Arson attack on Kurdish Association of Victoria! - By Devrim Kilic

The premise of the Kurdish Association of Victoria (KAV) in Pascoe Vale was subject to an arson attack in the early hours of Thursday 14 of April 2011. Various members of the Kurdish community woke up to an intruder alarm at approximately 1:30am, and upon arrival at KAV, were met with numerous police and fire brigade officers putting out a fire which had started in the main hall.

According to the fire brigade, the fire was started when arsonists broke the rear windows of the KAV building and threw flammable substances into the main hall, which caused great damage to the building.

Since 2005, KAV has been subject to numerous arson and terror attempts. No culprits have ever been caught or arrested. Previous arson attempts on KAV included arsonists setting fire to the KAV building on two other separate occasions. The KAV was also subject to attacks and vandalism on three separate occasions. In one particular incident, vandals threw stones at the KAV building, breaking its windows. Therefore, KAV does not believe this recent incident to be an isolated or ordinary one, but rather connected to the previous attempts of arson and terror on KAV.

The Kurdish Community believes that the police are not taking these attacks seriously. This is because the Police have not taken any steps to prevent repeat attacks since the original arson attacks in 2005, where no culprits have ever been found. This lack of Police interest has meant that attacks on KAV have worsened, ultimately leading to this recent attack which destroyed the KAV building.

One can only describe these attacks as acts of terror, and it is our fundamental right to demand that the Australian Police protect the life and safety of their fellow citizens’ from further attacks, in which worse outcomes might eventuate.

The KAV was raided on 19 August 2010 by the AFP upon suspicion of funding the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). These raids left the Victorian Kurdish Community extremely distressed and anxious as they feared that this event would leave the community vulnerable to racist attacks and public condemnation. We believe the latest attack is the outcome of these raids by the Federal Police on KAV and a number of its member’s houses. These raids have caused the Australian Kurds to become targets of unknown terrorist attackers.

We believe these attacks on KAV are acts of terror as defined in the Anti-Terrorism Act (No.2) 2005, and perpetuated against fellow Australians. These attacks, which are racially motivated, are not only a danger to the life and limb of Kurdish Australians but also to other Australians.

The Australian Kurdish community do not feel safe and are traumatised by these events. The psychology of KAV member’s, especially children has been extremely disturbed. Further, as a result of the extensive damage to the KAV building, the Kurdish community can no longer gather together socially and continue its cultural and educational activities.

The Police must find the perpetuators behind these acts and bring them to justice before the courts. The Australian authorities have a high duty of care to come to the bottom of these attacks and reduce the risk of repeat attacks.

The only consolation to come out of this recent attack is that there were no people inside the KAV building during the attack. This could have led to serious bodily injury and death to anyone inside, which is a serious criminal offence.

The Kurdish-Australian community demands that the attackers be brought to justice, not only for the safety and security of Kurdish-Australians but Australians in general, as any further attacks could have far more serious reach and damage to property and life.  

The majority of the Kurdish people came to Australia to seek a peaceful life, after having escaped years of war, oppression and persecution, just for being born a Kurd. The Kurdish people have faced great onslaughts on their identity and language from their countries of origin, and any attempt to practice Kurdish culture has been met by fierce defence and retaliation, where thousands have been killed, displaced, tortured and imprisoned, including many women and children. It is these memories that Kurdish people bring with them to Australia, and put it aside to continue a peaceful existence whilst making positive contributions to themselves and wider Australian society. It is this strength of character that needs to be admired and protected. We ask all Australians to condemn these vicious terrorist attacks committed against your fellow Kurdish Australians.

The President of KAV, Mr Suleyman Ates has stated that ‘Kurds living here refer to Kurdish Association as Mala Kurdan, which means a home for the Kurds. This shows just how important the Kurdish Association is for the Kurdish people in Australia. It is the only location where the Kurdish people can get together for social and cultural activities. It is the second home for many Kurdish refugees, migrants and families living in Victoria and we condemn such attacks that disturb the community harmony.’

We ask Australian public to condemn this vicious terrorist attack committed against KAV. We also demand you to follow this case in our name.

For further information please contact Gulay Baykal on 0413 936 706 or Sema Yildiz on 0415 483 600

E-mail contact:

Kurdish Association of Victoria
36 Fawkner Rd, Pascoe Vale, 3044
Melbourne, Victoria.
Tel: 93795679


devrim kilic
editor in chief
Melbourne / Australia
Tel/Fax: 613-93061667

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April 18, 2011
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