Islamophobic messages "Islam is a myth" and "diversity divides" chalked outside Graffiti tunnel
Trigger Warning - The following article discusses Islamophobia and may be distressing to some readers.
Islamophobic messages were found written in coloured chalk late last night around the entrance to the Sydney University's Graffiti tunnel.
The statements “Islam is a myth”, “Islam is not a race”, “free speech”, and “diversity divides” are similar to the rhetoric of anti-Islamic groups like the Australian Liberty Alliance, and some pro-Trump supporters.
These messages were discovered amidst an already disturbing number of Islamophobic incidents this year, including defaced SRC posters, racial slurs plastered on the Graffiti tunnel, and the Muslim students’ prayer room being trashed several times in the past five months.
Office Bearer of the Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR), Adam Ursino spoke to Pulp about the incident. “The fact that there have been so many similar incidents this year is really disheartening and it doesn't make new incidents any more acceptable.”
“The university needs to be proactive, not just reactive, and it's a shame that that's not happened yet. It's clear that these aren't isolated incidents, and the pattern isn’t going to stop simply because the graffiti is removed or perpetrators are being arrested.”
When the similar incident occurred earlier in the year USU President Alisha Aitken-Radburn told Pulp the board would ask Campus Security to review CCTV footage and find the perpetrators. While the incident was reported to police, the results of such an investigation remain inconclusive, with the perpetrators likely still walking around campus.
On the issue of today’s graffiti Aitken-Radburn said “It is infuriating to see continual instances of Islamophobia on campus. Racism is not tolerated by University of Sydney students and these actions are antithetical to the vibrant community of our campus.”
Pulp has now confirmed that the USU President will again be following up with campus security to ensure CCTV footage is checked and the graffiti is removed.
With the board just having provisionally elected its new executive, it will be interesting to see how they tackle this seemingly growing issue on campus. The treatment of this problem should not be a routine PR exercise, but the subject of dire scrutiny, with results shown and people held accountable.
Representatives of SUMSA and the Muslim Women’s Collective were contacted, but were unable to give comment at the time of publication.