#WISH: Non-Muslim women have donned hijabs in solidarity with the Muslim community.
#WISH: Non-Muslim women have donned hijabs in solidarity with the Muslim community. Photo: Facebook

Two Muslim men who have experienced the rising tension in the
community since the terrorism threat level was raised said it is
affecting everyone, from their wives and children to the elderly.

Steve and Adam from south-west Sydney said they "can feel the
tension in the air when you take your kids to the park" and there is
also a visibly increased presence of the authorities which was making
people feel uneasy.

In the past week, there have been a string of
incidents involving Muslim women being verbally abused in the street,
cars being vandalised and mosques and religious buildings sprayed with
graffiti. Muslim community members have said they feel they are the ones
being terrorised.

A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with being
armed with intent to commit an indictable offence after allegedly
entering the Al-Faisal school in Minto armed with a knife and asking if
it was a "Muslim School".

Steve and Adam have said some of the community have responded
by taking off the veil, trimming their beards or just staying at home
and not going out.

"People on both sides are afraid," said Steve.

But men had a message for the rest of the community to "stay calm" and don't react.

They said the Muslim community had been through this before, and it would pass.

"We don't want something like the Cronulla riots to happen again.

"We just hope that it goes back to how it was before. We
don't want anything to implode, we love this country, we just want to
live in this great country," they said.

Their comments come as Australians have banded together to
demonstrate their support for the Muslim community by organising
solidarity marches, setting up social media accounts and donning the
hijab in public.

Thousands of people have joined efforts to promote social
harmony, including a social media campaign called Women in Solidarity
with Hijabis (WISH).

The campaign, which was started by a non-Muslim woman named
Ruth who put on a hijab and posted her photo online, took off last week
and within three days the Facebook page had more than 7000 likes.

Muslim women commenting on the page were grateful for the
gesture saying it was appreciated especially given that women wearing
the hijab are bearing the brunt of public anti-Muslim sentiment.

In other initiatives a new Facebook page called
Australian Non Muslims supporting Muslims, which began last week,
already has almost 6000 members. The organisers said the "Islamophobia
and discrimination encountered every day by Muslims living in Australia
is unacceptable".

Sally Balkan, a Buddhist, is co-ordinating a solidarity march
to take place in each state early next month where people from
different faiths and backgrounds can march in support of the Muslim

"We refuse to hate each other," she told  Fairfax Media. 

Community Relations Commission chief executive Hakan Harman
said people "need to stand by each other, speak out against hate and
violence and report any incidents of harassment, intimidation or

Mr Harman said the actions of a few dangerous individuals
should not prevent people from treating each other with respect and

His comments come as 250 mosques around the country delivered a united message through their Imams.

Organised by the Australian National Imams Council, the
message to the congregations was that the "protection of human life is
one of the five basic rights in Islam and as a Muslim we have a duty to
protect humanity".

ANIC general manager Samir Bennegadi said the sermons
denounced the so-called fatwa from overseas targeting Australia, saying
it has no religious authority and reiterating that the horrors conducted
overseas in the name of religion are crimes against humanity and sins against God.