The Illawarra Muslim community is “saddened by the atrocities” in Gaza as the war rages between Israel and Palestine.
Israel declared war on October 7 after the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, launched a surprise attack that targeted more than 20 locations outside the Gaza Strip. Over 1,400 Israeli citizens were killed in the initial raid and an estimated 200 people were taken hostage.
Israel has retaliated through air strikes and resource blockades. And on Friday, it stormed the Gaza Strip, attacking locations where Palestinians were instructed to find shelter. To date, around 3,800 Palestinians have been killed and 12,500 have been wounded.
Chairman of the Omar Mosque in Wollongong, Dr Munir Hussain, said the Illawarra Muslim community is hurting because of the events in Gaza and the loss of life that has occurred.
“There are some families here who have relatives in Gaza and the occupied West Bank,” Dr Hussain said.
“They are up in arms. The bombing of the hospital was the last straw. Some are crying. It is depressing for the Muslim community.
“How one religious group can treat the other in such a manner is against the teachings of any religion.”
Despite the actions of both sides, the US and other Western states have given Israel their full support.
Dr Hussain said the community is horrified by the atrocities committed by Hamas and Israel but he said they are also upset with how other states have responded.
“Of course we are appalled but what hurts us most is that the United States and other Western states are supporting them,” he said.
“Palestinians have been under siege and their territory has been occupied for over 70 years. It’s a rotten example of apartheid.
“Hamas should be held accountable, and the Israeli army should be held accountable too.
“Unless the United States changes its policy, nothing is going to happen.”
The situation in Gaza is expected to deteriorate further with fears Palestinians will face food, water and sanitary shortages after Israel placed a blockade on goods.
Dr Hussain said the local community is worried about what the future holds.
“It’s a terrible situation. It looks like it’s never going to end.”