Community's anger spills over
October 11, 2007
sister Michelle, centre, cries at his funeral yesterday.
Photo: Angela Wylie
FURY over Kevin Andrews' views on Sudanese immigrants has boiled over,
with community members lashing out at the Immigration Minister after
another violent attack on a Sudanese youth in Melbourne.
More than a week after Mr Andrews questioned the ability of Sudanese people
to integrate in Australia — and cited this as a reason for cutting the
African refugee intake — he has been accused of sparking racial
hostility towards Sudanese migrants.
Anger erupted on two fronts in Melbourne yesterday. In the west, where a Sudanese-born youth was viciously attacked by a gang on Tuesday, the boy and members of his family said they believed his attackers were influenced by the minister's remarks.
And in the south-east, where murdered teenager Liep Gony was farewelled in a harrowing funeral service, family members and a community leader demanded an apology from the
The president of Dandenong's Sudanese Community Association of Australia, Samuel Kuot, said other groups in Melbourne's south-east were turning against his people and they deserved an apology from Mr Andrews.
Speaking outside the Dandenong church where Liep Gony's funeral was held, Mr Kuot said Sudanese in Melbourne now felt unsafe after being singled out.
"The Sudanese community as well as the African community expect an apology from the minister," he said. "The community is angry. Many people are crying and emotional."
As Mr Gony was farewelled in Dandenong, police in the western suburbs yesterday appealed for witnesses to the bashing in Melton on Tuesday of 17-year-old Ajang Gor.
The Sudanese-born high school student was riding his bike home from his job at a fast-food restaurant with his brother at 4pm when he was set on by four men, who shouted racial slurs, then punched and kicked him and hit him with a bottle.
The attackers stole his wallet and phone, then sent racist text messages and made abusive phone calls to Ajang's brother, cousins and friends.
The messages included references to "black dogs" and "jigaboos", and having "knocked da f--- out of" Ajang.
Ajang, who fled Sudan with his four brothers when he was nine and spent seven years in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to Australia, has lived in Melton for 10 months. He said he had always felt secure in the area until Tuesday.
Speaking yesterday after his release from Sunshine Hospital — where he was treated for cuts and bruises to his head and an arm — Ajang said he believed Mr Andrews' comments had created a climate in which such attacks could occur. "It's been said that we Sudanese are
misbehaving and that there is a higher rate of crime, but I'm not sure if all these accusations are right," he said.