As I attempted to avoid burning a chicken-and-vegetable pie, I couldn’t help but notice the loud and incessant racket of circling helicopters. I went outside to investigate and there they were, hovering low and moving slow over nearby Lakemba. I had seen this sort of aerial invasion before and understood it could mean only one thing. Once again the natives were restless in one of Sydney’s most notorious ghettoes.
Sure enough, after checking my favourite internet news sites, I knew that “concerned Muslims” were gathering once more beside the Lakemba train station, a regular and favourite venue for the airing of Islamic grievances, of which there seem to be very many indeed. What was making the beards shake with anger this time, I wondered? The rest of Sydney was concerned about the ‘largest antiterrorist operation in Australia’s history’, which had taken place earlier that day, and the evening newscasts were buzzing with reports of foiled plans for random and public beheadings.
It seemed the Lakemba faithful were concerned as well — not so much, mind you, by the thought of co-religionists splattering infidel blood all over Martin Plaza, but by “racist” policemen and the nakedly political assault their kuffar masters had ordered on the Religion of Peace. I know this for a fact because, after turning the oven to low, my wife and I ambled toward the sound of the racket. What we witnessed was yet another first-hand glimpse at the angry face of multicultural Australia.
The first thing to note is that it was a significant protest. In less than twelve hours all the requisite signs, speakers and equipment had been organised and put in place. The media has since reported a crowd of around 100, but my personal view is that this was very much an underestimate. I would put the count closer to double that figure, with many children encouraged to attend. If you are determined to steep your progeny in fear, to inculcate a mistrust of your fellow citizens, it pays to get an early start.
What is difficult to understand unless you they were there is how the protest was physically structured. With the area set aside for the core of the rally full to capacity, the throng spilled across the road and into an adjoining park, where the professional public-address system made sure nobody missed a word of what was being said. Of those in attendance it was impossible to say who had come to gawk and who to vent their fury, but my instinct says the latter far outnumbered the former.
While we can never know the numbers in each camp, what I can verify is that the air was thick with an ardent and unqualified Islamic solidarity. This atmosphere would shock many Sydneysiders who live in areas not yet within earshot of the muezzin’s call to prayer. For those of us who have watched the multicultural experiment transform a formerly unremarkable suburb into a hotbed of cultural separatism there were no surprises, the speakers’ rhetoric being entirely predictable.
It’s a conspiracy, the crowd was told over and over. The timing of the raids, coinciding with “the re-invasion” of Iraq, was intended to further persecute the Muslim community. The 600 police who staged the early morning round-up were determined to keep “the Anglos” – yes, they used such words — in fear of Muslims, and also to ensure that the non-Muslim rest of us will side with the authorities when guns are “pushed in the faces of innocent Muslims”. What I was hearing was the distilled essence of a paranoid victimhood at its most virulent.
My wife, taking the ‘softly,softly‘ approach, tried to reason with some of the women, expressing the view that Muslims should seize the moment to demonstrate their bona fides as genuine, committed Australians by expressing their support for the effort to combat terrorists and terrorism. “Why not affirm that you stand in solidarity against terrorism?” she asked. The responses were both telling and alarming.
“Are you saying all Muslims are terrorists?” replied one woman.
“You protest your way, we’ll protest ours,” sneered another.
“We don’t want your solidarity,” said a third.
No matter with whom we spoke, the rejection of the evening’s opportunity to integrate with the mainstream was universal. It might not seem such a big ask to endorse the far-from-radical view that would-be head-loppers bring no credit to any creed, but it soon became apparent that such a sentiment was entirely absent. Not only were there no answers to my wife’s very basic point, the very idea that she would express such a view was taken as further evidence that Muslims face prejudice and oppression at every turn.
As we strolled home to the comfort of home, hearth and chicken pie, one thing was beyond dispute: if Team Australia was present in Lakemba last night, it was still in the locker room and trying to find its boots.
The author, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, was a long-term local resident.