“Unfounded fear, hatred or hostility directed towards Muslims and Islam. It affects all aspect of Muslim life.”
(Runnymede Trust, UK, 1997).
A protest by a few hundred people in Sydney’s CBD over an anti-Muslim racist film, “Innocence of Muslims” turned into an ugly scene. It is a protest against deep-seated Islamophobia and Western attitudes toward Muslims and Islam, which are linked to Western wars of aggression against Muslim nations.
While the majority of the protesters were peaceful and law-abiding Muslims who have unimpeded right to protest, violence overshadowed the event. The violence was instigated by provocateurs, and heavy-handed police who used pepper spray, batons and dogs. Muslim “leaders” and Muslim organisations around the country wasted no time in condemning the violence. It is alleged that the protest started by way of SMS texts and was not sanctioned or planned by any of the Muslim organisations. However, Sydney police have now admitted that people in the Muslim community tipped police off in advance of the protest and the police were well-prepared for any eventuality.
Sadly, the protest was immediately picked and twisted by the despicable and racist Australian media, particularly the TV channels and talkback radio stations. They began attacking all things Islamic, disseminating their anti-Muslim Zionist propaganda, demonising and denigrating Muslim Australians and Islam. Through sensationalist and unbalanced reporting they are back to their usual role to whip-up fear. Much of the Australian public anger, inflamed by the anti-Muslim media reporting, has focused on the placards held by protesters and the violence. One placard carried by a child called for the beheading of people who insulted the Prophet. It is revealed that neither the child nor his mother can read English. The mother, in particular, had no idea what “behead” meant. According to the police, she had been in Australia just two years and spoke little English. The placard was later carried by other people and its maker remains unknown. The aim of Western media and Western politicians is to drag the entire Muslim community through the mud and put it on trial because Muslims are an easy target. Can you imagine what would happen if a Jewish Rabbi is mocked in the same way Prophet Mohammad is mocked? You do not have to. The sword of “anti-Semitism” will be long enough to cut the head of anyone who dares.
It is worth noting that Western media and Western politicians are very selective when it comes to violence. For instance, a similar, if not worse, protest took place in Perth a few days before the Sydney protest but received nowhere near as much media coverage. Mounted police, the dog squad, and even a police helicopter were involved to control 500 teenagers at a party that had got out of hand. Revellers threw rocks, bottles and bricks at police. A 19-year-old teenager was stabbed and an ambulance window smashed. Neither politicians nor the media have condemned the violence.
Since the 9/11 attacks, Muslim Australians are living under siege, constantly harassed and monitored by police and ASIO agents (Australia’s Security and Intelligence Organisation) as they go about their businesses. Injustice, racism, racial profiling and racially-motivated violence against Muslims, particularly against traditionally dressed Muslim women, have become the norm. Many Muslims in Australia live in fear.
On 05 September 2012, the Director-general of Security and head of ASIO, David Irvine, told a conference on security in Canberra that Muslim Australians intent on “committing acts of terrorism continue to talk in back rooms and in cars and on the streets or travel overseas to undertake their particular form of violent jihad”. He provided no evidence, but urged the Government to provide more funds to sustain ASIO and the new “anti-terrorism” industry.
On 12 September 2012, Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, and ASIO agents were involved in sweeping raids across Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs where many Muslim Australians live. More than 11 homes and Islamic centres belonging to Muslim Australians were raided and searched. They were looking for an online English-language magazine. A 23-year-old man of Bosnian origin was detained for possession of a USB drive “containing violent materials”, the police alleged. It was an embarrassment, giving the large size of such an operation.
According to Robert Stary, a criminal defence lawyer in Melbourne: “Muslim Australians who support the Palestinian struggle feel vulnerable … They have seen the many prosecutions [of innocent Muslims], some of which have failed some of which have been successful”. ASIO is a very large and well-funded organisation. In fact ASIO “is unparalleled in its growth and its size and its power in the history of the democracy of Australia”, Stary said.
It is important to note that, with the exception of one Muslim individual jailed in 2009 on trumped-up “terrorism” charges, not one Muslim Australian has been found to have advocated violence in Australia. When it comes to Muslims, the police and the justice systems are used to intimidate Muslims and justify the imposition of draconian “anti-terrorism” laws. With 45 laws specifically targeting Muslims, Australia has become another bastion of Islamophobia like Europe, Israel, and North America, if not worse.
According to the Islamic Society of Victoria members of the Muslim community in Preston claim ASIO agents are harassing worshippers on daily basis, offering them jobs and demanding personal information on their friends and relatives. It is alleged that within the Muslim community, the police and ASIO have informants to spy on their fellow Muslims. The identity of these spies are often exposed (by police and ASIO) to encourage divisions and mistrust within the Muslim community. As Baha Yahya, the secretary of the Islamic Society of Victoria admitted: “There is a bit of mistrust in the community, because nobody knows who is working for ASIO, because a lot of people have been approached and they have also been asked to work for ASIO”, spying on friends and relatives. The imperialist policy of “divide and rule” fits nicely in a country already divided along ethnic and religious lines.
The police and ASIO have divided the Australian Muslim community into “good Muslims” and “bad Muslims” using job enticement, fear and intimidation. By playing Muslims against one another, a number of “good Muslims” are working with police and ASIO as informants. Other “good Muslims” are trotted out on television and radio to apologise for the protest and to sing praises to the police and Australia’s efforts (complicity in U.S. aggression) to “bring democracy” to Muslim nations. One academic (of Egyptian origin) accused the Sydney’s protesters of “looking for identity” and that their protest has nothing to do with blasphemy against Islam, unaware that he has sold his identity.
Blasphemy is a political tactic to provoke an angry response. It has nothing to do with “free speech” or criticism of Islam. It is only “free speech” because Western governments, Western media and Google and YouTube (both owned and operated by pro-Israel and anti-Muslim Zionist Americans) approved it. The release of the racist film and the publication of hateful cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo have been timed to coincide with the 9/11 attacks in America and the 30th anniversary of the three-day massacre of thousands of innocent Lebanese and Palestinian refugees, mostly women and children in Sabre and Shatila refugees camp by the Israeli army and their Christian Phalange (fascist) collaborators. One event is to remember and use as a pretext to commit more violence, the other is to forget and remove from the history of U.S.-Israel crimes. It is part of ongoing propaganda campaign to justify U.S.-Israel aggression on Muslim nations.
Only a self-serving naïf portrays the protests as driven by religious sentiment and “fanaticism”. The protests are against deep-seated Islamophobia that is spreading like wildfire across the world, Western wars of aggression, flagrant violations of international and human rights laws and Western unconditional support to the Israeli fascist regime. The film provided the trigger to channel people’s anger and grievances against Western attitudes toward Muslims and Islam. In other words, the film is the “catalyst for the angry protests rather than the underlying cause”, writes Ray McGovern, a former CIA officer.
The shadowy figure behind the racist film is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an extremist Coptic-Christian from Egypt living in America with a long criminal record. Nakoula is known as a voracious Islam-hater with links to well-known Islamophobes and pro-Israel Zionist Jews, such as Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz, Pamela Geller and pro-Israel Christian fundamentalists. The producer of the film, Steven Klein, is an anti-Muslim fascist bigot who is linked to a well-funded anti-Islam Zionist network (For more, see: Max Blumenthal, The Great Islamophobic Crusade). The film “is not an anomaly in an otherwise secular and tolerant nation. Rather, it joins a slew of similar films produced by a well-funded Islamophobic network such as the “Third Jihad” which was shown to NYPD recruits as part of their training”, writes Deepa Kumar, a professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University (See, Deepa Kumar, Cutting through the anti-Muslim propaganda).
The protest provides an excuse for overt racism and discrimination against Muslims. Muslim Australians have begun to receive hate messages and violent threats along with vicious racist attacks through the Zionist “social media”, Twitter and Facebook. The so-called “White-pride” groups, racist “home-grown” Australians, are calling for what they call anti-Muslim violent “retaliation”. The Australian media and politicians used the event to incite racism and inflame community tensions.
Australian politicians were quick not to miss an opportunity to promote their own interests and racist agenda. The Coalition of Liberal and National Party (LNP), a collection of fascists and racist bigots, began attacking multiculturalism (a code word for Islam) as the problem facing Australia’s future. Coalition MP George Christensen has suggested that the small child who held up a placard during weekend protests should be put in the care of “better people” to be assimilated in the same way many Indigenous Australians were denied parental care. You wonder if George Christensen knows that Australia ranked very high among comparable violent countries in the world. Australia Bureau of Statistics data (2009) showed that violence is higher among Australian-born persons, followed by those born in the main English-speaking countries, than those born in other countries.
Another opportunist Liberal, the bigoted Senator Cory Bernardi described the protest as a “wake-up call” to people who are in denial about a significant problem emerging in Australia, a.k.a. the presence of Muslims. “What occurred in western Europe a decade ago is now happening here”, he added on his Web site. Bernardi is a proponent of “White Australia” policy and a supporter of the Muslim hater and pro-Israel Dutch fascist, Geert Wilders, who is calling on the Israeli fascist regime to transfer (ethnic cleansing) all Palestinians to Jordan. Like Geert, Bernardi is the antithesis of diversity and multiculturalism. Before his resignation from the LNP for his outrageous attitude towards gay people, Bernardi has called for an end to Muslim immigration to Australia. “The naive cling to the romantic idealisation of the generations of migrants who have successfully settled in [White] Australia, thinking things will continue just as they have in the past”, he writes on his Web site. To the contrary, multiculturalism has been an Australian success story; it preserves “white supremacy” and isolates the rest of “Australians” in their places. Multiculturalism is not the problem; Islam is.
For example, there is substantial evidence of racial discrimination in employment against Muslim Australians. A recent study by researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra found that Australians with a Middle Eastern names and background (a.k.a. Muslims) had to send 127 per cent more applications for a waiter’s position than their Anglo-Saxon contenders.
While the Sydney protest will further marginalise an already marginalised Muslim community, there will always be protests against deep-seated Islamophobia and Western wars of aggression against Muslim nations. The only way forward is a world based on peaceful coexistence regardless of religion, ethnic backgrounds and political affiliations.
Ghali Hassan is an independent political analyst living in Australia.