Protesters Fight For Justice Against Reclaim Australia

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The Radical Women society, and organizers of the rally.

Angry anti-racism and anti-fascism campaigners gathered together on the 3rd of April in Swanston Street to protest against anti-Islamic group Reclaim Australia. The rally was held outside the State Library at around 2 pm and consisted of approximately sixty protesters, who chanted and displayed anti-racism messages such as “Say no to Islamophobia” and “Muslims are welcome, racists are not.”  It was the one year anniversary since Reclaim Australia held rallies around the country to protest against Islam.

Reclaim Australia is an organization which has held rallies across Australia from 2015 to protest against Islam.

The anti Reclaim Australia rally was organized by the society of ‘Radical women’, which stands to campaign against racism and fascism in Melbourne.  Activist Debbie Brennan is part of the organization and displayed a sign titled ‘War and Austerity are the problem. Go after Capitalism!’, claiming that Reclaim Australia needs to be eradicated.

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“We have been counter-mobilizing all year, and we have kept the fascists from building a big movement.” Said Mrs Brennan. “We are going to continue to do this, and we have to build a really big anti-fascist movement.” Although Police were present at the rally, no violent acts or injuries occurred.

Reclaim Australia has held rallies over the past year in Melbourne and other cities around Australia including Canberra, Perth and Brisbane. Due to the formation of Reclaim Australia, the United Patriots Front was established in May 2015, further opposing Islam in Australia.

Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front opponent Andrew Lebusque expressed that Islamophobia is “unfounded”. “To say that all of them (Muslims) are exactly the same is silly because not even everyone here in this little square where we are are the same,” said Mr Lebusque. “I’m not the same as you, or the guy right next to me. To think that all Muslims act and think the same way doesn’t make any sense.”

Campaigners claimed they were hoping to face-off with Reclaim Australia protesters, however they did not show up.

“They’ve slowly been pushing their Muslim agenda, and slowly but surely bringing in agendas about anti-Jewish and anti-women and it is just getting more and more extreme,” Mr Lebusque stated.

Twenty-five year old Australian Nathan Hunt said he is not surprised at the absence of Reclaim Australia. “The cowards that they are, what do you expect. That group is just too ridiculous to even be real,” said Mr Hunt. “Real Aussies welcome you no matter where you’re from or what religion you practice.”

Life in Islam

By Ayesha Sohail

Prejudice and discrimination towards the Muslim community in Melbourne is an ongoing issue, presenting Muslims as a ‘threat to our way of life’.

Public displays of Islamophobia, particularly online are encouraging individuals to continue the discrimination towards the Muslim community.

Eighteen year old Islamic student Zaitun Hussein had a terrifying encounter with an anti-Muslim man on a Metro train last year on the Flinders line, leaving her nineteen year old sister, sixteen year old friend and herself scared for their safety.

“This was during the time that the Sydney Siege was happening, and this man was saying to others on the train that if you see a Muslim, you should bash them,” Ms Hussein said. The student described the man to be in his thirties. “…No one on the train helped… I was very scared, we thought he was going to hit us.”

Ms Hussein suggested that Islamophobia stems from people being uneducated about the Islamic culture. “My mum always says it’s our part to try and educate them, but sometimes I think that’s not fair, I get tired of doing that.”

Twenty five year old construction worker and supporter of ‘Reclaim Australia’ Robert Tompson claims that only Australians should live in Australia. “When Muslims come to Australia, they bring their culture over here and we don’t need or want it,” Said Mr Tompson. “…And burkas should not be allowed because this is Australia and we don’t do that.”

Despite attempts to reduce racism towards Muslims across Melbourne, many victims of Islamophobia still fear going out in public, especially the women of Islam.

Australian Muslim women centre for human rights community worker and mother of two, Jaweria Khalid claims that Islamophobia is a perpetuating issue in Melbourne, and needs to be stopped. “We have individual responsibilities to get to know those different from us, and understand their lifestyle.”

Mrs Khalid said that the media plays a role in the degradation of Islam, claiming that it can cause the Islamic community to feel ‘very low and unaccepted in society’. “It is important for the media to help by displaying the positive stories of Islam also, instead of always showing the negative stories about Muslims nowadays,” Mrs Khalid said.

Mrs Khalid claimed racism towards the Islamic culture is causing Muslim women in particular to avoid leaving their own homes.

“Most important thing is for others to understand the Islamic culture and for them to understand that we are just like them, we all have work and life struggles…we are all human,” Mrs Khalid said.

A young Muslim woman reading the Holy Quran.
A young Muslim woman reading the Holy Quran.

Coconut drink blamed for child’s death

Importer Fabby Foods from Coburg has pleaded guilty in September in the Supreme Court after failing to mention all the ingredients included in their products, causing a young boy from Melbourne to die.

7-Eleven sold a Five Palms Natural Coconut drink in Olinda, the Dandenong Ranges which has caused controversy across the country. A ten year old boy experienced an allergic reaction from an ingredient in the milk which was not mentioned on the canned product.

“No parents should have to live through this heartbreak. It’s awful.” said With Allergies Australia director Sarah Patterson. “I see a lot of  imported products on supermarket shelves and wonder what is really inside them. You really don’t know…Lives are in danger.”

Victorian Food Importers Federation CEO Sam Mendes said that members need to look carefully at labelling, and they need to check that with their suppliers overseas.

Oh My Bees!

Monash University’s forty three year old second year Fine Arts student and mother of two Samantha Barrow has been thinking about using Monash University’s building F as an installation for her final Arts assessment.

The Fine Arts students were required to choose a material, which they had to work with for the whole semester, and Ms Barrow picked bees wax.

“I’m working on the idea that this space is a bee hive of activity. I’m going to install a sculptural bee hive, to have the effect that you are inside a bee hive.” Said Ms Barrow. The arts student is planning to cover up the hexagons of the windows, as the hexagons refer to the shape of honey combs.

“I’ve got five weeks to plan out whether the sculpture is going to be something big, and if it is, then which materials will be required.” Said Ms Barrow.

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Bowls Championship Feud

Winner of the Oakleigh Bowls championship, Geoffrey Blake has been banned from all future Victorian competitions by the Melbourne Bowling Club after Mr Blake turned his appreciation speech into a personal rivalry matter.

When expressing his gratitude for receiving the Victorian Bowls championship trophy, Mr Blake made a number of statements towards bowling championship runner up, Les Brady. “Les Brady has been claiming for years that he’s better than me… well, he’s not.” Said Mr Blake.

Mr Blake continued on to say that Les Brady is to blame for two nervous breakdowns, mental health problems, and problems with his wife. “I am still too upset by what Brady did to my life.”

John Winton, president of the Melbourne Bowling Club congratulated Mr Blake for his efforts in the Bowling club, however continued on to announce that the Melbourne Bowling Club is banning him from future competitions. “Receiving a trophy should be a day of celebration and of inspiring others to greater heights… Instead, this presentation has only served to fuel a private feud which has existed between you and Mr Brady for many years.” Said Mr Winton.

Mr Winton congratulated Mr Blake for his efforts, however expressed how inappropriate his appreciation speech was. “This ban is to take effect immediately.” Said Mr Winton.

Removing Bottlenecks

The Victorian State Government has declared the removal of level crossings located in Monash that have caused vast traffic congestion and delays to Monash residents and drivers over the past few years.

A primary concern has been regarding the level crossing on Clayton Road, where the boom gates are often down for 45 per cent of the morning peak hours. This has not only caused Monash residents inconvenience, but it has led to ambulances being held up whilst trying to reach the nearby Monash medical center.

Monash council’s organizational structure communications manager Ainslie Gowan agrees that the level crossing on Clayton Road is very problematic especially due to ambulances being held up during emergencies. “…and even over the years there’s been ambulances that have actually gone through the boom gates because they felt the need was so strong to get somebody to the hospital.” Said Ms Gowan.

The Monash council is aware that the level crossing on Clayton road is high priority and recognizes the importance of removing this particular crossing. “…The State Government has actually said that that will be one of the level crossings that they remove within the next four years so council’s very happy about that.”

The Clayton Road level crossing is not the only one that has been causing traffic congestion over the past few years. The State Government has announced that in the following eight years, 50 level crossings across Melbourne will be removed.

VicRoads manager of Network improvements Muhammad Sohail claims that the Clayton Road level crossing is very dangerous and that removal of it is crucial. “It’s a huge safety risk for emergency services such as fire brigades, ambulances, and police who get held up because of the boom gates. It can be a matter of a person’s life or death.”

The Clayton Road level crossing will be removed within the next eight years according to the State Government. “This is a critical project. Once it is completed, it is going to benefit the community vastly.” Mr Sohail declared.

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Dead body found at the Bank of Melbourne

A dead body has been found in the Bank of Melbourne at around 8 a.m this morning, following a tragic robbery of the bank.

Senior Economist Sarah Cassidy, and employee of the Bank of Melbourne was horrified to find the dead body under a desk at work. “I thought I was going to pass out…I could see the blood coming out the side.” She said.

The terrified employee notified the Police immediately. Dr Cassidy said the Police claim that about $50,000 was stolen from the bank’s safe.