Sydney: Imam Nazeerul Hassan Thanvi, who comes from a family of prominent Islamic scholars and philosophers and runs the Institute of Quran Recitation Australia (IQRA) in Sydney, expressed serious concern about the Australian government’s new security measures.

“We welcome the tough security measures, but a general feeling is that the Muslim community will be specifically targeted under new laws,” he told Gulf News.

Thanvi was Imam of the famous Rooty Hills mosque of Sydney and also of a mosque in the Central Coast, and is well-respected for his work in the Australian Muslim community.

According to him, the problem will not be solved by revoking citizenships or taking passports back.

“A proper vigilant system, not stereotyping, [is] needed to differentiate between the real and perceived culprits. It is important that [the] government work with the community to deter Australian Muslim youths [from] joining the ISIS [Daesh],” he said.

Imam Thanvi also spoke about discrimination against Muslims at workplaces, the increasing unemployment rate in the Muslim community, and challenges facing Muslim women, especially those who wear hijabs, who are becoming targets of violence and insult.

“Councils are not approving development [plans] of Muslim community centres and worship places. Halal foods and halal certification is also [being] targeted and government is doing nothing to stop such negative behaviours,” he said.

Imam Thanvi said the government should treat Australian Muslims just as it would other Australians.

“We would like to work hand-in-hand with the government and the people against the terrorism and extremism, but if they keep [a] distance then how can we play our role?” he asked.