In a new campaign launched by the Islamic Federation of Australia, Muslims are asking the Federal Government to stop denying their community a legal right to register their parents as Muslims.
The Australian Muslim Parents Association says the Federal government should stop denying Muslim parents the right to be registered as Muslims under the Australian Citizenship Act.
The Association says there are more than 4 million Muslims in Australia, with the largest group concentrated in the eastern metropolitan regions.
The majority of Muslims are of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian origin, but also include many Australians of Asian and African heritage.
The group says that there are only 2,200 registered Muslim parents in Australia.
They also say the government has failed to adequately consider the need for Muslim parents to be included in the citizenship process, or provide sufficient time for their children to become registered.
“This is a case of not being able to do your job because you don’t have the resources,” association president Shamsul Haq said.
“So many of our people, many of us, are in crisis and they are just being denied their right to make their own lives as they please.”
The group is calling on the Federal Parliament to “end the discrimination and denial of Muslim families by refusing to allow this discrimination to continue”.
The Federation has also released a video highlighting some of the concerns about the Federal system.
“The federal government has an obligation to provide a fair and equal opportunity for all of its citizens, whether Muslim or not,” Mr Haq told ABC News Breakfast.
“It is a duty, a duty to ensure all Australians are treated equally.”
The federation is also working with Muslim families to support their efforts to register.
“We have a really large community here in the ACT, we have families who are here in their 20s and 30s, we are working very hard, we’re not just getting on with our lives, we need to get on with their lives,” Ms Haq explained.
“But they are often denied the right because they are Muslim and they’re not being allowed to become citizens.”
A spokesperson for the Federal Immigration Department said the Australian Federal Police had been notified of the issue and was working with the Association to investigate.
“If the matter is deemed to be serious, a complaint will be referred to the appropriate Australian Federal police and it will be dealt with accordingly,” the spokesperson said.
The Federation’s national spokesperson, Zainab Ahmed, said that she did not believe the Federal Department of Human Resources and Employment had adequately considered the needs of Muslim parents.
“Our community has been denied the opportunity to become Australian citizens, to get our children to school, to work in their local community, to become active members of their communities,” she said.
She said the Federation hoped the Federal Minister of Human Services would work with the organisation to ensure the issue was addressed in the future.
“I do believe the federal government needs to step in and provide more resources for the Muslim community in the community,” Ms Ahmed said. ABC/wires