Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Australia says no to Islamophobia

Fighting the backlash against Muslims in Australia from Malaysian News Channel

Motives and reasons for why 50+ year old man Man Haron Monis took 17 people hostaged at the Lindt Chocolatier cafe still remains unclear. Monis has been described as a long wolf and referred to as a self proclaim cleric and Iranian refugee. Many Australians, politicians including the prime minister, the South Wales police, the state that Sydney is located in and half million Australian Muslims are all scratching their heads wondering why and what happened. The hostage taker/gunman in the words of the media didn't communicate his motivations nor send out public decrees during the hostage standoff or prior. Monis could've been agitated or suffering from everyday woes related to economic slumps and family troubles. The hostage standoff might've remained a local event have the fear and anxiety brought on by terrorism threats not pushed Sydney to the global spotlight. In the end, the heavily armed military like Australian police both South Wales and Sydney police stormed the Lindt Cafe with guns blazing and grenades launched. The blinding grenade flashes and gunfire ended the standoff. The gunman has been killed along with two innocent hostages: one a mother of three children. Being part of Asia sometimes known as Oceania, Australia often balances itself between its Asian neighbors near and far and its Western allies. News of the stand off has traveled to other Pacific islands and nations to shock of the region.

Australian Christians and Muslims and other religions are standing up for the country's Muslims condemning anti Muslim attitudes, xenophobia and Islamophobia that has been boiling across Australia for years. Ironically Australia is located south of the world's largest Muslim country in terms of population Indonesia and its prosperous neighbor Malaysia. At the same time, insurgencies by  Muslim minorities the Moros in Mindanao in Southern Philippines and Southern Thai Muslims in Thailand has made Australia nervous. Malaysia has been serving as a middleman for Thailand's negotiations with its insurgents despite the diplomatic strains. There are also students, visitors and families living and visiting Australia too. Interfaith meetings, vigils, PSAs and silent protests are appearing Sydney in the wake of the hostage siege. Ordinary Australians want to remind media, politicians who are quick to jump to conclusions or take a more confrontational approach that Australian Muslim are part of society and cultural fabric of Australia not the stereotyped scary strangers that mainstream media and pop culture make them out to be. A solidarity hashtag has been born out of it: #I'llridewithyou

As the 12 year long War on Terror takes its toll on the Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world, Muslims across the world are bearing the burnt for groups like ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah Hamas and even the lone wolf terrorist. Terrorism and security threats has made Muslims public enemy number one in many countries even the non political and non news junkie citizens who are Muslims are being generalized as potential sympathizers for terror groups before they are proven innocence and not even remotely associated with such gruesome groups and people. 

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