Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Sydney on Friday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Sydney on Friday. Photo: AP

Australian Muslims who protested against allegedly brutal
tactics used by police in Thursday's counter-terrorism raids did not
represent their faith and should take a "long, hard look" at themselves,
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

Speaking in Sydney on Friday, Mr Abbott said the police
operation was "a show of strength … it needed to be a demonstration that
we will respond with strength to any threat to our way of life and to
our national security".

About 400 people attended a protest in Lakemba on Thursday night, expressing concern that the police raids were heavy-handed, and terrorised women and children.

Mr Abbott said "only about 100 people" attended the rally, which was "much smaller than had been expected".

"Sure, they were noisy and they were emphatic, but they were utterly unrepresentative of Australian Muslims," he said.

"The vast majority of people in this country, regardless of
their faith, are first-class Australians. They came here because they
wanted to join our team. They wanted to join us, not to change us."

Mr Abbott would be "disappointed" in any Australian who
"would be misguided enough to support anything that could lead to
demonstration killings of innocent Australians".

"I would say to those people who were noisily demonstrating … have a good, long, hard look at yourselves."

Joseph Wakim, a former Victorian Multicultural Affairs
commissioner and founder of the Australian Arabic Council, said the
angry tone of the rally did not help dispel negative Muslim stereotypes.

He did not attend the event, nor did many other prominent Muslim leaders.

But Mr Wakim said it was "intended as a pre-emptive strike" against an expected wave of anti-Muslim sentiment.

"[It was] basically to say to people 'I know you are about to
unleash a whole lot of venom on to us, but we are not going to cop it,'
" he said.

"The majority of Muslims are just so fed up with being either victim or villain."

Meantime, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, the Grand Mufti of Australia, joined other Muslim leaders on Friday to call for calm.

In a statement, they said Australians "have nothing to fear
from their Muslim neighbours who want peace and security for everyone,
regardless of religion".

Dr Ibrahim, the spiritual leader of Muslims in
Australia, said those arrested and charged on Thursday should be
presumed innocent until proved guilty.

He said the raids should not be used as an excuse to "inflame
hatred of certain segments of the community", adding there had been
reports of a rise in abuse and discrimination against Muslim Australians
over the past few weeks.

"Fair-minded Australians should not allow bigots and media
shock jocks to undermine the cohesion within society," Dr Ibrahim said.

A Facebook page, Islamophobia Register Australia, has been established to collate reports of "hate or bias-motivated" crimes.

Victims are also encouraged to contact the police.