Muslim leaders boycot discussions to stop terrorism

A proposed round table to discuss how Australia could better identify and stop extremism will be boycotted by Muslim leaders this week in response to comments from Prime Minister Scott Morrison who said religious leaders were “making excuses”.

On 9 November 2018, at around 4:10 pm, a man set fire to a Holden Rodeo ute on Bourke Street between Swanston Street and Russell Street, in Melbourne’s Central Business District. The attacker emerged from the vehicle before it burst into flames. Police stated that there were propane gas cylinders in the vehicle, but they did not explode.[2]

Bourke STreet Mall East, Melbourne

The man then went on a stabbing spree with a large knife and wounded three pedestrians, one of whom was later pronounced dead at the scene. The attacker was then confronted by two Victoria Police patrol officers who arrived at the scene. A member of the public also attempted to ram a shopping trolley into the attacker.[3] After slashing at the police officers, the attacker was shot once in the chest by one of the officers. The attacker was then restrained and taken to receive medical treatment under guard, but later died in hospital.[4]

The attack is considered to be “terror-related” by police.[5] Police have confirmed that the attack was ISIS-inspired.[6] Islamic State has taken responsibility through its Amaq news website.[7][8][9]

Police identified the attacker as 30-year-old Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who moved to Australia from Somalia in the 1990s with his parents and siblings, and attended Al-Taqwa Islamic College. He was married with a young son.[10]

Sisto Malaspina, aged 74, was killed when the perpetrator stabbed him above his collar bone. Eyewitnesses said it appeared Malaspina was walking over to the car after it burst into flames to offer assistance, when he was stabbed. A former nurse tried to revive him by performing CPR but the stabbing had punctured a major artery causing too much blood to be lost.[18]

Those injured were a 58-year-old retired businessman from Launceston, Tasmania,[20] who suffered knife injuries to the head and was taken to the Alfred Hospital for surgery[21] and a 24-year-old security guard from Hampton Park who received lacerations and was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.[22]

Prime Minister Scott Morrison received criticism for a statement he made on television suggesting that Muslim communities in Australia were partly responsible for failing to report extremism,[24] with the Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, responding that Morrison’s position constituted “serious discrimination” against Muslims and blaming security agencies for failing to prevent the attack.

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