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First Muslim party launched in Australia

The Australian Muslim Party has been founded to counter the spread of anti-Islamic politics in the country. It has decided that Muslims need a political voice more than ever to answer questions after the Paris attacks.

The party's founder, the 34-year old businessman Diaa Mohamed, announced the launch of the Australian Muslim Party on Tuesday.

"Four or five anti-Islamic parties are being created," Mohamed told Australia's ABC radio. "We need to do something to address that."

The party's supporters considered delaying the announcement in the wake of Friday's attacks organized by "Islamic State" terrorists in Paris. But given the number of questions the attacks have raised, Mohamed believed "it is as good a time as any to launch it."

Responding to such questions is the "whole reason we created this party," he added, noting that Muslims have so far lacked a voice in Australia's public debate. Mr. Mohamad had also founded an organization called Mypeace, which works to educate about Islam and dispel misconceptions about the religion.

Anti-Islam demonstration in Sydney

A "Reclaim Australia" demonstration held in Sydney

Islamophobia is on the rise in Australian politics. Two recently founded parties include the Australian Liberty Alliance, which lists stopping "the Islamisation of Australia" as one of its key policy goals, and the Love Australia or Leave Party, founded by Kim Vuga, an outspoken former participant on the reality show "Go Back to Where You Came From."

"We do have freedom and democracy in our country. However, I think that is going to shock quite a few people," Vuga said in response to the Australian Muslim Party's founding, according to ABC News.

The capital Sydney was victim to a terror attack late in 2014, in which armed men held a café hostage while holding a jihadist flag up against its window.

According to the "Sydney Morning Herald," Mr. Mohamad was instructed by senior Islamic clerics to "tread carefully" in seeking political representation for Muslims.

Australia is holding Senate elections next year. The Australian Muslim Party is confident that it can pull together the necessary 500 members to field its own candidates.

jtm/jil (dpa, KNA)