NSW Premier Chris Minns has backed his decision to cancel an annual iftar dinner with Muslim community groups and leaders, after peak Islamic bodies announced they would be boycotting the event.

On Friday, the NSW government followed Victoria in scrapping the government-organised dinner celebrating iftar – the first meal Muslims eat after sunset when fasting during Ramadan.

Mr Minns denied claims he had “abandoned” the state’s Muslim population amid inflamed tensions among Jewish and Palestinian community members due to the conflict in Gaza.

“In recognition of the fact that they didn’t feel able to or didn’t want to come, we won’t hold the dinner,” he said.

“I’m not blaming anyone for that. I understand there’s reasons for it. But I don’t want them to think that we hadn’t planned one, and that we’re not obviously prepared to celebrate Ramadan.”

Mr Minns said the government was clear they denounced the loss of innocent civilian life in Gaza, but also stressed the complexities in navigating the conflict.

“When it comes to the war in the Middle East and the complexities in relation to that … I don’t pretend I can solve it quickly,” he said.

“My responsibility right now is about community cohesion, peace and safety, and that’s got to be the priority of the government.”

He also said he would visit mosques to mark the religious holiday “if the invitation was extended,” however it would be the decision of religious and community groups to extend the invitation.

On Wednesday, the Australian National Inmans Council said they were “deeply disappointed” over the “Minns’ government lack of response to the distress of the Muslim and Arab communities in NSW”.

They announced they would be withdrawing their attendance at the dinner due to the “immense suffering and oppression of Palestinians”.

“ANIC hopes that the Minns’ government will take a more just and considerate approach to acknowledging the distress of the communities in NSW and the suffering of the Palestinian people,” they said.

The Islamic Council of NSW also declined all iftar gatherings organised by federal and state governments due to the “great anguish and deep sense of abandonment” over the conflict in Gaza and the response from politicians.

They accused Mr Minns and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of “double standards and highly divisive statements”.

“It is impossible for us to ‘break bread’ with those who claim that they are friends of the Muslim community, yet betray these sentiments with their action (and indeed, inaction).”

As it stands, the death toll from the Gaza conflict has surpassed 30,000, with the World Health Organisation stating a large majority are women and children.

The international community is now attempting to broker a ceasefire during the month-long Ramadan.



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By Rahul

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