Posts Tagged ‘stereotypes’

مرحبا والسلام.  <— Does this scare you? I’d certainly hope not because i just greeted you and wished you peace, in Arabic. You see just over 48 hours ago all schools in a county of Virginia, the United States were shut down because a school received so many complaints from angry parents about a Geography Lesson aiming at explaining the complexity of Arabic Calligraphy. The school used the Islamic Shahada (Testimony of Faith) as an example of its complex structure.

The Shahada or testimony of faith in Islam states “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger.” The fact is the school was dealing with language and religion and used quite a specific and important language slogan that details the complexity of the calligraphy, whilst also highlighting the religious importance behind it. Yet many parents and students felt they were being indoctrinated and somehow forced to submit to Islam by simply learning how to write beautiful calligraphy.


This homework on Arabic Caligraphy shut down all schools in a county of Virginia.

The angry backlash caused every school in the county to shut down due to security threats and fear of negative repercussions- all because this alien language and religion was used as a study topic in a school. Seems nonsensical but not in modern day America it isn’t. Especially with the likes of Donald Trump getting more TV air time than anybody of higher significance – we are seeing such fear and hostility is spreading into the communities.

Only weeks ago a woman was attacked in an Applebees restaurant in Minnesota, the US. 43 year old Jodie Burchard-Risch was so disgusted that a fellow diner in the restaurant – Ms. Asma Jama was speaking with her family in Swahili that she yelled “In America you speak English” then physically assaulted her by smashing a beer glass on her face.


Asma Jama (right) was attacked at an Applebees restaurant in Minnesota for speaking Swahili.

One must beg the question, what is it with this obsession that you “must” speak English and why does it disturb so many people that others speak another language in public? Why must you understand what others are saying when they are in fact not speaking to you? Are there any laws in the United States that claim it is illegal to publicly speak another language? All of these are pressing questions for the ones that have a burning ear when they hear something besides English.

Yet this isn’t only an American problem.

Yesterday here in Sydney, Australia we have the case of a woman on a train abusing another lady who was speaking Spanish to her mother on the phone. A middle aged “Australian” woman decided to hurl verbal abuse at the young Natalie Soto for daring to speak another language in public besides English.

We speak English in this country. If you can’t speak it in public don’t speak it at all.” – Said the angry patriotic woman who had such an itch for Spanish that it somehow forced her to speak out in disgust. “Speak it in your own home, don’t speak it in public” – she continues.


This woman verbally assaulted a fellow passenger on a Sydney train for speaking Spanish. Telling her to “Go home”.

What is odd is that this woman, amongst all the others who hold no tolerance for Multi-Lingual speakers could even come up with a logical excuse on why the other party should stop. It is not against any Australian law. It is absolutely harmless. Most times another language sounds beautiful and exotic and really highlights what a vibrant multi-cultural society we live in.

You see Australians who have huge issues with others not speaking English do not have a leg to stand on. The major problem is that i can assure you none of these bigots could speak even one of our many Native Aboriginal languages that existed in abundance before their colonial ancestors stepped foot on this land. It would only be fair that if they say all “others” MUST speak English in Australia, that then indeed all English speakers MUST speak one native Aboriginal language.

Claiming that we “Only” speak English in this country is wrong. You see this country has a history that spreads further than our 230 year Colonial history. Rewind that tape to find that Australia, before any explorers settled the area already had multiple peoples and languages within it. Many of which became extinct and depleted once settlers and prisoners came in. Yet i have never seen or heard of a single Aboriginal person telling me i MUST speak Dharug (the Native language of Sydney). Yet what i do hear loud and clear are post colonial “Australians” yelling at anyone who does not speak English- a language that is actually FOREIGN to Australia itself.


Above: All languages spoken in Australia prior to English Settlement 230 years ago.

This all falls back with another example of the Media onslaught of the Grand Mufti of Australia Mr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammed who speaks very little English. People seem to focus more about the language than what words are actually being used. I’d rather someone tell me they Love me in French than they hate me in English. The bottom line is its not necessarily the language itself, it is how we use the language and what we say.

The Grand Mufti of Australia has openly denounced terrorism, loud and clear on multiple occasions in Arabic and with English translators. Yet there was no applause for condemning terrorism, instead there was dismay that he was not speaking English.


Grand Mufti of Australia (left) publicly denounces terrorism, yet gets yelled atfor not doing it in English.

I really think people are missing the point….

Peace, Salam 🙂


Sydney is a massive city, it spans for approximately 60 kilometres and covers a lot of land sprawling from the sea to the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The city of Sydney has many “Government Areas” which is basically a cluster of suburbs that make up a council area. Since I was at least 5 years of age I have lived in Sydney (from Newcastle) .

My parents were immigrants coming from Lebanon and former Yugoslavia during the 1970’s, where a huge wave of migration had flooded in to Australia and surprisingly the “White Australia Policy” had recently ceased. We started off living in the lovely coastal area of Brighton in Sydney’s South, then we moved slightly inland to Arncliffe and as the years went by the affordability of Sydney had diminished and my family and I saw ourselves living in the infamous “South West” region of Sydney, in the Canterbury/Bankstown council areas.

During this period, the tension was ending between Sydney’s Vietnamese community and the countries “fight” against its increasing drug crimes in Sydney’s Western Suburb of Cabramatta. As a high influx of predominately Lebanese people moved in to Sydney they settled in the Bankstown region in Sydney’s South West. Slowly, but surely the new crime wave focus was against the Lebanese community and this has been the case since the 1990’s. For over the past decade my area, affectionately known as “Banksy” has built itself a reputation. One of extreme crime, racial tension, drive by shootings and being likened to something like Compton or the Bronx in the United States.


My migrant parents. 1980’s Sydney.

Indeed, like many suburbs it has faced its issues, particularly in the past- yet it appears that the notion of the Bankstown region being the crime capital of Sydney has really stuck. It is as if the area has a permanent stain on it and is focused on living in the past and many people seem to have no problem labelling it as such, yet as with most cases many of these “testimonies” come from outsiders. People who had visited briefly, or heard their friends talk about it or perhaps are influenced by the news reports.

I have lived in the Canterbury/Bankstown region of South West Sydney for approximately 20 years. In this time I have personally witnessed three street fights, our car  getting stolen-  twice, one attempted robbery (of our neighbour) and that is about it. Considering the length of time I was in the heart of this “crime capital” my experiences don’t sound overly excessive. The truth of the matter is evidence provided by the New South Wales Bureau Of Crime Statistics and Research supports my claim, in that this “crime hub” of Sydney is stuck in time and is sadly having its potential ripped out of it based on misinformation and a certain implausible “fear factor”.

The ADL, or “Australian Defence League” have been making sweeping public statements about Lebanese immigrants, in particular the Muslims to media outlets that further cause this social tension and distrust of a community. Ralph Cerminara the “president” of the Australian Defence League said in a recent ABC 7:30pm report interview:


Australian Defence League accused Muslims of “Raping our women- raping our families and coming after us!”


Well of course. They [Middle Eastern Muslims] are coming after us. They’re raping our children. They’re raping our families. They are – now in the west, it’s pretty much a crime capital of Sydney and we all know what’s going on down there.”

This then tends to cause a stigma of the area in the public eye, even potential home buyers are being turned off from the area by reviews such as these below:

Crime dense area, (heard of people getting raped here)” and “Infested by Middle Easterners, crime has gone up“.


Real Estate sites even promote the mythology of Bankstown being a “rape hub” “infested” by Middle Easterners.


Is this correlation between “race/religion” and crime justified? Does it match up with the statistics readily available to us? Well let us see because upon investigating I came to realize that sensationalism is a huge thing and people tend to go with the flow when it comes to trends and the trend which has been running for years is that I live in the “Crime Capital” of Sydney that is riddled with rape, drugs and violent crime. Before I get to the statistics themselves the response that I get when I tell people where I live is often raised eyebrows, hefty deep breaths of sympathy and sneering condescending giggles.


Yet I often bring friends of mine down to my “dangerous suburb” and what they often find is a place of rich cultural diversity, numerous races living together in harmony. Restaurants that are the envy of the city that encompass nations some haven’t even heard of. Close proximity to the heart of Sydney and a vibrant young population with a rich interest in education, activism, the arts and community harmony. It is my town that hosts the monthly “Poetry Slam” where artists from around the country and the globe come to contribute with. It is my town that recently held a fantastic “Harmony Festival” and many great activities in its Art Centre- not to mention major boxing matches and international singers.!



Bankstown: Is It really the crime capital of Sydney?

Despite its flaws, I am proud to be part of this community in Sydney. Sure, it is no Utopia, yet show me a Sydney that is. Yet what I have found is that my area holds a certain weight that it needs to shake off and the best way to shake it off is with cold hard facts, we must investigate if indeed the Bankstown area is the “Crime Capital” of Sydney and if there is a connection between Middle Eastern populations and an increase in crime rates. Below is an assessment of Sydney’s crime rates as of 2013/2014 based on Council.



Bankstown council rates 8th for Assaults in Sydney.

ASSAULT: (Violent and Non Violent) Per 100,000 population.

1. Sydney Central-  2,560 assaults per 100,000.
2. Campbelltown Council- 1,254 assaults per 100,000.
3. Auburn Council- 987 assaults per 100,000.
4. Liverpool Council- 971 assaults per 100,000.
5. Marrickville Council- 898 assaults per 100,000.
8. BANKSTOWN council- 819 assaults per 100,000.


Bankstown council rates 4th for Homicide in Sydney.

HOMICIDE: (Murder/Manslaughter etc.)  Per 100,000 population.

1.  Auburn Council- 7.6 homicide cases per 100,000.
2. Botany Bay Council- 7.4 homicide cases per 100,000.
3. Hunters Hill Council- 6.9 homicide cases per 100,000.
4. BANKSTOWN Council- 5.3 homicide cases per 100,000.
5. Sydney City Council- 2.7 homicide cases per 100,000.


Bankstown Council ranks 7th for Robbery in Sydney.

ROBBERY (With/Without Weapons) Per 100,000 population.

1. Sydney City Council- 323 robberies per 100,000.
2. Auburn Council- 165 robberies per 100,000.
3. Marrickville Council- 88 robberies per 100,000.
4. Liverpool Council- 86 robberies per 100,000.
5.  Botany Bay Council- 81 robberies per 100,000.
7. BANKSTOWN COUNCIL- 65 robberies per 100,000.


Bankstown rates 6th for Sexual Offenses in Sydney.

SEXUAL OFFENCES (Assault/Rape Etc.) Per 100,000 population.

1. Sydney City Council- 273 sexual offences per 100,000.
2. Campbelltown Council- 170 sexual offences per 100,000.
3. Wollongong Council- 141 sexual offences per 100,000.
4. Liverpool Council- 141 sexual offences per 100,000.
5. Marrickville Council-  133 sexual offences per 100,000.
6. BANKSTOWN COUNCIL- 119 sexual offences per 100,000.


Bankstown council ranks 6th for theft in Sydney.

THEFT (Break/Enter, Fraud Etc.) Per 100,000 population.

1.  Sydney City Council- 12,995 theft cases per 100,000.
2. Marrickville Council- 4,293 theft cases per 100,000.
3. Liverpool Council- 3,951 theft cases per 100,000.
4. Botany Bay Council- 3,865 theft cases per 100,000.
5. Campbelltown Council- 3,793 theft cases per 100,000.
6. BANKSTOWN COUNCIL- 3,613 theft cases per 100,000.


Bankstown ranks 8th for Malicious Property Damage/Vandalism in Sydney

MALICIOUS PROPERTY DAMAGE Per 100,000 population.

1. Sydney City Council- 1,834 cases per 1000,000.
2. Campbelltown Council- 1,416 cases per 100,000.
3. Marrickville Council- 1,117 cases per 100,000.
4. Wollongong Council- 1,082 cases per 100,000.
5. Liverpool Council- 864 cases per 100,000.
8. BANKSTOWN COUNCIL- 760 cases per 100,000.


Bankstown ranks 6th for Illegal weapon use/possession (Guns etc.) in Sydney and surprisingly ranks 78th in the state of New South Wales.

(Guns etc.) Per 100,000 population.

1. Sydney City Council- 298 cases per 100,000.
2. Parramatta Council- 167 cases per 100,000.
3. Campbelltown Council- 159 cases per 100,000.
4. Penrith Council- 154 cases per 100,000.
5. Liverpool Council- 146 cases per 100,000.
6. BANKSTOWN COUNCIL- 127 cases per 100,000.

Based on the statistics above we see a very interesting pattern. All of these offenses that Baboons at the “Australian Defence League” accuse Lebanese populations committing such as Rape, Theft and Hooligan Behaviour (Vandalism etc) find their highest rates in councils that have extremely low populations of Lebanese and Muslim people. What we see is they are using the Middle Easterners and the Muslims as scapegoats to claim the title for criminal activity, when logically that simply cannot  be the case considering the Lebanese/Muslim populations of such areas. For example:

The Highest Councils with rates of Sexual Offences are:

1. Sydney City (Approximately 50% English/Irish/Scottish Heritage and  under 2.0% of the Population are Muslim)
2. Campbelltown Council (Approximately 60% English/Irish/Scottish Heritage and 5.7% of the Population are Muslim)
3. Wollongong (Approximately 80% English/Irish/Scottish Heritage and 2.1% of the population are Muslim)

The Highest Councils with rates of Theft are:

1. Sydney City Council- (Approximately 50% English/Irish/Scottish Heritage and < 2.0% of the Population are Muslim)
2. Marrickville Council- (Approximately 53% English/Irish/Scottish Heritage and under 4.0% of the Population are Muslim)
3.  Liverpool Council- (Approximately 5% of the population are Lebanese and 10.7% of the population are Muslim)

The Highest Councils with rates of Illegal Firearm (Gun) use are:

1. Sydney City Council- (Approximately 50% English/Irish/Scottish Heritage and < 2.0% of the Population are Muslim)
2. Parramatta Council- (Approximately 8% are of Lebanese heritage and 9% of the population are Muslim)
3. Campbelltown Council- (Approximately 60% English/Irish/Scottish Heritage and 5.7% of the Population are Muslim)

Now am I blaming Caucasians for crime rates? No, not at all. Yet people are actively accusing the Lebanese Population of Sydney and in Particular the Muslims to be criminals. Yet when you carefully examine the statistics that are available to the public, we find that in the “hub” of Sydney’s Lebanese and Muslim communities crime rates  are “relatively” low in aspects, compared to many other councils. To me, and to anyone with a reasonable mind frame we can see there is no clear or reputable case to claim that Bankstown is the “crime capital” of Sydney. We also find extremely limited evidence to suggest that the Lebanese population engage in higher crime rates than any other racial counterpart and there is also insufficient evidence to suggest Muslims are engaged in higher levels of crime in Sydney based on suburb demographics.

I am waiting for the day where I can proudly say where I am from and that this “hood” in Sydney’s south west is ultimately Good. An enjoyable and vibrant place to live that essentially is no more dangerous than any other town in this massive city called Sydney. If you live in the region, please share this article and show to your fellow countrymen that Bankstown isn’t the bad guy, he is just misunderstood and misrepresented and we have the facts to prove it. Can’t argue with facts can we now? Feel free to forward these facts to all bigots, including the Australian Defence League.

Peace, Salam.