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Old 12-14-2005, 08:32 PM   #76
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Originally posted by Kieran McConville
As a prominent australia member of this forum, can I just say that when I hear the word 'culture', I reach for my gun.

Come and visit sometime, Financeguy, we can pool our dole money and stay drunk forever! Once you get out into the country, there's lots of room to explode!!!!
Haha. We have lots of guns here too. We need them in our shtruggle against the perfidious Sassenach.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:32 PM   #77
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FOUR churches in Sydney’s southwest have been attacked in 24 hours as the city’s riots spread from race to religion.

A community hall linked to a Uniting church was burned to the ground early yesterday, carol-singers were spat on and church buildings peppered with gunfire.

In response, members of the Arab Christian and Arab Muslim communities have called for a curfew for all Lebanese youths over the weekend.

Police believe the attack on the hall, in the suburb of Auburn, was intended to destroy the Uniting church next door, while nearby StThomas’s Anglican Church, which has a primarily Chinese congregation, had all its front windows smashed. Three of the attacks were on churches within minutes of each other. The night before, Molotov cocktails were used in an attack on an Anglican church in Macquarie Fields in the city’s far southwest.

Arab Christians have suggested the attacks on churches may have been meant as a violent attempt to “shame” the city’s Lebanese Christian community into supporting Lebanese Muslims in the race-hate war, which began as a battle against young white males over use of suburban beaches. ...

Amjad Mehboob, head of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said he believed the violence had been committed by an extremist fringe of the Muslim community. “I wish we knew who they were. I wish we could engage with them so we can find out what their beliefs are, so we can deal with them,” he said.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:46 PM   #78
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When Australians were polled in a 17 country comparative analysis, about who they find to be undesirable neighbours, the percentage of people who identified various categories as undesirable were:
Drug addicts 74%
Heavy drinkers 60%
Political extremists 45%
Criminal record 45%
Emotionally unstable 38%
Homosexuals 25%
People with AIDS 15%
Immigrants 5%
Different race 5%


Australians came out very much on the low end of anti-immigrant and anti-different race sentiments. The percentage who identified immigrants as undesirable neighbours by country were:
Austria, Belgium 20%
Japan 17%
Norway 14%
Germany, France, Italy 13%
Denmark 12%
UK 11%
USA, Finland 10%
Netherlands 9%
Sweden 7%
Canada, Switzerland 6%
Australia, Ireland 5%

Percentage who identified people of different race as undesirable neighbours were:
Belgium, Finland 17%
Italy 12%
Japan, Norway 11%
France 9%
USA, Germany, UK, Austria 8%
Netherlands, Denmark 7%
Ireland 6%
Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland 5%
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:56 PM   #79
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Well as an American ex-pat and Aussie resident I just wanted to put my two cents in. That's fun for me, you see.
Anyway as has been said before the foreign media is really just focusing on the white bogans who really really acted like idiots. Their behavior is absolutly terrifying, and embarassing for the majority of Australians who would never do that. Alcohol and idiocy are a very dangerous mix.
However, the problem here is that the particular minority in question here (Lebanese Muslims, that is) is rather vocal, sexist, and racist as well. (Actually I can't say they all are, I will just say that there is a significant portion of the male young male population that are and that give the rest of them a very bad name.) Anyway it is very common for groups of these young men to intimidate people with violence and make terrible comments to women.
Por ejemplo - last night one of my boyfriend's co-workers dropped his wife and daughter off at the train station in Cronulla. As they were standing on the sidewalk a car full of young Lebanese men (they had the flag hanging from their rear-view mirror) pulled up to them and then said to them "You are too ugly to rape." Bam. Like that. They walk up to girls who are in their bathing suits on the beach and threaten to rape them, there have even been cases where groups of young Lebanese men gang raped white Australian girls and told them they were doing it because the girls were "Australian whores." In cort they defended themselves by saying that it was ok because they culturally believed it was ok to rape girls in shorts.
Now what, pray tell, are you supposed to do with that?
The issue here is that although this group has immigrated to Australia rather than adapting to the prevailing social norms and keeping their cultures alive privately, they firmly believe that they have the right to attempt to impose their cultural beliefs on everyone else. Now I am not a big fan of the religions that say, for instance, that women should wear a buqa or things like that, or not go to the beach in a bikini. However if you believe that I firmly believe that you have a right to practice those beliefs. the problem is in a democratic and (somewhat) liberal society you can't go around expecting others to do exactly what you want. If you don't think women should go to the beach in bathing suits, fine, don't marry a girl who would. You can't just threaten every woman who does though.
The wierd thing is, at least in Sydney, this is a Lebanese Muslim phenominon. You do not see boys in cars with Palestinian flags threatening to rape girls, or attacking a lone white boy on the street.
That being said I do believe that white Australia also has a kind of culture of ambiant racisim to it as well. Racial epithets are used frequently (even in my Uni-educated middle class peer group) and you frequently hear people refered to as WOGs, or Lebs and things like that. Also I have heard more racist comments on Asians than I have ever heard anywhere else since moving here. I do not nesssisarily believe that this indicates a hatred for a group per-say. Generally people say these things in a way that makes light of it, but the fact that it is acceptable at all makes it strange. I have told people that those terms make me uncomfortable and they tell me that I'm just "too PC." And that as an American I am simply overly sensitive about racisim.
Also it is important to note Australia has a relatively high rate of inter-racial marriage which would indicate that they are nor all that rigid about race, even if they do see differences.
When I lived in Tokyo people were much much more racist on a regular basis than they are here. (People would slap Korean girls on trains for godssakes or just stare and me on the street and call me racist names to my face.)
At any rate it is what it is, but basically as an outsider in the little microcosim I wanted to just say do not make the mistake of thinking this is a black and white issue. It's grey on grey...
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:58 PM   #80
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Yeeeeesh, jumping from 'racist' to 'religion' it doesn't take long! *shakes head*
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:59 PM   #81
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Well the reason I say that is because the Christian Muslims don't go around threatening to rape girls. They are two very distinct groups within Lebanese society. Very distinct.
And as a Buddhist I am not exactly the type to hate on a particular religion. I don't think that Muslims are any worse than me, it's just in this discussion you really must make a distinction.
It's like Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq. Two gorups, one country.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:00 PM   #82
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Statistics! Now this thread is doomed!!!


Someone (probably me because no one else has mentioned it yet) should post some articles on the giant hugfest that occurred earlier today with the Christian and Muslim leaders and some random skips all writing letters and apologising and agreeing to work together, etc, etc. But that wont fit with the thread either, so I'll leave it.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:01 PM   #83
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Do we have as many problems with Lebanese Christians?

Or Turkish Muslims?
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:07 PM   #84
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Not that I have noticed. I mean we may well do but I personally have never been threatened by either of those groups. The Lebanese Muslims though, yeah, a bit.

Here's an article from SMH on Monday that i thought was good:

Quote:
Is Islam the problem? Let's have the debate
Andrew West
December 13, 2005 01:33 AM



Australia does not have a race relations problem. We have a clash of cultures and that's a big difference -- and maybe the problem is certain forms of Islam.

Of course, the marauding boneheads who rampaged through Cronulla on Sunday don't make this distinction. If they did, perhaps they would realise that when they screech "Lebs out" they are also referring to the majority of Lebanese Australians who are Maronite Christians, in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

By their chants, they are also demanding the expulsion of NSW Governor Marie Bashir and her husband, Sir Nicholas Shehadie, two of the finest citizens this state has ever produced; and Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, one of the most outwardly knockabout political leaders in Australia. Lebanese all.

The problem is not the blood that runs through people's veins. Any form of discrimination based on race or ethnicity -- based on the colour of one's skin or hair or eyes -- is inherently immoral, illogical and evil.

But culture and religion are behavioural. They involve values.

People can be born into a particular culture or religion but sooner or later they reach an age of reason where they can embrace or reject their precepts. And if people freely embrace a culture that is antithetical to the prevailing social mores -- in our case, I would hope, liberal, enlightenment values -- then we are entitled to judge, object, censure and even discriminate.

Which brings us to this extremely prickly issue of radical Islam.

My colleague on this paper, Nadia Jamal, has mounted a strong and sophisticated argument that the issue is not religion but culture, specifically the patriarchal culture that prevails in many traditional Muslim households. This is a good point but I think it diplomatically sidesteps the fact that some strains of Islam -- most obviously the strict, puritanical and downright fanatical Wahhabism -- do, indeed, sanction attitudes and behaviour that are not simply patriarchal but repressive. I'm sorry, but to this extent, this particular brand of Islam is most definitely the problem.

When groups of young Muslim men stalk the beaches of Sydney making sexually threatening comments against women in bathing costumes, as they indisputably do; and when they believe they act with the license of a sheik who claims that such women are responsible for their own sexual violation, then I do blame, in part, their religion.

I do not embrace multiculturalism, as such, because I do not believe all cultures are compatible with non-discriminatory liberalism. I prefer a multi-ethnic, non-racial society, which has at its core a canon of values that include racial and gender equality.

I admit to feeling a little uneasy at the sight of a Muslim woman shrouded not simply in a headscarf but a face-concealing, head-to-toe chador, and wonder just how much choice she has had in deciding her lifestyle. I am not hugely sympathetic to a Muslim seeking asylum because he claims to have been discriminated against because of his support for sharia law.

I'm sorry but I cannot celebrate such culture in the way that I celebrate Italian National Day in Leichhardt or the Tet festival in Cabramatta or Greek Orthodox Easter or a Seder at Passover or a service of Eritrean Orthodox Church, such as the one I attended a couple of years ago in a borrowed Church of England in London, or lunch with a couple of Palestinian intellectuals.

Some multicultural theorists will squawk and say that I prefer only a soft multiculturalism (if they insist on calling it that) that does not offend western liberal values. They would be spot on. My acceptance ends when the assault on the liberality of society itself begins.

None of this erases the points I made yesterday, condemning the lynch-mob mentality of the Cronulla crowds, boozed up, in their thousands, chasing down lone Lebanese teenagers.

But I do accept the need for a debate about cultural, rather than ethnic, compatibility -- because the two are not the same.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:07 PM   #85
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sorry my comment was to the attacks on the churchs, not to your comments notiti...

mmm i understand what you are saying but i dont believe it his inhernetly lebanese muslims that make these guys 'agressive' etc. They are teenagers/early 20's men, in groups. They are trying to big up themselves, they are arrogant, slef obsessed and frankly whether they were lebanese muslims or white anglo saxon group of guys they are all the same. A lot of people get raped by "white" men as well as asians and american tourists and south africans etc etc etc. Don't let groups of young men who feel they have "Something to prove" make you cast judgement on a whole group of people.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:12 PM   #86
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Originally posted by dazzlingamy
sorry my comment was to the attacks on the churchs, not to your comments notiti...

mmm i understand what you are saying but i dont believe it his inhernetly lebanese muslims that make these guys 'agressive' etc. They are teenagers/early 20's men, in groups. They are trying to big up themselves, they are arrogant, slef obsessed and frankly whether they were lebanese muslims or white anglo saxon group of guys they are all the same. A lot of people get raped by "white" men as well as asians and american tourists and south africans etc etc etc. Don't let groups of young men who feel they have "Something to prove" make you cast judgement on a whole group of people.
Oh I totally agree with that. Note my comments on "Young men." Never has an elderly Muslim Lebanese man been anything but rediculously sweet to me. I think a lot of it is testosterone and age. The white yabbos were JUST as bad the other day. What with ripping off girls' hijab and stuff like that. It is certainly a young male thing.
*continues to edit*
Also the difference between the group in question and the groups of white boys or asian boys who also rape girls is that you don't have random groups of white boys walking up to you and threatening to rape you on a regualr basis in Sydney. Or asian boys for that matter.
Of course while I was living in Tokyo one of the parliment members was heard to remark that "gang rape was ok because it was just an expression of the virilliay of the young men involved."
But I mean they still never walked up to me at the beach and threatened to rape me.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:14 PM   #87
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The funny thing about West is that he claims to be "the contrarian" but when he writes a controversial article it gets taken down. He raises some fine points and the issue of some clerics talking to the faithful about how women get raped because of their provocative dress it puts the "cultural time bomb" defence in context, one can see where it comes from.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:18 PM   #88
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Indeed, I don't agree with him on all points, but I think he raises some interesting issues.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:29 PM   #89
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Can I make a point, just for those overseas who are wondering why this happened in the first place. The trash who took on the assaulting are vile but (the 'but' here is not to justify anything that followed) it resulted from the 2 lifesavers being bashed. Our lifesavers are this icon which we hold as dear as all the other trite creations of our 'culture' like a Victa, Hills Hoist, aeroplane jelly, etc. It's museum food. Bashing a lifesaver is like parking in a disabled spot because it's raining "and the spazzies dont deserve privileges" or cutting off an ambulance. But worse, of course as it is violent. I cant think of a good comparison. But anyway. The lifesaver assault was a red flag by 2 revolting scumbags which hurt an entire ethnic group and in turn reflected on this nation as a whole.

Reminds me of that cute little story about the want of a horseshoe nail. but anyway.
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:34 PM   #90
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Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Can I make a point, just for those overseas who are wondering why this happened in the first place. The trash who took on the assaulting are vile but (the 'but' here is not to justify anything that followed) it resulted from the 2 lifesavers being bashed. Our lifesavers are this icon which we hold as dear as all the other trite creations of our 'culture' like a Victa, Hills Hoist, aeroplane jelly, etc. It's museum food. Bashing a lifesaver is like parking in a disabled spot because it's raining "and the spazzies dont deserve privileges" or cutting off an ambulance. But worse, of course as it is violent. I cant think of a good comparison. But anyway. The lifesaver assault was a red flag by 2 revolting scumbags which hurt an entire ethnic group and in turn reflected on this nation as a whole.

Reminds me of that cute little story about the want of a horseshoe nail. but anyway.
It's my guess that incident wasn't the cause, but rather the trigger. If that was the only thing that ever happend it would not have sparked riots (unless Aussies are the touchiest people in the world and I have seen no indication of that). There has to have been loads of simmering going on before to cause that much tension to build.
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