Do not confuse Islam with terrorism, says book

A guidebook for politicians, police and public servants on how to talk about Muslims and terrorism without implicating the religion of Islam should be released by the end of the year. The book, A Lexicon on Terror, was conceived by Victoria Police and the Australian Multicultural Foundation, but was so popular it became a national project, an international conference on Islamophobia at Monash University heard yesterday.

Stephen Fontana, the assistant commissioner for counter-terrorism co-ordination, told the conference the aim was to reduce alienation and radicalism among young Muslims. “A comment we think is harmless, some communities read as an attack,” he said.

Multicultural Foundation head Hass Dellal said many Muslims interpreted “war on terror” as a war on Islam. Other terms to be avoided included “Islamic terrorism”, “Islamo-fascists”, “Middle Eastern appearance”, and “moderate Muslim”, which suggested to Muslims they were inadequate in their faith.