Flere kirker og menighetshus ble angrepet i Australia onsdag. En liten gruppe muslimer ønsker å polarisere konflikten slik at alle muslimer slutter opp om dem, tror både kristne og muslimske ledere.

Four churches in Sydney’s southwest have been attacked in 24 hours as the city’s riots spread from race to religion.

A community hall linked to a Uniting church was burned to the ground early yesterday, carol-singers were spat on and church buildings peppered with gunfire.

Police believe the attack on the hall, in the suburb of Auburn, was intended to destroy the Uniting church next door, while nearby StThomas’s Anglican Church, which has a primarily Chinese congregation, had all its front windows smashed. Three of the attacks were on churches within minutes of each other. The night before, Molotov cocktails were used in an attack on an Anglican church in Macquarie Fields in the city’s far southwest.

Arab Christians have suggested the attacks on churches may have been meant as a violent attempt to «shame» the city’s Lebanese Christian community into supporting Lebanese Muslims in the race-hate war, which began as a battle against young white males over use of suburban beaches.

Muslimske ledere ber om at unge muslimer blir underlagt portforbud i helgen, for å unngå mer bråk.

Amjad Mehboob, head of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said he believed the violence had been committed by an extremist fringe of the Muslim community. «I wish we knew who they were. I wish we could engage with them so we can find out what their beliefs are, so we can deal with them,» he said.

«This is something that started out as a minor scuffle between some youths and a couple of life-savers that has suddenly become an issue of racism and religion. Buildings can be rebuilt, but the damage this is doing to our community is extremely deep.»

Politiet i Sydney sier de nå behandler opptøyene som om det var et terrorangrep. Det er samme «command and control» system som anvendes.

Now churches are targeted
Nick Leys and Dan Box
December 15, 2005