Amir Butler on Sydney riots

Br Amir Butler has provided his own account of the recent riots in Sydney. To my knowledge, this is the first Muslim blog account of the incidents (surprisingly, Irfan Yusuf doesn’t seem to have posted one; no doubt he will over the next few days insha Allah). Obviously this has provided much opportunity for “the usual suspects” to claim that this is somehow the latest battle in the war of civilisations (or between civilisation and “savagery”). It’s not.

I saw one description of the white rioters as “chavs and bogans”, basically meaning different varieties of riff-raff. (See this post for more on chavs in the UK.) The “Lebs” who have come to be known for disrespecting Australian non-Muslim women to the extent of calling eight-year-old girls sluts are our version of chavs, neds, hoodies, spides, townies and bogans. As br Amir points out:

Some commentators have tried to advance the idea that the root cause of the problems is the supposed Islamic faith of the Lebanese gangsters who ‘provoked’ the riots. However, the problem is only Islamic in as much as these Muslim youths have too little Islam in their lives and too much of the noxious creed of African-American gangsta culture. The reality, which is obvious to anyone who has observed these young men, is that their style of dress, their wearing of ‘bling’, their musical tastes, their language and their aggressive misogynistic attitude towards women do not have their pedigree in Islam or Arab culture.

Much the same can be said of many of the French Algerian youths who could be seen rioting in Paris a few weeks ago. Theodore Dalrymple observed, having met some of them (on an earlier occasion) in jail that they were not particularly religious at all, so this really lends no credibility to any “clash of civilisations” thesis. It’s not “Eurabia”; it’s partly a reaction to police harrassment, but it’s partly plain yob behaviour. Germaine Greer, in today’s Guardian, cites the case of Bilal Skaf, a Lebanese Muslim convicted of organising three gang rapes, calling it “a lightning rod for racial tensions”. Greer notes that “redneck” commentators protested vociferously when his sentence was reduced (by nine years) on a technicality. While it’s certainly an over-reaction if the tabloids are still howling three years later, someone who organises gang rapes deserves a good long sentence. This is about as good an example of the injustice to which western courts are prone as the Tookie Williams case in California was.

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