Image: Georgia Kriz
Islamophobic graffiti has appeared inside the University of Sydney’s Graffiti Tunnel, prompting the University’s Muslim society and student leaders to decry anti-Islam hate speech on campus.
The graffiti, which was scrawled in blue marker on a fire safety door inside the tunnel, was first reported on Tuesday and was promptly removed by the University’s Campus and Infrastructure Services department.
It included lines such as, “Fuck Islam”, “Fuck Alla” [sic], and “Say no to mosques in Australia”.
Shahad Nomani, head of Media and Advocacy for the Sydney University Muslim Students’ Society (SUMSA), told Honi the group was disappointed and surprised to learn of Islamophobic graffiti at USyd.
“It’s just disappointing really to find the increasing prevalence of such rhetoric targeting the Muslim community that only serves to inflame tensions and place undue pressure upon Muslims,” he said.
“We’re hoping that the University can take steps to find those responsible for such pitiful statements as well as encourage others to speak out against Islamophobia on campus.”
On Tuesday night, SUMSA released a statement on their Facebook page, describing the graffiti as “vitriolic” and “frankly asinine”, and advising members that they had reported the incident to Islamophobia Watch Australia.
Chloe Smith, President of USyd’s Student Representative Council, also decried the graffiti, saying the SRC was “appalled and disgusted” by the incident.
Actions such as this only promote hatred and ignorance and have no place here or anywhere else,” she said.
“No members of the university community, student, staff, or otherwise, has the right to use university space or resources for this bile.”
Alisha Aitken-Radburn, President of the University of Sydney Union, echoed Smith’s sentiments and reaffirmed her organisation’s commitment to fostering campus diversity and inclusion.
“The most fantastic thing about the University of Sydney is how vibrant and diverse our community is and celebrating that diversity together,” she said.
“It is incredibly important that all student organisations and the University itself band together to formally call out this disgusting behaviour.”
The University’s Campus and Infrastructure Services department declined to comment on the University administration’s policy on removing graffiti in the tunnel, which was established by student activists during the Vietnam War era and is one of Sydney’s largest legal graffiti walls.
Honi contacted the University to provide comment for this story on Tuesday, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.