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Leader quits Multicultural SA, claiming anti-Palestinian bias
20 October 2023
A leading multicultural advocate has quit his South Australian post in protest against the state
government's stance on the Israel-Gaza war, which he says has been characterised by anti-
According to the ABC, Muslim community leader Ahmed Zreika was one of 15 board members with
the state's Multicultural Commission, but said he resigned on Saturday after sending a letter to
Premier Peter Malinauskas.
Mr Zreika, who is the president of the Islamic Society of SA, said he had urged the premier to show
the same solidarity with Palestinians in the firing line as he had demonstrated towards Israelis in
the wake of Hamas's initial deadly attack of 10 days ago.
"As a Muslim community, we want to send our sympathy to the Jewish community here in Adelaide,
and we condemn all kinds of killing of civilian people," Mr Zreika said.
"But we see the state government — they support only one community, at the expense of the other
Mr Zreika said he had been especially disappointed by the fact that, while the SA government had
chosen to illuminate Adelaide landmarks with Israel's blue and white colours, it had not since made
a similar gesture of support for the Palestinian community.
"We have seen the premier and the state government stand up with Israel and the civilian people of
Israel," Mr Zreika said.
"I fully understand his position to light up the Israel flag on Adelaide landmarks, but I couldn't
understand why he couldn't illuminate the Palestinian flag just to show [sympathy] for the almost
1,000 kids who have been killed so far by the Israeli army.
"All we need from him is to condemn the killing of civilians from both sides."
Mr Zreika said that the local Islamic community was in no way supportive of Hamas or its recent
actions, and that they "just don't want the civilian people to be killed".
In response to the criticisms, the SA premier described Mr Zreika as a "fine gentleman" who has
been a "proud advocate for his community".
Mr Malinauskas said that, while there was now a "humanitarian crisis" unfolding in Gaza, the
people there were "suffering the consequences of Hamas's attack in Israel".
"What was initiated by Hamas against Israel … was an unprovoked terrorist attack," he said.
"As a government, we wanted to show solidarity with the Israeli people … but I am very conscious of
the fact that as recent days have unfolded we've seen some pretty tragic scenes come out of Gaza
"It's been reported that there is a genuine humanitarian crisis currently underway in Gaza —
something to the order of 6,000 bombs have been dropped on Gaza.
"The great tragedy here is that, both on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side, innocent people
are losing their lives. That is heart-breaking."
Mr Malinauskas said that both his government and he himself had been "supporters of a two-state
solution for some time. We call out acts of violence wherever we see them."
Adelaide, South Australia