"A lot of young people still feel the pressure of what happened and of being looked at differently," Fadi Rahman told Australia's Daily Telegraph on Monday, November 27.
"A lot of young people are still hesitant about going to Cronulla or any other beach," added Rahman, who owns a youth center.
The 2005 riots originated in and around Cronulla, a beachfront suburb of Sydney, Australia's largest city.
It began when more than 5,000 people gathered at the beach after e-mails and SMSs had urged White residents to beat-up "Lebs and wogs" -- racial slurs for people of Lebanese and Middle Eastern origin.
They moved after Lebanese youths had beaten a beach guard for snatching the hijab of a Muslim beachgoer. The violence then spread to other suburbs around Sydney.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.5 percent of its 20 million population.
Fearing racial assaults and abuse, some Muslims had to change their names.
Others are frightened to step out of their homes because their looks make them an "easy target".
"At the moment, we have two groups of young people in our mix," said Rahman.
"We have those who are willing to go to extremes, such as changing their names to fit in, and others who go to the other extreme of saying 'To hell with it' and build a barrier between themselves and society."
For 14-year-old Berhan Kassem life has been "pretty tough" over the past year.
"Sometimes I'm too embarrassed to walk outside because of the way people look at me differently or say things to me," said Kassem, of Lebanese origin.
Other Muslims even fear to go out unless in groups.
"It's safer to go with a group of friends but then they say we're in a gang," echoed Khaled El Sayed and Shadi Chebib, both 14.
Lucie El Sayed feels lucky because she does not look like an "obvious Muslim."
"I'm not scared about going back to Cronulla but I have friends who won't go because they are worried," said the 20-year-old Macquarie University accounting student.
|"It would create a terrible and unnecessary divide between Islam and the rest of the community," Fraser warned.|
Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has warned that the policies of the incumbent government of John Howard risk creating a "religious divide" in Australia between Muslims and Christians similar to the hatred between protestants and Catholics during World War I.
"It would create a terrible and unnecessary divide between Islam and the rest of the community," said the thrice-elected premier.
Fraser said the government should learn from the mistakes made by former prime minister Billy Hughes during World War I.
"Unfortunately, those in charge of affairs today seem not to understand this experience.
"There are already suggestions that this next election will be the Muslim election," he said, referring to the fear and terror card played by politicians for political gains.
Fraser said Muslims have been feeing the heat since the September 11 attacks on the US.
"What we do not know we often fear," he said. "What we do not understand we fear.
"People from a different religion we often fear, and what we fear becomes a threat. The politics of these issues has bitten deeply into the Australian psyche."
Howard has been under fire from Australian Muslim leaders for continuing to single out the Muslim minority for criticism.
Experts have repeatedly warned such anti-Muslim remarks could alienate the minority further.
Howard is planning to introduce restrict residence measures for immigrants, who are now required to prove they are "fair dinkum" or genuine about fitting into society.Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16