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This is the full final version of the circulating open letter calling on the Victorian Muslim community to boycott the Victorian Premier’s Iftar. 

Assalamu alaikum.

Since 2015, the tradition of hosting an annual Victorian Premier’s Iftar during Ramadan has been welcomed by sections of the Muslim community, with hundreds from the Victorian Muslim community accepting the Premier’s invitation to join the event held in Melbourne every year.

This event was deemed a gesture of goodwill and a reflection of care and compassion towards our Muslim community, as well as an opportunity for bridge-building.

This year, the Labor Party’s inaction, at all levels of Government, towards preventing the live-streamed genocide of the Palestinian people, in particular those under the continued ethnic cleansing in Gaza since October 2023, as well as their dismissive response to the documented impact on the Victorian Muslim community, from rise in hate crimes to lack of political representation, has demonstrated where the Labor Party stands.

In light of these concerns with the Victorian Government, the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) has advised the Premier to cancel this year’s Iftar. The ICV indicated that if the Iftar was not cancelled, it would not be attending, and encouraged all member societies and the Board of Imams Victoria (BOIV) to do the same. Unfortunately, the Office of the Premier has been reaching out to members of the community in an attempt to garner support for the Iftar and bypass the ICV’s principled stance.

This open letter calls upon all individuals and organisations within the Victorian Muslim community to boycott the Premier’s Iftar for this year, and here is why:

Firstly, on the matter of stopping the genocide of the Palestinian people, our unwavering unity cannot and must not be undermined. Standing united behind our main representative body in Victoria ensures that the Muslim community can’t be undermined and strategically strengthens our representative voice. This is important.

Secondly, it is off-putting and objectionable to attend such a lavish Iftar while our brothers and sisters in Gaza are starved of food and water. This is disrespectful towards community sentiment and is not consistent with the spirit of Ramadan.

Thirdly, the Premier’s position on the genocide, to date, has been to maintain the Victorian Government’s support for Israel’s genocidal assault, defending direct partnerships with the Israeli arms industry despite the United Nations call to stop arming Israel, and the International Court of Justice ruling requiring the prevention of genocidal acts. We list below some examples of her position:

  • Despite the extensive history of Israel’s human rights and international law violations, on the 17th of October, Premier Allan moved a motion in Parliament asking the House to stand with Israel and recognise its inherent right to defend itselfShe then employed racist tropes that legitimise Israel’s assault on Gaza claiming that Hamas “hate their neighbours’ children more than they love their own.
  • After the Premier’s motion was read in full – and supported by the Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Nationals, the Deputy Premier and other Members of Parliament – the Member for Prahran (representing the Greens) rose to propose an amendment to the motion. The amendment sought to condemn war crimes perpetrated by the state of Israel and to call for an immediate ceasefire between all parties. This amendment was rejected by the Premier and every single member of the Legislative Assembly except for those representing the Greens.
  • On that same day, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) struck Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, killing between 300-500 civilians, bringing the Gaza death toll to more than 3,000 civilians. This came after Israel almost immediately cut off all power, water, food, fuel and medical supplies to the Gaza Strip. Neither the bombing of that hospital, which was followed by the bombing of subsequent hospitals and health clinics, schools, places of worship and cultural significance – all war crimes – nor the cutting off of necessary supplies, has been acknowledged by the Premier who stands with Israel regardless of these mass atrocities.
  • On 9 November, the Premier again jeopardised efforts towards ending Israel’s genocidal assault by criticising Merri-Bek Council’s successful humanitarian ceasefire motion, stating,“This complex global situation is being negotiated right now by world leaders, not by local governments here in Melbourne.” To which Councillor Bolton replied, “I believe that peace is everybody’s business.”
  • On 30 November – when the death toll exceeded15,000 in Gaza, with thousands reported as trapped under the rubble and the health system collapsing – Premier Allen spoke again in Parliament on the supposed “Israel/Hamas war” and again erased Palestinian suffering. Through this misrepresentation of the genocidal assault as a war with Hamas, she spoke to the grief of the families of the Israeli hostages who she met with a delegation of Israeli officials. She condemned activists who sought to interrupt Israel’s war criminal leaders and smeared them as antisemitic.
  • The Premier has since attacked the public’s critique of the Victorian Government’s ongoing and increased Israeli arms industry ties. On 7 February 2024, the Victorian Greens introduced a motion calling on the Allen Government to end its secretive relationship with the Israeli Ministry of Defence and to sever any ties with companies arming the IDF. At the time of the motion, the United Nations estimated that at least 100,000 Palestinians had been killed, wounded or were missing. Without even taking a moment to condemn or commiserate the human toll in Gaza, the Premier instead dismissed the preliminary measures outlined by the International Court of Justice and justified the continuation of these ties with the Israeli arms industry on the premise of them creating “jobs for Victorians”.
  • The Victorian Government refuses to end its partnership with Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons manufacturing company, despite international efforts to stop arming Israel, where states such as Norway have ruled that it is unlawful to export arms to Israel.
  • The Premier has not yet called for the genocide to end despite demands from international bodies for boycott, divestment and sanctions to prevent the imminent assault on Rafah.

Standing united in boycotting this Iftar will provide a clear message to Premier Allan that the Muslim community rejects the Victorian Government’s position regarding the ongoing genocide in Gaza. We hope for this boycott to also register the betrayal felt through her dismissal of the immense suffering of many Victorians because of the genocide perpetrated before our eyes and that we are demanding actions by her to remedy this. The actions include ending partnerships with the Israeli arms industry and recognising the pain and suffering of the Palestinian and Muslim communities in Victoria because of the ongoing genocide.

Contact for enquiry:

General: [email protected]
Mohammad Helmy: 0418 118 726
Atiyah:  0424 112 150
Waseem Razvi: 0432 713 426
Tasnim Sammak: 0410776823

Endorsed By:

1          Activate Youth
2          Afghan Islamic Centre
3          AFIC
4          Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah (ASWJ)
5          Al Jannah Foundation (NGO)
6          Al Muntada Musallah
7          Al Nur Quranic Institute
8          Albanian Australian Islamic Society (AAIS)
9          Ararat Islamic Welfare Association (Ararat mosque)
10        Arkan Toledo
11        Association of Muslim Professionals Australia
12        ASWJ South East
13        Australian Bosnian Islamic Centre
14        Australian Islamic Centre (AIC) – Newport Mosque
15        Australian Islamic Mission
16        Australian Malayai Islamic Association (AMIA)
17        Australian Muslim Media (Islamic Voice Radio)
18        Australian Muslim Social Services Agency (AMSSA)
19        Australian National Imams Council (ANIC)
20        Australian Services Union for Palestine
21        Australian Turkish Institute
22        Banyule Palestine Action Group
23        Bendigo Latrobe Islamic Student Society (BLISS)
24        Benevolence
25        Board of Imams Victoria (BOIV)
26        Bosnia- Herzegovina Islamic Society – Noble Paek
27        Brimbank for Palestine
28        Bukjeh
29        Circles of Light (COLC)
30        Coolaroo Masjid
31        Craigieburn Mosque
32        Daar Al- Imam Hassan Al- Askari Inc
33        Dandenong for Palestine
34        Dandenong Islamic Society
35        Darebin for Palestine
36        Deakin University Islamic Society (DUIS)
37        Elsedeaq Heidelberg Mosque
38        Free Palestine Dandenong Action
39        Free Palestine Melbourne (FPM)
40        Geelong Islamic Community Centre (GICC)
41        Gippsland Australian Muslim Community
42        Golden Wattle Mosque
43        Green Crescent Australia
44        Hobsons Bay for Palestine
45        Human and Moral Development Centre Inc (HDMC)
46        Hume for Palestine
47        Hume Islamic Youth Centre
48        IEACA – Cranbourne Mosque
49        Independent  Industrialist and Business Association – Musiad Australia
50        Indonesian Muslim Community of Victoria (IMCV)
51        IREA
52        Islam Empowering Women
53        Islamic Academy of Media and Art (IAMA)
54        Islamic Association of Monash Mosque
55        Islamic Society of Ballarat.
56        Islamic Society of Geelong – Geelong Mosque
57        Islamic Society of Melbourne Eastern Region (ISOMER)
58        Islamic Society of Victoria University (ISVU)
59        Islamic Youth Organisation (IYO)
60        Keysborough Mosque
61        Keysborough Muslim Youth Group
62        Keysborough Turkish Islamic and Cultural Centre
63        Knox for Palestinian
64        Latrobe Faith Community Inc
65        Latrobe University Islamic Society (LUIS)
66        Light of Hidaya
67        Madania Foundation
68        Maidstone Mosque
69        Masjed Ahlulbait Reservoir
70        Masjid IMCV Baitul Makmur
71        Masjid IMCV Surau Kita
72        Masjid IMCV Westall
73        Melbourne for Palestine
74        Melbourne Grand Mosque (MGM)
75        Melbourne Somali Community
76        Melton Council Palestinian Solidarity group
77        Monash Parkville Islamic Society (MPIS)
78        Monash University Islamic Society (MUIS)
79        Monee valley for Palestine
80        Mooroopna Mosque
81        Muslim Legal Network
82        Muslim Professionals Association
83        Muslim Public Health Professionals
84        Muslim Women Australia
85        MyCentre
86        Nillumbike for Palestine
87        Omar Farooq Mosque – Doveton
88        Pillars of Guidance Community Centre (PGCC)
89        Podium
90        Preston Mosque
91        RMIT Islamic Society (RMITIS)
92        SalamFest
93        Sh Attallah Khawaldeh – Imam of Bendigo Mosque
94        Stand 4 Uyghurs Australia
95        Swinburne University Islamic Society (SWINIS)
96        Tayyiba Institute
97        Tayyiba Institute Cranbourne West
98        Teachers and School Staff for Palestine (Vic)
99        The Sacred Land Initiative
100      Tohid Foundation Inc
101      Unionists for Palestine
102      United Muslim Migrants Association (UMMA) Doncaster Mosque
103      United Sri Lankan Muslim Association of Australia (USMAA)
104      Uyghur Association of Victoria
105      Virgin Mary Mosque
106      Wartaqi Academy
107      Wayfarers Lantern
108      Werribee Islamic Centre
109      Whittlesea for Palestine
110      Wyndham for Palestine
111       Young Muslims of Australia (YMA)
112      Australian MADE (Muslim Adolescent Development & Education) Inc.
113      United Women’s Movement Inc.