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We are not extremists, local Arab leaders say

June 19 1996, The Age, Tim Pegler, Jason Koutsoukis


Melbourne’s Arabic community fears the arrest of a man linked to international terrorism may “cast a shadow” over law-abiding people from Middle Eastern backgrounds. The chairman of the Australian Arabic Council, Mr Roland Jabbour, urged people not to make connections between the suspected terrorist and locals. “Any suggestions of extremism in Australia are ill founded” Mr Jabbour said. “At times like this, it is popular to project the negative images associated with extremist elements in the Middle East, but it is important we do not draw links with the law-abiding community here.” The Australian Federal Police Associations said The Age had acted in a responsible fashion by agreeing not to publish details of the arrest of the terrorist suspect, Mohamed Hassanien, until he had been deported. “Their actions are appleciated by this association in safe-guarding the personal security of my members” the Victorian secretary, Mr Dave Boston, said. “The Age contacted the AFP and informed my members of their information. As a result, discussions ensued and senior editorial staff of The Age. “As a result of those discussions The Age agreed not to release their story until the potential threat to members of the various agencies was minimised”...

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