Saturday, February 17, 2007. 1:14pm (AEDT)
Muslim leaders are discussing the idea of flying the Australian flag at mosques.
Muslim leaders are discussing the idea of flying the Australian flag at mosques. (Reuters)
Iemma welcomes plan for Aust flags at mosques
The New South Wales Premier has welcomed a proposal to fly the Australian flag outside mosques.
The Lebanese Muslim Association has discussed the idea at a board meeting, as a way to promote harmony among Muslim and non-Muslim Australians.
The idea has the support of the former chair of the Prime Minister's Muslim reference group, Ameer Ali.
Morris Iemma also says he has no problems with such a move.
"Our flag is a symbol of pride and unity," he said.
"If there's an institution that wants to fly it and show their pride for their country, then I would say good on you."
The National Flag Association's Queensland president, Alan Pidgeon, says it is a step in the right direction.
"I think it's a way that all Australians show their commitment and loyalty to our nation by flying the national flag, and so it's a move that we'd encourage," he said.
Mr Pidgeon says some Brisbane mosques already fly the Australian flag.
"If others choose to do that, then that's something we'd encourage - we're all Australians and the Australian flag is something that unites and symbolises the nation to everyone," he said.
But not all Muslim groups support the idea.
Keysar Trad from the Islamic Friendship Association says it is inappropriate to fly national flags outside mosques.
"This is a break from the tradition and the nature of the house of God, that there is no nationality before God," he said.
Mr Trad says other Muslim countries do not fly national flags outside mosques.
The president of Queensland's Islamic Council has also refused to support the move.
Sulamin Sabdia says it should be up to the individual mosques, not Dr Ali.
"Ameer Ali does not enjoy the respect of the entire Muslim community and this is not the first time he's raised issues which are divisive," he said.
"I would have hoped that the former leader of the Muslim community would be more circumspect, than to come out and say there's nothing wrong with it and why shouldn't we."