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Media Release: AIS Condemns Violence and Photo


AIS condemns the violence in Iraq and Syria and photo of the 7-yr old boy

14 August 2014

The Australian Intercultural Society strongly condemns the incident in which a young boy is made to hold a severed head and pose for a photograph. No child should ever be put in this position. This image and the actions behind this are contrary to everything that Islam stands for.

The AIS is deeply concerned by the violent actions of IS militants in Syria and Iraq who are brutally killing all who stand against them, demolishing homes and destroying historic sacred sites.

They display blatant disregard for free will and human rights in the way that they either kill or force their ideological position on others.

This brutality is contrary to the teachings of Islam and an affront to humanity.
Islam demands that places of worship be protected and that the human rights of all be safe-guarded, regardless of their backgrounds, beliefs or ethnicity. 

Ahmet Polat, executive director of the Australian Intercultural Society, said the situation that is unfolding in Iraq and Syria is deeply concerning and absolutely contrary to the true principles of Islam and Muslims.

“Those who conduct or support this violence might claim to act in the name of religion but the reality is that, in the words of contemporary Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen who said, ‘A terrorist can NOT be a Muslim, nor can a Muslim be a terrorist’.
“Islam values life immensely and the Quran clearly states that killing one person is just like killing the whole of humanity,” Mr Polat said.

We trust the Australian community will understand that the despicable actions of these terrorists represent the inexcusable actions of a minority and that they do not find support with ordinary Muslims in Australia or anywhere.

We deeply regret that these murders claim to speak in the name of Islam and we reject completely everything they do.

We express our most profound condolences to all people who have lost loved ones in the region as a result of the violence.

We also hope that all Australians, whatever their faith, identity or heritage, can work together with the global community in helping those in need, protecting the persecuted and finding sustainable solutions to achieving long-lasting peace in the region.

About the Australian Intercultural Society (AIS)

The Australian Intercultural Society (AIS) is a Melbourne based not for profit working to bring people together from different cultural, religious or other diverse backgrounds through various projects, such as the Annual State Parliament Iftar Dinner, study tours to Turkey and the Luncheon Series. 

For media enquiries, please contact:
Esma Yucel
Executive Officer at the Australian Intercultural Society
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office: 03 9867 2248 (M-Th, 10am-5pm)
Mobile: 0433 201 433 (available all hours)

The pdf form of this document can be downloaded here.

AIS Executive Director Attends "House of Service" Book Launch

On 13 August 2014, Deakin University's Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation celebrated the launch of a new book from Dr David Tittensor, titled The House of Service: The Gulen Movement and Islam's Third Way. The launch featured a talk by Professor Greg Barton from Monash University. AIS Executive Director Ahmet Polat attended the event along with several dozen other guests.

Dr Tittensor's book focuses on the Gulen movement, a Turkish Muslim educational activist network that emerged in the 1960s and has since spread throughout the world. Named after its leader Fethullah Gulen, the movement has established more than 1,000 secular educational institutions in over 140 countries, aiming to provide holistic education that incorporates both spirituality and the secular sciences. Drawing on 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Turkey, Dr Tittensor explores the movement's ideo-theology and how it is practised in the schools. His book provides a balanced perspective on the movement and is described as being "invaluable for those seeking to understand how Islam will be perceived and practised in the future".

Author David Tittensor with AIS Executive Director Ahmet Polat

Author David Tittensor (left) with Ahmet Polat

Dr Tittensor has a PhD in Politics from Monash University and is presently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. His research interests include transnational Muslim movements, Turkish politics and society, and faith-based organisations and development.

More information about the book launch is available here.


Upcoming Events

Mon Aug 25, 2014 @11:45AM - 01:45PM
Luncheon with the Lord Mayor of Melbourne
Sat Sep 06, 2014 @ 8:00AM - 12:00AM
Timeless Cities Study Tour to Turkey 2014
Wed Oct 15, 2014 @12:00AM
Luncheon with Adam Bandt, Green Party Deputy Leader
Wed Oct 29, 2014 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Australia and Turkey Dialogue Platform
Sat Dec 06, 2014 @ 5:00PM - 07:00PM
2014 Anatolian Culture and Arts Festival VIP Program
Mon Dec 08, 2014 @12:00AM
"Love is a Verb" Documentary
Wed Dec 17, 2014 @ 7:30PM - 09:00PM
Whirling Dervishes 2014
Mon Jun 22, 2015 @12:00AM
2015 Victorian State Parliament Iftar Dinner

Past Events, Photos and Videos

Thu Jul 24, 2014 @ 5:00PM -
La Trobe University Iftar Dinner 2014
Tue Jul 22, 2014 @ 5:00PM - 07:30PM
Deakin University Iftar Dinner 2014
Mon Jul 21, 2014 @ 5:00PM -
Commonwealth Bank Iftar Dinner
Fri Jul 18, 2014 @ 4:45PM -
Buddhist Iftar Dinner 2014
Tue Jul 15, 2014 @ 4:30PM -
Rotary Club Iftar Dinner 2014
Thu Jul 10, 2014 @ 4:30AM -
African Communities Iftar Dinner 2014
Mon Jun 30, 2014 @ 4:30PM -
Victorian State Parliament Iftar Dinner 2014
Wed Jun 04, 2014 @11:45AM - 01:45PM
AIS Luncheon Series Presented by Jon Faine
Wed May 28, 2014 @ 7:00PM - 09:30PM
ACU Interfaith Conference - Luncheon 28 May 2014
Sat May 03, 2014 @ 8:00AM - 12:00AM
ANZAC Spirit Study Tour to Turkey 2014
Tue Apr 15, 2014 @ 7:00PM -
Glimpses of Turkey Night 2014
Mon Apr 14, 2014 @12:30PM - 03:00PM
Panel Discussion with Prof. Ihsan Yilmaz and Prof. Greg Barton - 2014
Sat Mar 22, 2014 @ 3:00PM -
Saturday BBQ 22 March
Sat Mar 15, 2014 @ 3:00PM -
Saturday BBQ 15 March
Wed Mar 05, 2014 @12:00PM - 01:45PM
Luncheon with the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission Prof. Emeritus Gillian Triggs
Sat Feb 22, 2014 @ 3:00PM - 08:00PM
Saturday BBQ 22 Feb
Sat Feb 15, 2014 @ 3:00PM - 08:00PM
Saturday BBQ 15 Feb
Thu Feb 13, 2014 @11:45AM - 01:45PM
Hon Daniel Andrews Luncheon 13 Feb 2014

Intercultural Study Tours

The AIS is organising several projects for 2014 and 2015 which include a ANZAC Spirit Study Tour. For more information on Study Tour registration and itinerary, please contact the AIS. Read more...

Ramadan Iftars

Iftar dinner programs will commence with the beginning of Ramadan. Read more...

Luncheon Forums

Luncheon forums are designed to cultivate friendship, celebrate multiculturalism, promote dialogue, social harmony and social inclusiveness and deepen intercultural awareness among the many diverse cultures of Australia. Read more...


Australian Intercultural Society organises several intercultural conferences aimed to benefit relationships between different communities. Read more...

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