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Islamophobia and scapegoating over Sydney siege

This article is over 9 years, 7 months old
Issue 2434

The media went into Islamophobic overdrive at news of a gunman holding people hostage in a cafe in Sydney, Australia, this week.

The siege ended with three people dead, including the gunman.

The press said this “radical Muslim cleric” or “hate sheikh” was further proof that an attack on “our way of life” was underway. 

Blame for the siege was pinned on Islam. One commentator even claimed it was “an attack by the Islamic State”.

Yet it seems the gunman acted alone. His lawyer described him as a “damaged” individual.

Attempts to whip up anti-Muslim racism will only make it harder to understand why events such as these occur.

Australian warplanes have been bombing Iraq for more than three months. Islamic State is a product of military occupation and sectarian government imposed by the West in Iraq.

On the same day as the siege in Sydney, an ex-US marine allegedly shot and killed six members of his ex-wife’s family at three locations in Pennsylvania. This was far less widely reported.

And there has been no suggestion of a plot by radical Christians or attempts to blame Christianity. 

It would be ridiculous to do so, of course. 

But that doesn’t stop the ruling class using the same arguments to demonise Muslims and to try and divide working class people.

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