Ahmadiyya Victorians gathered in Melbourne following the tragic incident on Flinders St to denounce and distance themselves from the attack. Some in the Muslim community criticised this ‘insensitive’ action as an obnoxious, Islamophobic PR stunt, for yet again trying to associate the attacker’s actions and motives with Islam; meanwhile it had little effect on Islamophobes, accusing the group of ‘taqiyya’. It followed a pattern of many groups who act to condemn an event following a terrorist attack. However, authorities and the media had so far ruled out labelling this event as a terrorist attack; hence this gathering needlessly drew that association.
Speaking with the ABC, Victoria Police Acting Commissioner Patton could not rule anything out, but clarified that no links to terrorism have been found.
This includes after investigators interviewed the suspect and executed search warrants, and had found nothing to indicate any signs of extremism or terrorist affiliation, only that he had been on a mental health plan. However, none of this was relevant to the Ahmadiyya Community of Victoria, whose statements declared this an act of terror.
A Facebook post later thanked news outlets for the free press this act intentionally gave them: “Thankyou SBS Australia, 3AW Melbourne – 693AM, 9 News and ABC News for helping us spread this much needed message.”