Today's AFR publishes Philip Coorey's story with details of an email he reports the Grand Mufti of Australia sent to Jason Clare, the member for Blaxland, Tony Burke, the member for Watson, Julie Owens, the member for Parramatta, and Ed Husic, the member for Chifley.
Why would Muslims favour the ALP, the party of welfare and sugar on the table?
Grand Mufti threatened Labor over Israel ‘bias’
Australia’s senior Islamic cleric threatened to withdraw community support for federal Labor in Western Sydney if union leader Paul Howes replaced Bob Carr in the Senate, a leaked email reveals.
The email, written on behalf of the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, by his chief political adviser, accused Mr Howes of a “blind bias for Israel” and said that if he was appointed to the Senate, community support for Labor that was mustered for the federal election would be withdrawn.
The email was sent to MPs and officials on September 9, two days after the election and the same day The Australian Financial Review revealed Mr Howes wanted to fill Senator Carr’s pending Senate vacancy.
Mr Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, withdrew from the contest last week. Senior Labor sources said the Mufti’s warning was not a significant factor in the internal campaign to convince Mr Howes to withdraw.
The email says that as saddened as the community is at news of Senator Carr’s retirement, “what is saddening and alarming us more is the rumour that Paul Howse [sic] will be replacing him”.
Pattern of blind bias
“Paul has had a repeated pattern of blind bias toward Israel. His appointment would not at all help the engagement effort between the ALP and the wider Muslim community,” it says.
“As you know we have worked very hard to marshal our community to support and successfully retain the majority of ALP seats in Western Sydney against all odds, and the choice of Paul will threaten our efforts to maintain this momentum, especially if new elections are called in the next year.
“I urge you to help us help you and present our concerns to the decisionmakers at the ALP so they realise the potential consequences of such a controversial choice.”
The email starts with “Dear Jason, Tony, Julie and E”, who are Jason Clare, the member for Blaxland, Tony Burke, the member for Watson, Julie Owens, the member for Parramatta, and Ed Husic, the member for Chifley. All have large Islamic communities in their Western Sydney electorates.
Never seen the email
It is understood the letter also went to NSW Labor headquarters. Mr Husic fell ill after the election and said he had never seen the email.
There's a lot more in the AFR.