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Rachael Ward

October 7 attack 'legitimate': Islamic Council rep

Islamic Council of Victoria's Adel Salman says the community is in no mood for a celebratory event. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

A spokesman for a leading Islamic group has described Hamas' attack on Israel in October as legitimate resistance, as he called on the Victorian premier to cancel an annual Iftar dinner.

Adel Salman made the comments on ABC Radio National as he explained why representatives from the Islamic Council of Victoria will not attend the upcoming Ramadan celebration.

"We denounce any violence and killing of civilians but what we don't denounce very clearly is legitimate acts of resistance," he said on Wednesday morning.

"For the Palestinians to rise up on October 7th and say we're no longer going to tolerate this siege, this occupation, that's legitimate.

"If they've done things that is against international law then they should be held to account for that."

Hamas, designated a terrorist organisation by Australia, launched an attack in Israel on October 7 in which 1200 people were killed and hundreds taken hostage, according to Tel Aviv.

Almost 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel's subsequent invasion of Gaza, according to the local health ministry.

Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich.
Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich said he was "sickened" by Mr Salman's comments. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich said he was "sickened" by Mr Salman's comments, claiming anyone who believes in compassion and humanity had been let down.

"How can anyone excuse and justify the evil and the depravity of October 7th?" Mr Abramovich said.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry's co-chief Alex Ryvchin said Mr Salman's defence of the mass slaughter, abduction and alleged rape of young girls at gun point as resistance was difficult to comprehend.

"I hope Mr Salman's cruelty is denounced by other Muslim leaders or else the fault lines in our society will only deepen," he said.

Later on ABC Melbourne, Mr Salman said the community was in no mood for a celebratory event and raised concerns over Labor's position on the Gaza conflict.

He acknowledged Premier Jacinta Allan does not have a say in Australia's foreign policy, but called for a greater show of solidarity in public after she expressed solidarity with the Jewish community.

"What we're asking for is for her to show that level of concern for our community in very unequivocal strong terms," Mr Salman said.

He also called for the state government to cancel a memorandum of understanding signed with the Israeli ministry's international defence cooperation directorate in December 2022.

An open letter calling on Victoria's Muslim community to boycott the dinner has more than 100 endorsements.

The Victorian government has hosted an Iftar dinner since 2015 and it will go ahead this year.

"Premier's Iftar dinners are an important tradition in Victoria," a government spokesperson said.

"We're working closely with leaders of Victoria's Islamic community to ensure that everybody's voices are heard, recognising that this year's event will be a more solemn and respectful occasion."

The spokesperson said the premier supported Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in calling for a humanitarian ceasefire, adding the government understood the heartbreak Palestinian and Muslim Victorians felt as the Gaza conflict continued.

The Australian National Imams Council and Australian Federation of Islamic Councils will not attend an Iftar dinner hosted by NSW Premier Chris Minns because of the suffering and oppression of Palestinians and the planned assault on Rafah by Israel coinciding with Ramadan.

"ANIC hopes that the Minns' Government will take a more just and considerate approach to acknowledging the distress of the communities in NSW and the suffering of the Palestinian people," Sheikh Shadi Alsuleiman from the Imams Council said.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils said not only will it not attend the premier's dinner, but it also won't hold its own.

"In these times of collective mourning and distress, it is more appropriate to channel our efforts and funds towards providing relief and support to those in dire need rather than convening for public events," it said in a statement.

The NSW dinner will still go ahead, a spokeswoman for Mr Minns told AAP.

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