Posts Tagged ‘muslims in australia’

So only a week after the huge “controversy”  of a Hijab clad woman making it in one of the pages of a “Back to school” Target cataologue here in Australia, we find that another “stir” has been kicked by that ever so confronting Hijab again- this time in the form of an Australia Day ad that was originally showcased in Melbourne, Australia in a digital ad display.

The image is that of two young smiling girls, proudly clutching on to the Australian flag with their matching blue and white Hijab and clothing to fit the theme of our endearing colours. Yet these girls were not paid to put on a fake smile for the cameras in order to get paid by their talent agencies, these girls were ACTUAL attendees of last years Australia Day Celebrations here in Melbourne, Australia.

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This Australia Day Ad has caused a major backlash leading to it being taken down.

When this ad first appeared it was part of a larger Australia Day ad campaign that included people of ALL walks of life and it was not an ad that promoted exclusion, it actually was part of an ad that had a much larger and broader scope of people representing this beautiful country. When right wing groups saw this particular ad they immediately made complaints, calling the ad “UnAustralian” and a “Misrepresentation” of all things Australian.

Not only that- the company that put up the advertisement called QMS – recieved threats, some of which were serious enough to cause them to actually take down this advertisement and this was a very short term win for the right wing xenophobes who celebrated the ad take-down and in the meanwhile attacked these two young girls with vile comments.

Yet only a week after the ad was taken down a Gofundme page was made in order to bring back these ads and bring them back with a vengeance.! Instead of one humble sign off a road in Melbourne we find that over $100,000 has been raised in order to get these ads put up in EVERY capital city in Australia.  That’ll show them!

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Headscarf or no headscarf- this is irrelevant                                             in defining someone as Australian

 

People need to understand that even though you may disagree on children having a Hijab on – we see that parents that do put their children in headscarves are not committing a crime. Just like parents that take their prepubescent girls to model shows in makeup and scandalous clothing are not committing a crime. That is the point, if it were a crime your outcry would be heard, yet seeming that it is not then its a non argument at this point.

Now let us come back to the crux of this article, why on Earth would these two lovely girls be causing such a stir here in Australia? Is it a genuine concern in any way shape or form? Absolutely not and the evidence that we have points to one clear observation- this has nothing to do with addressing a genuine concern and everything to do with bigotry.

How can i take my point home? Well let me refer you to an interview with former tv presenter Prue Macsween who was on national television today and made the following statement about this ad campaign. “‘We are getting sick of bending over backwards to include Muslims.

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Commentator Prue Macsween basically told Muslims on National Television that nothing they do would make her “include” them and to stop trying too.


Wait what?
So one minute Muslims are not assimilating, so they need to shape up or quite literally ship out. Yet when Muslims are ACTUALLY attending Australia day rallies with flags and big smiles you scream that you are sick of bending over backwards to include them? Wow Prue, imagine how the Muslims themselves must actually feel.

Here they are on January 26th, enjoying a barbeque, waving the flag and spending their day with their fellow Australians of all races and religions and even then you still kick up a stink and tell them to stop making you “bend over backwards” to include them.

Well shock horror Prue and Co…You don’t have to bend over backwards at all. All you need to do is look at the ad and see their lovely smiles and their clear pride for this country and say “Yes, these are Australians!”. The end. The proof that bigotry is playing a major role in the outcry to this ad is the mere fact that they are darned if they do and darned if they don’t.

Assimilation is the key word that the right wingers like to throw around in order to prove that Muslims cannot be trusted. Well out here, in the real Australia, we are a diverse nation with people from all walks of life and yes- 3% of them are Muslim. Big or small, relevant or irrelevant Muslims are a PART of the Australian framework and there is nothing wrong for ads to make show of this reality, love it or hate it – this is the Australia that we live in.

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Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie is shocked that the Ad doesn’t feature bikini babes in front a flamin barbeque with shrimp, hot topless men and free flowing beer.

To have politicians make an outcry of this ad and bringing negative attention to two young innocent girls is shocking. The Senator of Tasmania Jacqui Lambie shared this picture and made the statement “What the??? Where’s the bbq, the bikini babe, the hot Aussie male, and the beer? What is going on??

Yes Jacqui, because Australian stereotypes we see on tacky tourism postcards in souvenir shops are a “true reflection” of what a true Australian is. Many Aussies don’t eat meat Jacqui. The Bikini Babe has been seen in pretty much every Australian ad campaign i can think of – think “where the bloody hell are ya?” and why subjugate Australian males based on their “hotness” are us average buggers now not Aussie enough Jacqui? It’s not like you exactly fit the definition of a Bikini Babe yourself!

 

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Jacqui Lambie is this close enough to the Australian ad you envision featuring true blue Aussies? 🙂

You see this is the clear issue, these people that make such statements are political figures in our country and their caricature of what an Australian is really proves what a satirical view they have of this country and its people, stuck far beyond the stage of Crocodile Dundee! Australia has changed dramatically in the course of 200 years and each time it has adapted to succeed and we need to take this step together as one nation.

When you see Muslims celebrating Australia day please do not label them as UnAustralian and make yourself the victim by claiming you are being forced to “include them”. How about when Muslims try and assimilate and include themselves you embrace that? Otherwise my only logical conclusion is that the problem is not the Muslims themselves but clearly you and if you’re part of the problem you never will be part of the solution.

PEACE. Salam.

-R

Peter Dutton is Australias official Immigration Minister and has recently come under fire for some of his statements about immigration in this country. He recently spoke out in parliament being very critical about former Prime Minister Malcolm Frasers decision in the 1970s to allow an influx of Lebanese and Muslim refugees from “rural areas” into Australia because the newest generation of Lebanese Muslim youth appear to be terrorists or conspirators of terrorism.

Now before i am found guilty of quote mining and misrepresenting Mr. Dutton, let us see exactly what he says because right after his statistics of fear he does provide a little disclaimer – albeit in the wrong order- before he is jeered by the opposition party. Mr Dutton says:

I thank the leader of the opposition leader for his question, if i said that i have….out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist relations in this country- 22 of those people are from second or third generation Lebanese Muslim background. I’m not going to allow people who are hard working, who’ve done the right thing by this country, who have contributed, who have worked hard, who have educated their children- I’m not going to allow these people to be defined by those people who are doing the wrong thing and who have been charged with terrorist offences, or who are involved in crime otherwise.

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Were Peter Duttons comments necessary or beneficial?

Did Mr. Dutton state the truth statistically? Well yes he did, those numbers do appear to be accurate and of course we should all be concerned about the safety and security of our entire Australian community. Yet when we look at the maths behind these statistics we find a number that is so underwhelming and irrelevant that bringing this up in Parliament appears to have been nothing more than a political push to promote our dwindling past, current and future dealings with refugees and immigrants.

You see approximately 200,000 people fit within the mould of second and third generation Lebanese in Australia. Twenty Two is the number of those charged with terror related offences. Divide the numbers up and we find that 0.011% of the entire second and third generation Australian Lebanese community have been involved in terror offences.

That is right, our immigration leader is speaking out against a former prime minister for letting in these Muslim Lebanese populations in the 1970’s because it appears they produced 0.011% of the terror related population in this country today.

As a matter of fact Peter Dutton statesThe reality is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in, in the 1970s, and we’re seeing that today. We need to be honest in having that discussion. There was a mistake made.

You see this is where his statement hits home hard and heavy for me personally. Although i am only half Lebanese his comments do offend me and my family. Mr. Dutton is talking specifically about my fathers generation and my generation. He is addressing both my Father and I. A Lebanese, Muslim man from “rural Lebanon” who came to this country with his family in the 1970’s during Malcom Frasers leadership. Calling my fathers migration to Australia a “mistake” is essentially calling ME a mistake. His comments almost negate my existence, it is like Mr. Dutton is pointing his finger at me saying he wishes i weren’t here and that i was a mistake, along with my father. Not exactly the welcoming language you’d expect from an immigration minister.

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My Father and I- 1985. Two direct recipients of Mr. Duttons criticisms. A 1970’s Lebanese Muslim Immigrant and a Second Generation Child.

Peter Duttons argument is basically this. We should have not allowed Muslim Lebanese people from “rural Lebanon” into Australia because a few generations later they would breed little potential terrorists. That would be like me saying we should not have allowed Anglo Saxons into this country because a few generations later they would wipe out almost the entire Aboriginal population of Tasmania. Or they would later be responsible for the most drink driving deaths on the road”.

Would it be fair if Mr. Dutton made his comment like this? “Out of the last 100 people who have been charged with drink driving in this country – 60 of those people are from second or third generation Anglo Saxon Australian background.

This is where his little disclaimer fails him abundantly and even though members of his party have defended him saying he is being taken out of context, he clearly is not. His statement worked within this format. Firstly he speaks to the media and insults a former Prime Ministers handling of immigration calling his acceptance of Lebanese Muslims a “mistake”. Then in parliament he hits us with a  “statistic” which reveals a dismally small percentage of his case study. Then he says BUT we cannot allow this minority to represent the majority.

You cannot negate your clear fear mongering via the media and the parliament using extremely explicit language about a very distinct community relating to both race and religion to the Australian parliament and people within this hostile climate – and then in the end say “We cannot allow the minority to represent the majority” when very clearly your statements show you are allowing the minority to represent the majority.

The fact is highlighting these figures and statistics even though they are factual is absolutely unnecessary. Do you see anybody relating to figures in regards to any topics when the total number of their example is 0.011%? Imagine if parliament spoke about every issue highlighting such statistics? It’d be tossed up and trashed in any market of academia yet suddenly it’s okay for our Immigration Minister to push these statistics of fear?

 

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I thought we were moving forward from this? Cronulla Riots. 2005.

Look the Lebanese community and the Muslim community are far from perfect, the bad apples exist just like in all communities. Yet My father, myself and the majority of my family who are of Lebanese Muslim background are contributing members of this society and i will never accept being labelled a mistake. My father came here with little English, low education from the cesspool of civil war and has established himself well here. I myself am another example of this generation that Mr. Dutton seems to look at with suspicion and tunnel vision.

I do believe what Mr. Dutton said was irresponsible and he can scream out “facts” all he likes but his position comes with a responsibility for the people. He needs to ensure that he is unifying and not dividing. His language, statements and comments about the Lebanese Muslim community in particular have been detrimental to our current social climate.

Eleven years ago we had people on a beach chanting “Fuck Off Lebs” after a race riot and we have worked so hard within the decade to bridge that gap and come together as first and foremost Australians. Yet forgive us for feeling a little uncomfortable with being labelled as “mistakes” by our own immigration minister. I think the only mistake is your own irresponsible rhetoric in parliament. 

Salam
R.E

Just a couple of days ago there was a terrible knife attack at a Hostel in Queensland, Australia . The victim was Mia Ayliffe-Chung,  a 21 year old British National who was stabbed by a 29 year old French Backpacker Smail Ayad.  The tragic murder sparked suspicion of extremism because the attacker yelled “Allahu’Akbar” (God is Great) whilst attacking the victim and whist being arrested.

This immediately caused a media stir with all major media outlets hastening to call this a “terror attack” on Australian soil because of the attackers use of “extremist language”.Yet the Police have already cleared this crime as a Murder based on jealousy and not at all terror related, regardless of what he shouted out.

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French National Smail (inset) attacked and killed Mia in a small hostel community in Queensland while shouting “Allahu’Akbar”.

Despite the Police commissioner being very quick to clear this act from terrorism– claiming there is no evidence at all that this man was radicalized- we see that xenophobic politicians immediately used this case as a means to loudly call – yet again- for the banning of Muslim Immigration of Australia claiming that “terror” and “jihad” has hit our shores simply because a man is shouting “Allahu’Akbar“.

A lot of people don’t realize that the term “Allahu’Akbar” (“God is Great”) is widely used in the Muslim community for a huge array of reasons, yet there is a disturbing trend i am noticing about the statement. Both extremists and bigots are taking the statement from the general Muslim population and are turning it into a phrase that one should fear.

Just to remind you that hearing someone say “Allahu’Akbar” is not all doom and gloom- i will present to you 9 other examples where “Allahu’Akbar” has been used for something
besides violence, hatred and bloodshed.

1) “Allahu’Akbar” Used Whilst SAVING lives.
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In this video footage in Aleppo, Syria- filmed in January 2014 we see a bunch of men unearthing a child from the rubble of a destroyed building. After doing all they can they chant “Allahu’Akbar” (God is Great) whilst holding the child after the rescue.

In fact there are multiple videos online showing the phrase being chanted whilst people are SAVING lives (as opposed to taking them.)

2) “Allahu’Akbar” during the call to PRAYER.
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If you’ve traveled to any country in the Middle East you may have noticed mysterious and mesmerizing voices coming out of the minarets. This is called the Call To Prayer and the very first line is “Allahu’Akbar”. This call is to remind Muslims to stop what they are doing and go to prayer.

3) “Allahu’Akbar” used in Music (and Nasheeds).
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Popular Muslim artists such as Sami Yusuf use the popular phrase in many of his songs including the popular hit “Asma Allah” which has almost 14 million views on Youtube. The term is an expression that is popular in many “Nasheeds” or songs that glorify.

4) “Allahu’Akbar” used to support Sportsmen/Women.
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Marathon Runner Mo Farah did the United Kingdom proud during the Rio Olympics this year- yet during one of his practice Marathon Runs in London in 2014 spectators of his could be heard shouting “Allahu’Akbar” at him in support for him to win.

5) “Allahu’Akbar” used by a talkative Parrot.
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Nothing to see here – simply a Parrot that shouts out “Allahu’Akbar” whilst raising his foot, simulating a Muslim rising during prayer.

6) “Allahu’Akbar” used in Awe of Nature.
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Many times during extreme weather events, or witnessing natural marvels- including the one featured in this video-  you will hear Muslims shouting “Allahu’Akbar” to symbolize Gods strength and power.

7) “Allahu’Akbar” used to celebrate Success.
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Sonny Bill Williams is a very popular footballer in Australia who converted to Islam a few years ago. During one of his wins he publicly declared on live television “last but not least, Allahu’Akbar!” whilst pointing to the sky.

8) “Allahu’Akbar” used during last moments in life 😦
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Adam Air- an Indonesian Airline was plummeting to the sea at rapid speed in 2007 due to Mechanical failure and the Black Box in the Cockpit clearly records the flight crew praying in fear as they realize they are helpless against this crash- shouting “Allahu’Akbar” until their final second on Earth.

9) “Allahu’Akbar” used when one converts to Islam.
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People from around the World Convert to Islam and after one states the Shahada (testimony of faith) they are met with a smothering of hugs and the famous “Takbir” which is proclaiming “Allahu’Akbar” (God is Great) out loud.

So there you have it, that was 9 other times you may have heard the term “Allah’u Akbar.” Please do not be like the media and ONLY associate the phrase with violence, bloodshed and evil behaviour. The bottom line is this statement is made by Muslims on a daily basis and we do not want extremists AND the media to Hijack this word and use it as a mouthpiece for evil.

Salam Alaykum, PEACE! 🙂

 

The Daily Telegraph this morning published an article by so called “journalist” Tim Blair- titled “Last drinks in Lakemba, Taking A Look Inside Sydneys Muslim Land”. Lakemba is a Suburb in South West Sydney approximately 20 kilometres from the city. I live in the Lakemba area and I have lived here for a huge chunk of my life and this article had many blatantly paranoid views from a journalist that must have experienced a “culture shock”, despite knowing nothing about the culture- or the suburb itself.

Let me be the first to admit, sure enough Lakemba might not have the lush greenery of Sydneys Northern Suburbs or the glistening beaches of Sydneys South. Indeed it might not have that “cosmo” feel of the Inner West Suburbs nor the “wide open spaces” of the far West, yet this “Muslim Land” as he calls it has a lot more to offer than he had stated and sitting in a pub just talking to an Anglo Australian about Muslims is not exactly the most balanced way of getting a true taste of the area.

Tim Blair confronted by Lakembas display of Foreign Flags- he must have missed the Australian one!

Tim Blair confronted by Lakembas display of Foreign Flags- he must have missed the Australian one!

Let us first look at the confusion that Tim Blair has when he visits Lakemba. Tim Blair at first is shocked to not find a Gideons Bible inside his Lakemba accommodation, a $50 a night pub. I wouldn’t think a tacky pub hotel would be the most appropriate place to learn about God but lets move on from there. To soften the blow he initiates his article with a few compliments about the area, according to him Lakemba is a great place for Middle Eastern food and he compliments the suburbs late closing hours for every day amenities and that Ladies and Gentlemen is where the compliments end from this ever so curious Journalist. In his brief evaluation of the positives of the area he mentions that it has good food and that is about it. There is one very important aspect missing from his evaluation, what about the people? What about the PEOPLE Tim? We will get to the people in just a moment.

In his introduction photo Tim Blair posts a photo of Haldon street in Lakemba, in particular a bunch of foreign flags waving above foreign looking shops. Indeed this street looks more united than the United Nations itself, yet the shock value is lost once you find that the biggest and most obvious flag on top of these shops is…you guessed it…the Australian flag! Furthermore Tim Blair is extremely confused with the demographics of Lakemba and cannot seem to see the difference between Middle Easterners and Indian/Bangladeshi folk. I guess they all dress alike in Muslim attire so its one and the same. In his article he says that Lakemba is an” ethnic mix that seems similar to what you’d find in any Arabic city.”

Tim Blair confuses Lakembas mainly Bangladeshi/Indian and Pakistani population as "Arab".

Tim Blair confuses Lakembas mainly Bangladeshi/Indian and Pakistani population as “Arabic”.

The only bleeding obvious fact is that Lakemba is NOT an “Arabic city” and any layman can witness, with their own two eyes the extremely strong Indian and Bangladeshi influence. According to the 2011 census 21% of Lakembas population are of Indian/Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent whilst only 5% are Lebanese or “Arabic”. Tim Blair continues to then state that Lakemba is multicultural but also strictly is a MONOculture, which is highly offensive given that only 50% of the population are Muslim and again according to factual demographics the area also covers at least 20% Christians, 6% with NO religion and 5% Buddhists so yes, according to the demographics Lakemba does not have a single monoculture but is in fact a varied blend of races and creeds.

Tim Blair then decides to take advantage of the fragile and most recent Israel and Gaza conflict that cost the lives of almost 2,000 Palestinians. He mentions that a few weeks ago the streets of Lakemba were riddled with Pro Jihadi Muslim men chanting for both Palestine and Jihad. He then goes on to mention the link between a few extremists in the area and their supposed link to ISIS. In this summary based on the PEOPLE of Lakemba, we are off to a bad start because thus far Tim Blair has only painted the people of Lakemba to be violent extremists.

Tim Blair seems more interesting in meeting Islamic Mannequins, than actual Islamic people.

Tim Blair seems more interested in meeting Islamic Mannequins, than actual Islamic people.

Is Tim Blair aware that hours before he wrote his misinformed article that Muslim officials gathered in Lakemba along side government officials to openly condemn extremism and promise to fight it? Funny how that is conveniently missing from his biased narrative of this suburb. Not to mention NSW Islamic Council’s Khaled Sukkarieh said in regards to the actions of extremist activity “We condemn it all in the name of Islam”.

In what appears to be a move made by someone trying to fulfil their preconceived notions about a place, as opposed to openly wanting to learn about it. Tim Blair made his way to an Islamic Book Store in Lakemba  to sift through books and find particular pages with quotes that he found disturbing, including a Q&A book on Islam that openly stated you cannot support or love disbelievers. If Tim Blair had bothered to open the highest book of authority on Islam he will see that friendship is allowed. “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who do not fight you for your Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.” (Quran 60:8.)

He then goes on to find other unsavoury book titles, of which I myself found to be in bad taste but alas if I were to walk in to any library in New South Wales I am sure that somewhere, somehow I will find a book or a quote in a book that I deem to be offensive, counterproductive or damaging– but the reality is that book, or that quote- still does NOT represent the people of the area and in this apparent smear campaign of Lakemba it appears Tim Blair is pulling at any straws to make Lakemba a place of savagery.

Hours before Tim Blairs article Muslim leaders IN Lakemba openly condemned extremism and promised to fight it.

Hours before Tim Blairs article Muslim leaders IN Lakemba openly condemned extremism and promised to fight it.

Tim Blair then takes his article to a whole other level by not only saying that the people of Lakemba are backwards extremists but he pulls the “unemployment” card out to indicate that the Muslim community of Lakemba are also lazy by highlighting the suburbs high unemployment rate. Sure, Lakemba has a relatively high unemployment rate in the Sydney district but how he links this to Islam or Muslims is rather peculiar seeming there are suburbs with HIGHER or similar rates of unemployment with extremely low Muslim populations- with these facts we break his chain of over the top assertions.

Lakemba has an unemployment rate of around 11%. The Sydney Suburb of Cabramatta has an unemployment rate of about 14%. Cabramatta has a 50% Buddhist population, will Tim Blair make a sweeping statement about welfare loving Asians or Buddhists? The unemployment rate of Wollongong in Sydneys south is almost 10%. No Religion is the highest demographic in the area. Will Tim Blair make a sweeping statement about Non Believing Heathens and their lazy Godless lifestyles? The unemployment rate of the Sydney Suburb Fairfield is almost 13% and the highest religious denomination is 35% Catholic. Will Tim Blair make a sweeping statement about shady “priests” and their lazy perverted population?

Lakemba hosts the hugely successful month long Ramadan Food Festival.

Lakemba hosts the hugely successful month long Ramadan Food Festival.

That just shows how shoddy this “drive-by” type of Journalism is. Tim Blair assumed that by renting a hotel and lingering in a suburb for some hours that he could make such ridiculous statements about this community, and yet still not a single nice thing about the people of Lakemba found in his article. If Tim Blair was honest in his endeavour to know more about the people of this estranged “Muslim Land” would it not make sense to visit Lakemba Mosque? The most popular mosque in Sydney? I am absolutely confident that he would have been welcome there with open arms by both officials and worshippers. Besides Lakemba Mosque is the venue where they have “open days” allowing people from all walks of life to tour the mosque, ask questions and learn more about Islam. Isn’t that what any honest journalist with integrity would do if he really wanted to “learn more” about a place and its people?

Lakemba is a diverse place and in fact the Ramadan Food festival just finished up in Lakemba. Where food stalls were open for all people whether at 6pm, 10pm or 2am. The News even broadcasted this event and on the two occasions I was at the 2014 Ramadan food festival I saw people from different cultures attend. I was sitting next to an American girl in a cafe having a laugh with her African American friend.. I saw two Latvian tourists. I saw two middle aged English ladies trying a Camel burger. I had a few work colleagues attend. This was another sign of the areas yes- good food but also good hospitality. I take my non Arab and Non Muslim friends to my area so they can get a glimpse of this “other side” and they always return home with nothing but good words to say, not only about the delicious food and late closing hours but also the strong sense of family and community that is seen all throughout the Lakemba region.

Tim Blair must be unaware of Lakembas annual "Haldon Street Festival" attracting many thousands.

Tim Blair must be unaware of Lakembas annual “Haldon Street Festival” attracting many thousands.

Journalists like Tim Blair are detrimental to society because they pretend to seek knowledge knowing they are endeavouring to only fulfil their own quota. It is beyond obvious that Tim Blair already had an opinion on Arabs and Muslims and he took this express trip under the guise of “journalism” to highlight this fantasy that he had- actively looking for what he wanted and sneakily avoiding what he wished not to confront. He travelled all the way to “Muslim Land” only to not speak to a single Muslim. How odd. As I said, I know that Lakemba is not the Santa Monica of Sydney, but for what its worth it has a lot more to offer than what Tim Blair presented in his dirty piece published by the Daily Telegraph.

Peace, Salam.