AN Islamic academic and Orange Social Justice Group member have called for tolerance and an understanding of the Muslim community, amid a recent US travel ban.
This month US president Donald Trump issued a 90-day travel ban for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries as well as a 120-day ban on the admission of all refugees.
Orange Social Justice Group member Sister Mary Trainor said the city’s Muslim community had “settled in beautifully”.
“They don’t seem to be causing any trouble, I haven’t seen any record of problems, they’re good citizens,” Sister Trainor said.
“If you meet a person who is obviously Muslim in the shopping centres, smile and say g’day. That doesn’t cost a cent.”
Charles Sturt University Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation associate professor Mehmet Ozalp said there was a lack of knowledge about the Muslim community in Western society.
“One of the main misconceptions is that Muslims don’t integrate or if they’re religious they’re exempt from Western values or norms,” Mr Ozalp said.
“Research shows the more religious Muslims are, the more likely they’ll integrate with wider society.”
Mr Ozalp said most Muslim people were well-integrated and contributed to the community.
“We look at the rates of English speaking its very high, levels of education are high and generally employment is high,” he said.
“There are close to 600,000 Muslims in Australia and by and large they work and relate to people on a daily basis.
“We know the extremists exist but they are fringed to the community.”
The challenge for us is to increase the level of understanding so we have interfaith and intercultural harmony.Charles Sturt University associate professor Mehmet Ozalp
Mr Ozalp said most people had a very simplified knowledge of Islam and there were some misconceptions.
“The second challenge is that people assume there’s something wrong with Islam itself that’s making people be violent or not fit in,” he said.
“Islam is a very sophisticated religion with a long tradition of scholarship and a rich body of literature.
“The challenge for us is to increase the level of understanding so we have interfaith and intercultural harmony.”