The race riots in Sydney, Australia, have unfortunately escalated into a religious war, with 4 churches in Sydney's southwest attacked yesterday.
Churches suffered from lit fires or smashed windows, and carolers were spat on. The churches attacked have been those attended by Chinese and Tongan Christians.
Even the Maronite church, belonging to the Christian denomination of the Lebanese community has not been spared.
In fact, it has been suggested that the attack plus the opening of gunfire outside the church have been to ‘punish’ the Lebanese Christians for not standing up for their Muslim compatriots. Lebanese Christians have been staying out of the race violence which annoyed the Muslim component of the Lebanese community.
A senior leader of Sydney's Arab Christian community said the church attacks were an attempt to inflame the wider Lebanese community. He said:
"There is regrettably an element within the community that sees the Christians as Uncle Toms, as servants to the white man, and they resent them as that.".
Religious and community leaders have all called for a curfew to allow things to cool down and to prevent rioters moving around. Lebanese mothers have been encouraged to restrain their young sons – Lebanese youths worship their mothers so those ladies would have an enormous influence on the behaviour of their wayward sons.
Nevertheless, the NSW Government, police, community and religious leaders are bracing for a violent showdown between the rioters over the weekend.