The head of Wagga’s Muslim community has condemned the actions of the Islamic State terror group that claimed responsibility for the devastating attacks in Brussels on Tuesday.
The world is reeling after two bomb attacks ripped through the Belgium capital’s airport and underground train station, leaving 34 people dead and more than 200 injured.
Chairman of the Muslim Association of the Riverina Dr Ata ur Rehman said Wagga’s Islamic community was shocked and appalled by the “act of brutality” demonstrated by the Islamic State (ISIS).
“I think this group have committed a heinous crime that’s completely unjustifiable,” Mr Rehman said.
“They have preformed an exceptionally cruel and unjust act that has devastated the lives of innocent people.”
Dr Rehman, who has lived in Australia for 24 years, said the beliefs of ISIS were not in line with the religious practice of Islam and that attacks like this were in no way linked to the faith.
“The view of Wagga’s Muslim community remains the same; whether attacks like this are happening in our home countries or in Europe, our stance against these brutal people will never change,” he said.
“They are not close to Muslim and we don't even consider them to be Muslim at all, as their actions do not align with the peaceful nature of our religion.”
Belgium is now on the highest level of alert, while the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is urging travellers to reconsider their need to visit the country.
Despite the warning, lecturer of intelligence and analysis at Charles Sturt University John Hardy said security was now so tight, another attack was unlikely.
“I wouldn’t be deterred from travelling there, as attacks of this nature are very rare and the security after an event like this is phenomenal.”
“The police have the city on lock-down and there’s significant surveillance in all the major city areas,” he said.
Two of the suspected attackers were captured on CCTV wearing black gloves on their left hands thought to have concealed detonators.
Belgian police have launched a manhunt for a third man on the footage who is thought to have escaped the attacks and whose identity is not yet known.
Dr Rehman said Wagga’s Muslim community would stand behind Australia in supporting those suffering in Belgium.
“It tears us apart that this has happened and our hearts go out to all those affected by this heinous act,” he said.