A joint statement from 41 Islamic community groups has called on the federal government to “end the double standards” and acknowledge the loss of Palestine lives as the Israel and Hamas conflict escalates.

The letter rejected the “one-sided portrayal of the Palestinian issue in Australia” and condemned all “calls and incitement to violence and hatred of any people”, including anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim or Islamophobic attitudes.

“There is never a justification for any loss of innocent civilian lives. This must be a universal constant and hold true for every life,” the letter read.

“This cannot be overlooked or ignored. Regrettably, it has.

“Enough is enough. The voice of Australian Muslims and proponents of justice for all people will no longer be silenced on the matter of Palestine.”

Signatories including the Alliance of Australian Muslims, Lebanese Muslim Association, and Muslim Women Australia called for mosques to be lit up with the red, black and green colours of the Palestinian flag.

They also called on politicians to acknowledge the deaths of Palestinian civilians.

This comes after organisers of a highly condemned pro-Palestine rally in Sydney’s CBD vowed to continue despite being denied a permit by police.

The location of a second “static rally” will now take place near Hyde Park, a few hundred metres away from its original location of Town Hall.

A post shared on the event’s Facebook page pledged to continue with the demonstration despite the protest now being considered unauthorised and illegal.

“They have denied us a permit to march this Sunday, but that does not mean we have lost the right to protest, and we will not allow that to stop us,” the post read.

“We will demonstrate, loud and proud. The Palestinian people deserve our solidarity.”

Organisers defended the event and said it was necessary to protest against the loss of Palestinian lives on the Gaza Strip after Israel declared war on the Islamic militant group Hamas.

The escalation in violence comes after Hamas killed more than 1000 Israeli civilians at a music festival.

“Israeli politicians are calling for a second Nakba and for Gaza to be nuked,” the post read.

“The Australian government has come out in full support of this genocide and has Palestinian blood on its hands.”

Organisers said the change in venue would reduce the legal risks after police denied their application that would give attendees legal protection from charges like obstructing traffic, or walking on roadways.

Although Acting NSW Police Commissioner David Hudson admitted authorities couldn’t stop protesters from gathering, he warned there would be a strong police presence at the protest.

“If people show up on Sunday, if that’s the date that the organisers persist with, that will be met by a strong police force,” he said.

“We will propose that those that attend on Sunday, if the event goes ahead, would be subject to policing activities and identification of offences, and they will be charged if those offences are identified.”

The second rally comes after some protesters at the march on Monday evening initiated anti-Semitic chants and set the Israeli flag alight at the Sydney Opera House forecourt. At the same time, the monument had been lit in the colours of the blue and white Israeli flag as a show of solidarity with NSW’s Jewish community.

Environment and Energy Minister Penny Sharpe warned people to avoid the static demonstration on Sunday and said the government’s position “has been very clear”.

“The gathering is now an unauthorised gathering. If people do the wrong thing, they’ll see the full force of the law,” she said.

“There are very good people across NSW and the actions of a few, particularly terrorists, should not be conflated with the good people of NSW and the Palestinian community in NSW.“

NSW Premier Chris Minns has issued an unreserved apology to Jewish mourners who were told to avoid the CBD on Monday night.

“The intentions were to light up the Opera House as a space for the Jewish community to commemorate what happened in Israel, the number of family and friends caught up in the conflict,” he said.

“We didn’t do it. I take responsibility for that. I want to ensure it won’t happen again.”


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By Rahul

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