Date: 
Thursday 21 March 2019

The Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan will today announce a series of national consultations with the Muslim community in Australia about their experiences of hate speech and violence and about their ideas for change.

Commissioner Tan will make the announcement at a Harmony Day Event in Sydney.

“In the aftermath of the horrific attacks in Christchurch, I want to hear the voices of Muslim Australians. I want to hear about how they have been affected by recent events, and about their needs and experiences.

“I want to find ways we can work together to combat the rise of extremism and prevent Islamophobia. By really listening, we can work to ensure that we protect our social harmony and strengthen our multicultural success.

“We are still reeling after the Christchurch terror attack and there is a great need for support for the Muslim community in the days, weeks and months ahead. The Commission and I stand in unity, solidarity and in grief with the Muslim and wider community.

“I know that for many Muslim Australians, the attack last Friday afternoon, so close to home, made real the fears and dangers that can come from hate speech and extremism in the community.

“This terrible event is a stark reminder that we must all remain vigilant against the resurgence of far-right and extremist activity and against threats to our multicultural harmony,” Commissioner Tan said.

Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Since 1999, Australia has also celebrated the day as Harmony Day.

“Although celebrating harmony and eliminating racial discrimination represent different sentiments, I believe they are two sides of the same coin. We cannot eradicate racism without fostering multiculturalism and social cohesion.

“We are in challenging times for race relations and there is a lot to be done. But, I am encouraged by the fact that most Australians are committed to stamping out racism, and promoting social cohesion within our society,” Commissioner Tan said.

Media contact: Lindy Kerin 0430 366 529 or lindy.kerin@humanrights.gov.au