Recent racially-motivated attacks within the City of Gosnells caused a lot of commotion in the community, after an Afghani Australian family found themselves in a nasty situation.
Fourty-one-year-old Azad Alizada, who is also vision impaired as a result of wounds he received fighting the Taliban, contacted The Examiner earlier this month as he feared for his family’s welfare around his own neighbourhood in Greenough Way.
The Afghan man, who spent time as a refugee in Pakistan, said local children were constantly abusing him and his family, especially his children on the way to school.
Consequently, local members of parliament and the City of Gosnells mayor contacted Mr Alizada to offer their support.
Member for Southern River Terry Healy who contacted Mr Alizada’s neighbours as soon as he read the story, confirmed that there are families in crisis in the area and said some of the young people were causing a lot of stress for other families.
“Together with those reports, I have liaised with local police and with the local Department of Communities to see how we can bring together a number of local community and support services to these families, but also to work out how we can avoid these incidents from happening in the future,” he said.
“We are always available for people and hopefully we will be able to deal with these incidents before they escalate.”
Mayor David Goode, who also visited Mr Alizada on May 8, said the city condemned any form of harassment including racial vilification, which is a criminal offence.
“No individual or family should experience harassment and be made to feel unsafe,” he said.
“Every person has the right to feel safe and respected, and the city is disappointed to hear about cases of harassment taking place in our community.
“The city urges parents to know the whereabouts of their children at all times.” Mr Alizada confirmed it was mostly young people from neighbouring families that were verbally abusing them and throwing rocks at his house.
After receiving advice from the local police, Mr Alizada installed CCTV cameras last week and said he felt hopeful after receiving support from the community and local politicians.
“The mayor asked me to join some of the community pages to keep in touch with the local community,” he said.
“In the past few days some people have called me and shown their support as well, it feels really good to see this in our community but something needs to be done to improve the safety of our children.
“I’ve realised the problem is not only with our house but now I know some neighbours aren’t happy either.
“We placed CCTV cameras in our house, but what about safety in our local playground, the hospital, the schools?”
Mr Goode also urged Mr Alizada and anyone in the community who witnesses forms of harassment, to report these incidents to the police, who have the authority to deal with such matters.
“While incidents of harassment and racial vilification are a matter for the police, the city works hard to promote social cohesion, tolerance and harmony in our community.
“The city is also home to many support agencies such as the Multicultural Communities Council of WA, located in Gosnells, that can offer support to people of diverse backgrounds.”