Melbourne’s Jewish community has offered to advise Muslims on security measures for mosques and Islamic schools amid fears of a backlash against terrorism.
Michael Lipshutz, the immediate past president of the Jewish Community Council made the offer at a meeting of the Victoria Police-sponsored multi-faith group hours after this month's terrorism-related arrests.
Jewish schools and synagogues have developed a system of training individuals to guard and watch over possible sites for anti-Semitic attacks, and that expertise could be shared with Muslims.
He told The Age newspaper that co-operation between the faiths was one way to discourage the importing of prejudices common to overseas communities. "Muslims feel very threatened, very targeted, and we are happy to support them. There's no conflict between Jews and Muslims in Australia and we don't believe in bringing in prejudice and hates from overseas,"
Lipshutz said. "We have organised a system where there are people in our community who will stand guard and will observe and will report matters to police."
Eighteen non-White Muslim men arrested in Melbourne and Sydney have been charged with terrorism-related offences that carry penalties of 10 to 25 years' jail.
Malcolm Thomas, president of the Islamic Council of Victoria, said the offer would be accepted because of concern for Islamic schools, mosques and businesses. Isolated instances of abuse had occurred since the arrests and last week a brick was thrown through the window of the city mosque.