Islamic community leaders deny their children are being radicalized after a mother whose young son held a sign calling for beheadings turned herself into police.
The woman went to police on Monday but NSW Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward (above right) says the boy will stay with his parents.
“The police then went back to the house and assessed the children and assessed that they were safe so that is where they remain,” Ms Goward told ABC radio.
Senior Muslim community figures have condemned the action of the woman, whose boy was photographed holding a sign saying “Behead all those who insult the Prophet” at Saturday’s violent protest in Sydney against an anti-Islamic film.
The image quickly went viral, sparking community outrage and calls by Premier Barry O’Farrell for an investigation by the Department of Family Services.
Lebanese Muslim Association president Samier Dandan says while he welcomes the mother’s decision to go to police, he disapproves of the behavior.
“That’s something that we don’t encourage within our community, it’s something we condemn,” he told reporters at Lakemba mosque in Sydney’s west on Tuesday.
Mr Dandan said he would try to talk to the mother, but added he had been told the boy may have found the sign on the street and was “caught up in the hype” during the demonstrations.
“Does a child really understand what’s written on that placard?” he said.
Silma Ihram, a board member of the Australian Muslim Women’s Association, said she did not believe such incidents were widespread as she fronted the Lakemba news conference with Mr Dandan on behalf of 25 Muslim groups.
“I don’t believe that there is a radicalisation of children,” she said.
Ms Ihram said that in a democratic nation, parents should feel free to take their children to demonstrations.
“We don’t want to see a situation where people are afraid to take their children and participate,” she said.