Ahmadiyya Victorians took part in a nationalist Australia Day march in Melbourne this year, describing themselves as “Victorian #MuslimsForLoyalty“. Hosting and joining events elsewhere, this was marketed as a campaign to mark themselves as indelibly “loyal Muslims” to the state.
Releasing a statement on Facebook, Ahmadiyya Victorians explained their support for Australia Day as gratitude for its shelter and peace, despite this shelter not being universal or shared for indigenous Australians or refugees illegally incarcerated in offshore camps:
“Did you know that #AustraliaDay is a day of thanksgiving for Ahmadi Muslims?
It is a religious duty to thank Australia that has given us shelter, peace & prosperity. We open our mosque & host a free delicious BBQ for all regardless of race or creed.”
“Just getting in early on the “Muslims support Australia day” story about Ahmadis pulling some nationalist stunt – they don’t speak for me or most Muslims I know. Their sect started as a minority desperately pandering to the British Empire and they continue that tradition today.”
In further contrast, the wider Muslim community chose to march in solidarity with Indigenous Australians, and not with Australia Day events.
The Australian Muslim contingent for the “Invasion Day protest” released a statement, explaining their decision to align with Indigenous Australians, instead of nationalists:
Muslims in Australia stand with our Indigenous brother and sisters as we mark 230 years since British military forces invaded Gadigal land and declared British rule over this continent, along with Aotearoa and other Pacific Islands. While colonial regime continues to hold a day of celebration, we resist the ongoing war against Aboriginal people.
From the brutalization of black youth in detention, the murder of men and women in custody, the theft of children from families, the destruction of Aboriginal lands to feed corporate profits, the apartheid NT Intervention, the forced removal of communities,
Allah swt commands us in the Quran –
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ إِن يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَىٰ أَن تَعْدِلُوا وَإِن تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
“O you who believe, be persistently standing firm in justice as witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. Follow not your desires, lest you not be just. If you distort your testimony or refuse to give it, then Allah is aware of what you do.”