Â Islamic leaders labelled the event “racist”.
Oppose the freedom sack and you are causing a riot.Â Wrap yourself in shrouds and you -somehow- turn into another race. Islam makes it possible. Fresh thinking:
Wes Hosking, Fenella Wagener, Herald Sun
Kye Keating started the movement for theÂ ‘Ban the Burqa Day’ protest. Picture: Craig Borrow Herald Sun
UPDATE 11.16am: A NATIONAL day of protest demanding the burqa be banned has raised fears it could provoke Cronulla riot-style hysteria.
Which Cronullah ‘riots?’
Â Once again: Cronulla was not about ‘race’- it was about Aussies being raped, molested and attacked over a long period of time. When Muslims ganged up and started beating up Aussie-life-savers, that was the straw that broke the camels back.
Almost 14,000 people have signed up for Monday’s “Ban the Burqa Day”, which urges protesters to wear a balaclava or mask.
But Islamic leaders labelled the event “racist.”
Islam is not a race. Its a violent ideology that masquerades as a religion.
Organiser Kye Keating, 20, instigated the protest with two friends via Facebook after Sydney woman Carnita Matthews used her burqa to quash a jail sentence for deliberately making a false statement to police.
“This event is not aimed at race, it is not aimed at religion,” Mr Keating said.
“It is just aimed at concealing your identity in a public place. If everyone is not allowed to do it, no one should be allowed to do it.”
But many have said they are disappointed with Mr Keating’s apparent lack of knowledge on the topic after he appeared on Nine’s TODAY this morning.
“I’m not the most educated on this subject, I just had an idea,” Mr Keating said on Nine.
Viewer Natasha Kastermans said: “It was great that this got heard on the TODAY show, but seriously you knew you were going to go on there and you had nothing constructive to say about it… FAIL.”
David Thatcher said the “Ban the Burqa Day” was absurd and irrational.
“The vast majority of Muslims, and groups that represent Muslims, support the police in verifying the identity of women who wear burkas (sic),” he said.
How would he know?
Mr Keating, a former hospitality student from Victoria looking for work, has been surprised by interest in the event.
Even an elderly nursing home resident will be among protesters going about with their faces covered.
“It’s not so much about adopting our culture and completely dropping your own,” Mr Keating said.
“It is just making those slight little changes that make it easier for you to become an Aussie.”
The furore comes after the Baillieu Government revealed this month it would investigate if there was a need in Victoria for laws, being adopted in other states, that empower police to force Muslim women wearing a full veil to reveal their faces.
Islamic Council of Victoria director Nazeem Hussain said that fewer than 3000 Muslim women who wore burqas in Australia had no problem taking the garment off for police, who have power to demand identification.
“This kind of mass demonstration, this mass show of intolerance is just that,” Mr Hussain said. “I would say it’s hysteria reminiscent of Cronulla.”
Muslim community spokesman Keysar Trad said women chose to wear the burqa for religious observance, not to hide their identity. “All I see beneath that call is bigotry and intolerance,” Mr Trad said.
Liberal backbencher Bernie Finn, who supports banning the burqa in some places for security reasons, said people were entitled to express concerns about the garment.
Skewered Reporting, Flashback:
Police question men they suspect of being involved with the violence
By Nick Squires in Darwin12:03AM GMT 13 Dec 2005
Racial violence flared in Sydney yesterday in apparent retaliation for earlier clashes in which a mob of 5,000 white youths chanted abuse and attacked people of Middle Eastern origin.
The real problem are Leb- & Paki Muslims:
The second night of violence brought terror to one of the city’s best known beaches. It flared when young men of mostly Lebanese background clashed with police, throwing stones and other missiles.
Witnesses reported several gun shots and one woman was said to have been stabbed.
Police reinforcements were drafted in as thugs attacked cars and shops with baseball bats and threatened to do battle with rival white gangs with guns and crowbars.
About 200 young Muslim men gathered outside one of the city’s largest mosques, some armed with pistols.
A white woman in a car was said to have been approached by some men and told: “We are going to rape you, you Aussie slut.” It was claimed that a shot was fired at the vehicle.
The cycle of violence tarnished Australia’s reputation – often promoted by the government – as a bastion of tolerance and racial integration.
Anti-Muslim feeling has been exacerbated by the Bali bombings, a series of gang rapes of white women by men of Pakistani and Lebanese background and last month’s counter-terrorism raids on alleged Islamic militants in Melbourne and Sydney. White youths also accuse Lebanese-Australian men of looking for trouble in beach areas, intimidating women in bikinis and picking fights.
The violence was concentrated on Cronulla, a southern suburb where rioting on Sunday led to more than 30 injuries and 16 arrests.
Cronulla, a staunchly Anglo-Celtic area, attracts thousands of trippers from the less salubrious western suburbs, a stronghold of the Middle Eastern and Muslim communities, which number 300,000 out of the national population of 20 million.
It has a reputation for resenting non-Anglo visitors. On Sunday thousands of white youths congregated on the beach front to protest against an incident last week in which two lifeguards – the epitome of white Australian culture – were beaten up by men of Lebanese origin. The lifeguards were attacked after asking a group to stop playing football because it was disturbing others.
Although peaceful at first, the demonstration was tinged with racism from the start – one man set up a barbecue offering “Free snags [sausages], no tabouli”. Another had scrawled on his chest “Mohammed was a camel-raping faggot”.
The crowd chanted “No more Lebs [Lebanese]” and sang Waltzing Matilda.
The atmosphere soon turned ugly, with police using pepper spray and batons to subdue rioters who pelted officers with bottles and smashed up patrol cars.
A Muslim woman had her head scarf torn off in what police described as a “cowardly” and “un-Australian” act.
White supremacist and neo-Nazi groups were among the crowd. “They have no place in mainstream Australian society,” the New South Wales police minister, Carl Scully, said. “Those characters are best placed in 1930s Berlin, not in Cronulla in 2005.”
John Howard, the prime minister, said: “Attacking people because of their race, their appearance, their ethnicity is totally unacceptable.” He added that he did “not accept that there is underlying racism in this country”.
Kuranda Seyit, of the Forum on Australian-Islamic Relations, disagreed. “There is racism running deeply in the Australian psyche. It’s been simmering for years.”