism," he said
"We are trying to get the message out there that we are Australians and we want to be a part of the community so we can all prosper together."
The society welcomes inquiries and would like to appeal to the wider community to get to know Muslims through direct contacts rather than through the media.