Racist graffiti hurts children too

Racist graffiti hurts children too

Member for Armadale Tony Buti, Australian Arab Association president Salim Youssef and his nephew also named Salim Youssef speak out against anti-Islamic graffiti in Champion Lakes. Photograph — Matt Devlin.

Australian Arab Association president Salim Youssef is disappointed after his nine-year-old nephew discovered anti-Islamic graffiti at Champion Lakes.

Mr Youssef said his nephew also named Salim Youssef had been playing Pokemon Go at the weekend when he saw ‘Muslims leave Australia’ written on a post.

Anti-Islamic graffiti was also found at the toilets in May.

Mr Youssef said it was upsetting to see.

“A lot of people go there and they will see that,” he said.

“Even if it’s just a kid who has written that, it means he has been taught by his parents to hate other beliefs and religions.”

He said while anti-Islamic graffiti was not uncommon it was the first time he had seen it in that area.

“It’s usually centred around mosques in Thornlie or Southern River,” he said.

Both mosques have been the target of a number of incidents with the most recent being a car bombing in Thornlie.

Gosnells police Acting Senior Sergeant Fraser Mainland said police were aware of the incident and regularly conducted patrols in the area.

“It is disappointing particularly in light of the efforts made by the Australian Arab Association to build links with the community last weekend at the Multicultural Eid Festival, where there were people from all backgrounds,” he said.

“We have strong links with the local Muslim community and we view this type of behaviour as being completely unacceptable.”

City of Armadale mayor Henry Zelones said while the city does not keep records of specific anti-Islamic graffiti it took all incidents of reported graffiti seriously and all incidents would be dealt with promptly.

“Unfortunately those who commit this form of crime aren’t usually aware of or appreciate the benefits multiculturalism has within our community,” he said.

He said since 2012 the number of graffiti incidents reported in the city had decreased by 22 per cent with a total number of 230 incidents recorded in the 2015.

Member for Armadale Tony Buti said people who have differences in opinions should express themselves in a more civilised manner.

“If people have concerns they should talk to each other rather than cowardly write graffiti that is insulting to many people whether they’re Muslim or not Muslim,” he said.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Graffiti can also be reported at www.goodbyegraffiti.wa.gov.au or to the City of Armadale on 9399 0111.