In Sydney Australia, the mainstream community has been engaged in ‘bridge building’ with the marginalised Muslim community, such as celebrating the achievements of 20 Muslim lifesavers in Cronulla, the scene of racial violence in recent times.
The Muslim lifesavers have made progess in their training for their bronze medallions. The Lakembaroos sports club attended a barbecue held at North Cronulla Surf Club to mark the occasion. The training is an initiative of Surf Life Saving Australia
But there are fringe elements such as white supremacist bigots who want it otherwise, namely bridge destroying.
A Melbourne grandmother, Christine Hawkins has been purportedly identified as the organiser of a provocative parade to take place on the anniversary of the Cronulla riots.
The parade is directed against Muslims, and will consists of womem, presumably ‘white’ women, dressed in bikinis and colourful beachwear to rally outside large mosques to show their disgust at leading Muslim cleric, Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly, who allegedly likened scantily clad women as ‘uncovered meat’ attracting prowling tomcats.
A white supremacist website has promoted the march. And we may assume that the white supremacist organisation, which was responsible for causing or at least playing a large part in the Cronulla riots, is probably the real brains behind the intended provocation.
Naturally, members of Sydney's Muslim community are worried about the likelihood of violence breaking out again, because those white supremacists have been attempting to make a comeback, though fortunately attracting only a minority.
Violence is the supremacists’ favourite game, not unlike those of East German skin-heads, US KKK, British National Front members, Rwandan Hutus, former white supremacists Afrikaans and of course the Afrikaans’ close collaborators, the ultra right wing Israelis.
For those bigots, it’s all about ‘Heil Hitlers’ and a bit of head smashing and ribs kicking to best serve their individual cause.
Yester-years they targeted the Chinese, Indians, other Asians and wogs (Greeks, Italians, East Europeans like Croatians, Serbs, Bulgariana and Middle Eastern people like Turks, Christian Lebanese, Armenians, etc), while today they are into Muslim-bashing because in many ways, the Howard government in its politically-motivated demon-isation of Muslims has pseudo-legitimised the bigots' anti-Muslim campaign.
But of course the white supremacists' all-time favourite (real) targets are still the Jews.
We Malaysians may liken those (would-be or have-been) violence to our May 13’s, though, with the exception of the Afrikaan case, less on an institutionalised scale. The recent UMNO general assembly was a classic example of the bigots’ twin tactics of (1) galvanising parochial support and (2) disguising the pathetic performance and corruption of certain elements.
OK, back to Sydney - The Australian Muslim community, on hearing of the bikini parade began raising their concerns last week, with hundreds joining an internet discussion to find a peaceful avenue to protect their mosque, because they fear that the white supremacists will turn the parade into some form of attack on mosques – not just flinging bikinis (alas, we can only wish) at the Muslims but probably rocks and home-made whatever devices.
The Muslim community has requested the police to protect Australia's largest mosque next weekend. The caretaker of Lakemba Mosque, the Lebanese Muslim Association, says it is taking no risks, requesting at least 32 police officers to protect the place of worship on Saturday and Sunday.
Association president Tom Zreik said he met police on several occasions to ensure there would be adequate numbers of officers present to defuse problems and arrest troublemakers.
He stated: "We are treating this as something that is funny and hilarious but also taking precautions. Some people may see this as provocation and the last thing that we want is to see anyone being attacked."
Undoubtedly, on reputation and known precedence, the Aussie police will do so, unlike the police of a certain country which participated a wee too earnestly in the recent demolition of a TEMPLE. And we are discussing about bridge building and bridge destroying, aren't we?
I hope the Aussie police can nib in the bud any potential violence to Muslim institutions, but without denying or hampering the bikini-ed ladies from enjoying the Australian sunshine.
And I call upon Aussie Muslim men to not sulk nor show their anger but instead to stand outside their mosques and applaud the wonderfully-scantily clad women in their … er … expression of democratic rights.