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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Australian Muslims attacked
Burned-out remains of a Brisbane mosque
The mosque attack followed a series of anti-Muslim assaults
Australian authorities have stepped up security around mosques and Islamic schools after a series of assaults on Muslims.

It's a very unfortunate thing that a community that has nothing to do with what happened abroad finds itself accountable for the acts of criminals

Spokesman for Australian Muslims
A mosque in the eastern city of Brisbane was destroyed by suspected arson at the weekend in apparent retaliation for the US terror attacks.

Other mosques have been daubed with anti-Muslim graffitti and there have also been reports of verbal and physical attacks on Muslims.

Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said any violence towards Australian Muslims was totally unacceptable.

But a spokesman for Muslims in the state of New South Wales said his community felt "under siege".

Task force

Police in Queensland have set up a special task force to provide extra protection for Muslims following the Brisbane mosque burning.

"It's affecting Muslims in every aspect of their lives," said Ali Roude, chairman of the New South Wales Islamic Council.

Indonesian Muslims burn Australian flag
Muslims in Indonesia protested against the Brisbane attack
"It's a very unfortunate thing that a community that has nothing to do with what happened abroad finds itself accountable for the acts of criminals," he told the AP news agency.

Reports say a pregnant woman in the southern city of Melbourne was assaulted and a school bus carrying Muslim children was stoned.

In Indonesia, Muslim protesters torched an Australian flag in front of the Australian embassy in Jakarta in protest at the Brisbane mosque incident.

Military support

Prime Minister John Howard, has reaffirmed his country's support for any military action deemed necessary by the United States.

But he has also cautioned against Australians taking revenge into their own hands.

"We must not allow our natural anger at the extremes of spill over to Islamic people generally," he said last week.

The government has confirmed that three Australians died in the World Trade Center attacks. About 20 are still missing.

See also:

18 Sep 01 | Americas
Bush condemns 'revenge attacks'
24 Sep 01 | Americas
New York honours the dead
23 Sep 01 | Middle East
Gulf states back US
22 Sep 01 | South Asia
Aid shortage adds to Afghan woes
16 Sep 01 | Americas
US prepares for war
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