Journal article

The Cronulla riots: Muslims’ place in the white imaginary spatiality

Muslims Muslim ethnic identity Islamophobia Group identity Nationalism Racism Ethnic conflict Australia Sydney

On 11 December 2005 at Sydney’s Cronulla Beach about 5000 Australians, mostly young men from Sutherland Shire, wrapped themselves in Australian flags and asserted that Cronulla Beach belonged to them through abusive language against Lebanese Australians. Subsequently, on 12 December 2005 a group of Australians of Lebanese heritage launched an attack in reprisal. The former group exhibited their “Australianness” through an urban model based on exclusion, implying they were the West so, of course, they were better than the rest. The latter fought back, exhibiting that they also represented the West. They demonstrated their territorial rights as they asserted that the beach also belonged to them. The rather aggressive posturing of both parties raises the question of whether Muslim Australians have a place in the white imaginary spatiality.

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