Apr 01, 2010

Assyria: Politician Receives Death Threats Linked to Genocide Monument

Sample ImageDeputy mayor Anwar Khoshaba has received death threats over his support of the Assyrian genocide monument. Cr Khoshaba told last week's monthly council meeting he and his family had been threatened and that he had reported the threats to police.


Below is an article published by: Assyrian International News Agency

"This is not a joke," he said. "My children, they are begging me to retire."
Cr Khoshaba linked the death threats to public opposition for the monument led by Fowler Federal Labor MP Julia Irwin. He told the council Ms Irwin was an "idiot" for speaking out against the monument in Federal Parliament last year. Federal Foreign Minister Stephen Smith also wrote to the council objecting to plans for the monument. Ms Irwin, who was not at the meeting, said the attack on her was "unwarranted."

She said she would make an official complaint about Cr Khoshaba's remarks in Federal Parliament. "I was concerned that Cr Khoshaba linked my activities with death threats that he has received," she said. "I have written to Alan Young, Fairfield Council city manger, requesting an Independent Review of Cr Khoshaba's statement. "I also expressed concern that the Mayor, Cr Nick Lalich MP failed to intervene." The 4.5m high monument, honouring the victims of Assyrian genocide, was approved by Fairfield Council last year. It was largely opposed by the local Turkish community.

Cr Khoshaba told the meeting he had done nothing to deserve the threats. "I do not want to be killed by some idiot who doesn't know what he is doing," he said. "I'm a father and a grandfather." City manager Alan Young would not comment on Ms Irwin's concerns, but said any complaint would be assessed in accordance with the Local Government Act.