Australia's first Muslim party will be contesting senate seats in the 2016 federal elections. The Australian Muslim Party's founder Diaa Mohamed said he started the party so as to give the Muslim population a stronger political voice in the country.
"There are going to be a lot of questions raised in the coming days of the events recently, and this is the whole reason we created this party. So it is as good a time as any to launch it," Mohamed told the ABC's AM programme.
When questioned about the timing of his party's launch, right after the Paris attacks carried out by Islamic State (Isis) terrorists, Mohamed said he condoned the terror attacks but stressed that the announcement had to be made as it was a critical time for all Muslims to have a political voice in Australia. He, however, said that his party would never support military action in any Muslim country in response to terrorist attacks carried out in other parts of the world.
"I don't think Islam is at war with the West but Islamic countries have been at war for many, many years. Let's look at how well [military intervention] has worked in the past. We invaded Afghanistan. That didn't work out so well. We invaded Iraq and we're in the mess we're in there," Mohamed was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.
He added: "Would I support something that has never worked in the past? No. It's just never worked. Not for the Soviets in Afghanistan, not for the United States in Iraq. There's a solution and it's not invading someone else's land."
Mohamed, 34, said he launched his party after six anti-Islamic parties were looking at contesting next year's elections. "There are a lot of parties out there to specifically oppose Islam and Muslims, yet Muslims don't have any official representation." One such anti-Islam party called Australian Liberty Alliance is backed by Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
"We live in a democratic society and people are entitled to form anti-Muslim parties just as people are entitled to form the Muslim Party," Mohamed said. He also said that non Muslims who would like to join his party were welcome to do so.