A Muslim boy, aged just 14, was arrested in Sydney, Australia’s westside, after allegedly shouting racial abuse outside a church and school, including “we’re going to kill all you Christians.”
Police say the incidents took place recently at the Our Lady of Lebanon Church, as well as at the Maronite College of the Holy Family in Harris Park. The teen apparently showed up at those two locations as a passenger in a red car, along with the male driver, and waved an ISIS flag while screaming abuse.
The suspect was later arrested at his Wentworthville home and charged with intimidating a school staff member and offensive conduct. He is due to appear in court on October 13.
Joseph Wakim, who spoke for the school and is the founder of the Australian Arabic Council, told reporters, according to the Daily Mail Australia, that the school and the parents are pleased the arrest took place.
“My daughter was very concerned that an overseas group making front page news every day could be at the front door of her school. The fact the teenager was a passenger in a vehicle is a metaphor for a larger issue. A lot of these people are being driven and being steered and they need someone to say wrong way and go back.”
Wakim added that the school commended the police for their presence outside the school in the days following the incident.
Eyewitnesses at the scene said that they saw someone waving an ISIS flag from a car window while shouting racist obscenities and threatening to murder people.
The principle of the school, Sister Margaret Ghosn, told reporters that the school had taken the threat seriously and had requested security from police. Meanwhile, Our Lady of Lebanon Church parish priest, Mons Shora Maree, issued a statement.
“On Tuesday afternoon there was a single incident were by a verbal threat was made by a single passing motorist to a MCHF College staff members. The incident was reported to police who swiftly attended. This is now in the hands of police who are fully investigating. Please do not respond to or circulate any other version of the truth on social media as it creates unnecessary panic.”
Which begs the question: What is necessary panic? Is it fair to assume, in the current highly charged climate, that when someone waves an ISIS flag and threatens murder, the threat should be ignored? The police cannot be everywhere. When confronted with such a situation, what would YOU do?