From: jamal daoud [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, 17 November 2016 10:19 AM
Subject: Complaint of persistent unfair treatment our organisation receives from Multicultural NSW
To the Hon John Ajaka, Minister for Multiculturalism
Dear Mr Ajaka,
I am writing this letter to advise you of the persistent unfair treatment our organisation receives from Multicultural NSW.
First and foremost let me mention to you that our organisation has been and still is, the strongest anti-extremism voice in our community. Our organisation has been advocating for a better and stronger multiculturalism in Australia for the last decade. During this decade we helped hundreds of newly arrived NES people with their settlement. We advocated for changes to better represent NESB people with decision-making bodies and have fought very hard against all kind of extremism and radical views.
It is common knowledge how myself and others in the organisation were subjected to all different threats and assaults. These attacks were because of our work and our strong anti-extremist views.
Working hard for a better NSW and Australia, we are very disappointed by the lack of help from Multicultural NSW.
In the late 2014, we noticed that Multicultural NSW was granting money from public funds to promote Multiculturalism and harmony in our society.
With a strong track record for opposing radicalisation, lobbying for better multiculturalism and supporting people from NESB, we thought our organisation would receive, even if small, a grant from Multicultural NSW. We were wrong
During 2014, we managed a program called “Living Together”.
This program was designed to fight both radicalisation and sectarian hate among Muslim communities in Australia.
“Living Together” was about bringing together activist and community leaders who belonged to different religions and sects. Meetings were organised in rotation at the homes of the different participants.
Thanks to these meetings we managed to organise a big event during Ramadan 2015, where we invited Christians, Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslims, Alawi Muslims, secular Muslims and other groups.
The event was a success and the feedback was very positive from all who attended. The event was paid for out of our own pockets.
We knew that Multicultural NSW had specific grants to help promote such activities and programs. We decided to apply for a “Unity Grant” of $25,000 in order to continue the “Living Together” program.
We provided Multicultural NSW with a detailed plan on how the program would run, how we would measure the success and the expected positive outcomes.
Our application was rejected! We were shocked to receive a letter from Multicultural NSW rejecting our application on the grounds that we didn’t provide a financial statement.
A financial statement is required from organisations that have previously received public funding. Our organisation never received any public funding which meant we were not required to lodge a financial statement.
We wrote to Multicultural NSW outlining the reasons for not providing a financial statement, however to this day we have not received a reply.
This year in July we applied for a “Celebration Grant” of $5,000 only. We wanted to hold a multi-faith and multi-sect celebration of Eid. We are still waiting to hear back. At this stage we don’t know if Multicultural NSW is ignoring us or if it has simply disposed of our application in the rubbish bin.
I cannot begin to tell you how disheartening it was to find out that Multicultural NSW granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to a well-known extremist organisation.
While we were trying to get funding, the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA) was enjoying millions of dollars in grants. Multicultural NSW was funding the same organisation that was promoting extremism and radicalisation by issuing Fatwas against Christmas and Easter. LMA had also broadcasted lectures from terrorist Anwar Al Awlaki at Lakemba Mosque and encouraged followers to go help the “mujahedeen” (terrorist) in Syria
LMA is not the only extreme organisation to receive extensive funding from your department.
Multicultural NSW is operating in a way that not only encourages individuals to continue with their radicalisation but it also weakens the anti-radicalisation and anti-sectarian campaigns.
My hope is that you will address our concerns and perhaps explain to us why we are not able to receive even small amounts of funding. These grants would help us continue the spread of harmony and anti-radicalisation messages.
President, Social Justice Network