Melbourne anti-Islamophobia protest cancelled

A key organiser of an Islamic rally to be held in Melbourne on Sunday has cancelled the protest amid fears of a backlash and police concerns it will be overrun by violent activists.

Swaybah Javed, who had helped invite supporters through social networking to a rally outside the city’s State Library, said she’d been forced to scrap the event.

“I am calling off the protest as I do not want more violence on the streets, as Islam does not promote violence,” the university graduate said today. “It is a shameful day for Australia when Islamophobia has boiled over to the point where it is impossible to carry out a peaceful protest.”

Ms Javed hit back at the media, police and politicians for accusing her of not being genuine. “I originally began to organise the rally as I could not sit back and tolerate the Islamophobia which I have witnessed recently,” she said, citing the anti-Islamic film mocking the prophet Mohammed, the Sydney riots, which Ms Javed blames on NSW police, and terror raids in Melbourne last week.

But she today conceded: “Any attempt to have a peaceful protest will end in violence. I do not mean violence by Muslims, but violence focused at Muslims.” She was concerned about an anti-Islamic text message circulating throughout Victoria since yesterday.

“I have already had friends calling me and telling me that they have been racially abused on the streets of Melbourne with threats of violence,” Ms Javed said.

Ms Javed’s site “Stand up against racism and rally in defense of Islam” was created on Monday and invited supporters to a peaceful demonstration at the State Library in Melbourne on Sunday. The page quickly attracted anti-Islamic slurs and was finally shut down last night by Ms Javed.

The Australian received a message from Ms Javed today hitting back at Victoria Police for suggesting she was not from the Muslim community and that her peaceful protest would be hijacked by violent activists.

The Australian, 20 September 2012

See also AAP, 20 September 2012