Ralph Cerminara, president of Australian Defence League, burst into an angry rant and had to be escorted away by police after an outburst near the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in central Sydney as the hostage crisis continued.
“Half the reason we’ve got this problem today is because of left wing bigots… These people may be murdered because of your left wing bigotry… It’s finally happened!” Cerminara shouted angrily before being taken away by police.
Cerminara’s flare-up was an ominous warning of the backlash the Muslim community could face when the siege is finally resolved. And a terrorism expert agreed, saying that racist attacks targeting Australia’s Muslim community are “quite likely”.
Ben Rich, a researcher into political violence at Monash University’s School of Social Sciences, said some Australian Muslims could face reprisal due to the incident in Sydney.
“I can’t say to what extent it’s going to be, but I’d say it’s quite likely,” Mr Rich said. He predicted that any violence would probably not be “organised by any particular political party” but was more likely to be “just a group of guys deciding ‘let’s go do something, let’s go attack someone’.”