Reject the racist hysteria against Muslims and refugees

Police arresting a protester at the September 15 Muslim protest in Sydney. Photo: Josh Lee

The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on September 21.

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Politicians and the mainstream media have whipped up the ongoing racist hysteria against Muslims and refugees after clashes provoked by police heavy-handedness towards a small Muslim protest in Sydney on September 15.

The Socialist Alliance does not agree with the religious fundamentalist and conservative ideas expressed by some people in that protest. But we defend their right to political expression and condemn the police provocation and subsequent mainstream media distortions of the incident.

The protest was a local expression of the widespread anger in Muslim communities around the world about the film, The Innocence of Muslims.

Notwithstanding denials by the US state department, these protests are also an expression of anger against the US and other rich imperialist countries that have been waging war against or occupying countries like Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan and oppressing the people in these countries. This is why the protesters in Sydney marched on the US consulate.

To legitimise this war and oppression, the ruling classes in the imperialist countries have promoted racism against people of Muslim background in particular.

In Australia, people of Muslim background are the daily targets of mounting abuse, vilification and violence in the streets, workplaces and in schools. Right-wing radio “shock jocks” have led the charge in this racist vilification and some have even incited racist violence, such as the notorious Cronulla riot in 2005.

In addition, the Muslim community have borne the brunt of the undemocratic and repressive anti-terror laws. ASIO agents visit mosques weekly basis, seeking out people who will agree to spy on the Muslim community. Many Muslim families’ homes have been raided in the name of “anti-terrorism”, solely on the basis of the religious views of people and not on the basis of any real plans to enact violence.

Desperate asylum seekers fleeing wars and oppression that the Australian government is culpable for have been big casualties of this racist campaign. ALP and Liberal-National politicians have combined to flout international obligations under refugee conventions by re-opening immigration detention camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

The Socialist Alliance calls upon all who respect democratic rights and justice to stand up against the new wave of racist hysteria. In particular we call upon the trade union movement to take a public stand against this racist hysteria.

Racism is being used by the capitalist ruling class to divide the working class and deflect the blame for mounting economic insecurity away from itself onto scapegoated minorities. In response, the duty of the labour movement is to unite workers of all racial and religious backgrounds against the attacks driven by the rapacious and insatiable greed of the billionaire class.

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