On Monday, an Australian politician demanded a government inquiry into the identity of the mother photographing her child holding a sign calling for ‘beheadings’ at a protest in Sydney on Saturday over an anti-Islamic video.
The image stirred worldwide outrage among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, further riling tensions over the spate of the recent violent protests.
New South Wales (NSW) Premier Barry O’Farrell asked the Australian Family and Community Department to investigate the identity of the mother who photographed her child holding a sign reading ‘Behead all those who insult the prophet.’
Premier O’Farrell was speaking on the Ray Hadley show Monday morning when he announced the inquiry: “I asked the minister yesterday what can be done," he said. O’Farrell expects an answer later in the day, Australia’s News.com website reported
The photograph is a microcosm of a wider dispute among demonstrators worldwide: The right to peaceful protests, versus a willful incitement of violence.
Australia’s Muslim leaders issued statements condemning the violence at Saturday’s protests.
"While we respect the right to legitimate protests, we condemn all acts of violence and unlawful behavior," The Islamic Council of Victoria said.
"It is abhorrent that these filmmakers could show such disrespect to the Prophet Muhamed who we hold in the highest esteem, however it is also completely unacceptable that individuals should defile his peaceful teachings and example by responding with acts of violence."
NSW Muslim MP Shaoquett Moselmane said that placards like the one photographed on Saturday were “offensive” and belonged in the “Dark Ages,” the Australian Daily Telegraph reported.
"Any reasonable person would condemn this violent protest," he said.
"It is unacceptable in a democratic country like ours. People should be able to express their opinions peacefully but they have no right to be violent. … Images like this rip the heart out of the solidarity and unity we have been trying to build in our communities, it sets back our constant work to try and promote harmony and peace and understanding," he said.
Moselmane is the first Muslim elected to New South Wale’s parliament.
Australia’s Muslim leaders arranged meetings with local imams Monday in hopes of easing tensions and preventing future protest violence.