Persecution of Non-Muslims (Australia)
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Pakistani serial gang rapist claims he had a right to assault Australian children because they were not observing hijab (covering their heads or faces), were drinking alcohol and were out unaccompanied (without mahrams)
MSK, 27, told the NSW Supreme Court yesterday that this was because the girls did not wear headscarves, were drinking alcohol and were unaccompanied when they went to his Ashfield home. MSK also blamed his intoxication, "cultural beliefs" and an undiagnosed mental disorder.
He and his brothers MAK, 25, MRK, 21, and MMK, 19 - who cannot be named for legal reasons - are serving between 10 and 22 years for raping two girls in 2002. All except MRK are yet to be sentenced for several other rapes.
Yesterday evidence was being heard on a sentence for MSK for the rapes of two more girls, TW, then 14, and CH, then 13. He admitted that some of the evidence he had given at an earlier trial was fabricated, particularly that he had had consensual sex with TW and that she had coaxed him.
"It was a pretty big untruth when you said that it was consensual sex, wasn't it?" asked the Crown prosecutor, Ken McKay.
"Yes," he replied.
You chose to lie about that, correct? - Yes.
During a long apology to TW, who was in court, he stopped mid-sentence to reprimand her.
"I wish to say this to [TW], that at the time when I commit these offences I come from such a background which led me to - don't shake your head, I'm telling you something - I say now that I hurt you and I'm extremely, extremely apologetic to you and I'm, I wish to say one thing more.
"I'm serving 22 years … I'm just requesting to you that you one day may come that you realise that the person who assaulted me is in prison … and I should forgive him. I'm asking for your forgiveness." He said it was only now, since he had gained a "better understanding of Australian culture", that he knew the rapes were wrong.
He arrived in Sydney for the ninth and final time four days before committing several rapes over six months. He had planned to study medicine.
He agreed he knew the girls did not want to have sex. "[TW] said no but I go ahead with it because I believe that at the time I commit these offences, I believe that she was promiscuous …" he said. "She don't know us, I don't know her, like she was not related to us and she was not wearing any purdah … like she was not … covered her face, she was not wearing any headscarf and she started drinking with us and she was singing.
"First off, I was actually, I was not taking my medication so I was under the influence of voices and secondly I believe at the time when I commit these offences that she had no right to say no."Mr McKay said the voices excuse was a last-ditch strategy to avoid justice. "You wanted to hurt and terrorise these girls and you did that. You used acts of sexual intercourse on them."
Natasha Wallace, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 10, 2005, http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/gang-rapist-claims-right-to-assault/2005/12/09/1134086806845.html.
Muslims organize a Ramadan riot in Auburn via Facebook. More than 150 Muslim youths turn up to confront the "non-believers". Police forced to call in 100 officers, the riot squad and a helicopter
The troublemakers used the social networking site to flash up inflammatory references to police and rally their friends for a confrontation.
One update identified police as "non-believers" who were raiding a "brother's home". More than 150 people gathered in Cumberland Rd, Auburn, on Tuesday night, forcing police to call in 100 officers, the riot squad and a helicopter.
The tense stand-off came after Middle Eastern organised crime squad police raided four homes. Opposition police spokesman Mike Gallacher's office revealed one of the Facebook updates read: "Kefeirs raiding brother's house, everyone get down hier (sic)!!"
A spokesman for Mr Gallacher said the term used to describe the police had become a slang Arabic term used to describe non-believers. Mr Gallacher said laws preventing the use of a mobile to call or text others to incite a riot failed to cover social networking sites such as Facebook.
"I don't think it is an intentional move by people to get around the law - it is the way a lot of younger people contact one another and it would appear there is a loophole in the law," he said.
"Using Facebook and Twitter and modern technology gives a quicker way of getting messages out to a larger number of people."Detective Chief Superintendent Ken McKay said the Middle Eastern organised crime squad was looking into phone communication and would expand the investigation to Facebook. He said regardless of the laws covering the means of communication, the police could still identify and pursue those responsible for Facebook messages.
Gemma Jones, The Daily Telegraph, September 14, 2009, http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/facebook-website-used-to-drum-up-auburn-rioters/story-e6freuy9-1225772429876.
11-year-old Greek schoolboy chased and beaten by Muslim students in Sydney for eating a salami sandwich during Ramadan. Other parents of Christian children say their kids also face bullying from Muslims
Andrew Grigoriou said yesterday he complained to the school and to police after his son Antonios was chased and later assaulted by Muslim students after a confrontation over the contents of his lunch, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Antonios, a Year 5 student of Greek-Australian background at Punchbowl Public School in Sydney's southwest, said he and a friend had to be locked inside the library for an hour after being chased by a group of Muslim boys offended by his choice of food while they were fasting.
The Grigoriou family said the following exchange took place:
Muslim student to Antonios: "Why are you eating ham, it's Ramadan?"
Antonios: "My mum packed this for lunch today."
Muslim student: "Don't eat that. How can you eat pig, it's disgusting."
During the confrontation a Muslim boy allegedly accused Antonios of saying: "F--- the Muslims" but Antonios denied swearing.
Mr Grigoriou said he removed his son and a younger child from the school on Tuesday after the boy was punched in the eye and kicked in the legs by a Muslim student.
"It has broken my heart to see this happening to my boy," he said. Antonios, who wrote about his experiences in words and drawings, still has nightmares.
The Department of Education and Training said it had a zero tolerance policy towards racism.
"Claims of bullying or racial intolerance are taken very seriously and looked into," a spokeswoman said. "The School Education Director is looking into the matter and called the father concerned.
"As a result ... the school will work with all families and students involved to ensure that the values promoted by Punchbowl Public School and the department are understood and supported."
After the salami sandwich incident a student described as "the ringleader of the group" was suspended from the school. The department said that the school had "ongoing cultural and interfaith awareness programs to improve understanding among students of events like Ramadan and Christmas".
Other parents also complained to The Daily Telegraph about bullying at the school and claimed victims received too little protection.
One said her 12-year-old son was scared to open his lunch box at school because he was harassed about what is in it. "He has been bullied from day one ... about being a Christian and about the hot salami in his lunch," she said.
"My boy has a Greek background ... the bullying is extreme.
"He has been called a fat pig and hit on the back with a stick."Another mother said her young son refused to go on school excursions for fear he would be bashed.
Terror threats on at least four Coptic churches leaves Christians in fear, churches cancel traditional Christmas Eve dinners and police protect thousands of Coptic Christians with bomb searches and helicopters
Police on Thursday surrounded the Coptic Orthodox churches in Sydney after a bomb blast killed 21 people during a New Year's Eve Coptic church service in Alexandria, Egypt.
Coptic Churches around the world are also on high alert as their Christmas Eve services are scheduled for Friday (Australian time).
On Thursday night in Sydney, bomb searches and police helicopters were part of the security measures that soured Christmas Eve celebrations.
Some church officials are worried that an attack may eventuate when least expected on any on of their churches, monasteries or schools in Australia.
A police detail searched St Antonious and St Paul parish in Guildford, in Sydney's west, on Thursday afternoon prior to its 7pm Christmas Eve services, a church official told AAP.
Up to 700 parishioners were estimated to be in attendance.
During the service, teams of officers surrounded the area while helicopters with spotlights searched the local suburb.
"There were threats to our church - three or four churches in the (Sydney) Coptic church," said the man who asked not to be identified.
He said NSW Police contacted the church this week to say the Guildford site and three others in Sydney had been the target of a terrorist threat.
Archangel and St Bishoy at Mt Druitt, in Sydney's west, St Demiana and St Athanasius at Punchbowl, in Sydney's southwest and St Mary and St Merkorious, at Rhodes, were understood to be on the threat list.
A woman witnessed a police operation in her neighbourhood at Arncliffe, where St Mark Coptic Church is located in Sydney's south.
"The police helicopter is sweeping the suburb with this massive spotlight," the woman told AAP.
All of the churches cancelled their traditional dinners that would normally happen after Christmas Eve services.
The spokesman said Thursday's threat, which resulted in no reported incidents, could have been a diversion.
"They want you to focus on the area that they're not going to be touching," he said.
"And even though the threat was for Christmas Eve, they might do it on a normal Sunday. That's how they work."
Police issued a statement to AAP following Thursday's operations.
"The NSW Police Force is closely monitoring international developments in the wake of the attack on the Coptic community in Egypt," the statement read.
"Police have met with local Coptic leaders and are currently working with them to allay any fears within that community."
Peter Mikhail attended the Guildford service and said the threats soured the service and have put fear into the congregation.
"It was not a nice way to be celebrating Christmas here in a country where you're supposed to be safe," Mr Mikhail told AAP.
He said the traditionally long mass but had to be cut short at police request and people were dispersed immediately.
"We went to church today feeling quite apprehensive thinking `oh my God' what if something does take place," Mr Mikhail said."I'm worried about my wife, I'm worried about my kids."
Vincent Morello, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 7, 2011, http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/terror-threat-on-australian-churches-20110107-19hqo.html.
Liberal senator receives death threats over his claim that "Islam itself is the problem - it's not Muslims. Muslims are individuals that practice their faith in their own way"
Despite the fact that the immigration debate usually differentiates between the religion of Islam and extreme fundamentalist interpretations, the Liberal senator raised a controversy by giving a bold statement against Islam, news.com.au reports.
He had earlier told radio station MTR that: "Islam itself is the problem - it's not Muslims. Muslims are individuals that practise their faith in their own way, but Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology.""It tells people everything about how they need to conduct themselves, who they're allowed to marry and how they're allowed to treat other people." he added.
Hindu temple surrounded by a predominantly Muslim population sprayed with bullets. Hindu priest says "The attacks are now always. It is like in Libya or Afghanistan"
Australia's oldest Hindu temple, the Sri Mandir in Auburn, is under siege and its devotees gripped by fear.
On March 19, two men in balaclavas stood at the intersection of a nearby road, spraying the front of the prayer hall with eight rounds of bullets. The building was unoccupied at the time.
The busy Hindu temple opened in 1977. It is surrounded by a predominantly Muslim population and it is no secret among locals that tensions have been simmering in recent years, caused by concerns about noise and parking problems at Sri Mandir.
"There is no excuse [for the gun attack]," the editor of Sydney newspaper The Indian, Rohit Revo, said.
"This was not the work of teenagers; neither was it a petty prank. This is part of a sustained and increasingly violent campaign to scare the temple devotees and drive them out. By definition, this latest attack was an act of terrorism."
The Sun-Herald is aware the ongoing feud has caused disquiet among some of the most senior police in western Sydney. In a rare move, details of the shooting were deliberately held back from the NSW police media unit through concern that publicity might inflame hostilities.
Auburn City Council claims the first it knew of the incident was when The Sydney Morning Herald published an article on Wednesday. Since then, the chairman of the Community Relations Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian, has stepped in as an intermediary between Hindus and Muslims.
"Given the enormity and complexity of the issues, this is a classic example where we need to apply the principles of multiculturalism and get people to understand and accept that we are a religiously diverse community … we live together and we respect each other's religious diversity," he told The Sun-Herald.
"We will be pursuing this through the commission and meeting people in the neighbourhood to discuss the issues. I will be very active in the area."
Temple priest Jatinkumar Bhatt is praying for a peaceful solution for the sake of his three young children. Bhatt and his family live behind the temple and are too frightened to go outdoors after dark.
"On the night of the shooting, we heard the noise, but every 10 or 15 days we experience the sound of firecrackers being thrown [over the fence], so we thought it must be that again," Mr Bhatt said.
"Then the police came. They showed me the bullet holes in the walls and asked permission to come in and investigate. I am too afraid to say why I think this is happening."
In an attack in November, four men wielding iron bars smashed their way through 10-millimetre- thick windows, showering the hall with glass while devotees were praying inside.
The temple recently held a community open day in the hope of brokering fresh ties with the wider community.
"Many of our neighbours are very friendly but sometimes it feels like we are in a different place to Australia," Mr Bhatt said. "The attacks are now always. It is like in Libya or Afghanistan."Mr Kerkyasharian has met the Bhatt family. "The teenage daughter says she feels like she lives in a prison," he said. "She said her younger brother doesn't know how to play because they are too scared to go outside to their front yard."
The Sydney Morning Herald, April 3, 2011, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/gunshots-prompt-prayers-for-peace-20110402-1cs8h.html.
Iranian-born Muslim cleric sends hate mail to the the widows and other bereaved relatives of dead soldiers, referring to the fallen troops as criminals, murderers and killers who were “1,000 times worse than a pig”
The letters referred to the fallen troops as criminals, murderers and killers who were fighting a war of invasion, describing one as “1,000 times worse than a pig”.
A number were also sent to politicians, including one which described the Black Saturday February 2009 wildfires in Australia as divine vengeance for the execution of militant bombers in Indonesia.
Monis, who claims to be an Islamic spiritual leader, tried to get the charges quashed in the Court of Criminal Appeal, arguing that they infringed his “implied constitutional freedom of political communication”.
But a three-judge panel led by Chief Justice Tom Bathurst ruled that his appeal should be dismissed.Bathurst said that, “Words which are calculated or would be likely to arouse significant anger, significant resentment, outrage, disgust or hatred in the mind of a reasonable person have the potential to, at the very least, cause an emotional reaction in the recipient from which the recipient is entitled to protection.”
Hundreds of Muslims protest Muhammad movie, attack and injure six police officers, young child holds up placard demanding the beheading of those who insult the prophet
Six people have been charged after hundreds of Muslims descended on central Sydney to voice their anger over an anti-Islamic film published on the internet.
The protest in Sydney followed similar action in the Middle East and North Africa which has left at least nine people dead in the past few days.
New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says he was shocked by the violent scenes where offices were reportedly pelted with glass bottles and police cars damaged.
"Some of the behaviour, it has absolutely floored me. To see a young child with a placard thrust in his hand, calling for the beheading of a person is simply something I cannot comprehend," he said.
"It's not what we teach our children. I was particularly affronted by that scene."
He has praised the work of the police involved in the incident.
"No police officer should go to work and expect this to happen. To see those scenes, it shows how violent that exchange was," he said.
Police yesterday set up strike force McAlister to deal with the violent protesters and Commissioner Scipione says police will do everything they can to keep the city safe.
"You can be assured, we are waiting. We will deal with you. This is a no-nonsense engagement. If you want to act like you are extremist criminals, we will treat you like you are extremist criminals," he said.
"This is not Libya. This is not the country where you come to do what we saw yesterday."
Police are examining surveillance and media footage of the protest in a bid to identify those behind the violence and Commissioner Scipione has urged those responsible to turn themselves in to police.
"If you are one of those people that you know are in those photos, it's better in that you come forward and talk to us because we will certainly be coming to knock on your door," he said.
One of the six protesters charged over the violent protest was denied bail yesterday when he appeared via video link in the Parramatta Local Court.
Ahmed Elomar, 27, from Sydney's south-west, was charged with affray and breaching bail.Police say Elomar was part of a group of protesters who were hurling bottle and other objects at riot officers.