Sectarian and political divisions between the two main Islamic sects --
Shi'a and Sunni -- are rippling through parts of southwest Sydney, reports Patrick Abboud.
Sectarian and political divides between the two main Islamic sects - Shi'a and Sunni -- are rippling through parts of southwest Sydney as a result of the Syrian conflict, reports SBS video-journalist Patrick Abboud.
'Ibby': "Look at the society and the community, noone gets along anymore - it’s happening in Syria but it’s affecting us here because Shi'a are not getting along with Sunni, Sunni are not getting on with Alawi, Alawi are not getting on with anyone - that’s how it is - it’s affecting everyone..." - for more, watch our special video report or read a full transcript.
The Bankstown area has one of the largest Muslim and culturally diverse populations in Australia. Much the same as in Syria - the majority here are Sunni with only around 5 per cent of the community identifying as Shi'a or Alawi. There are other suburbs in Sydney which are dominated by the Shi'a and Alawi sects.
Religious Affiliation: Bankstown compared to all of AustraliaThe conflict in Syria is reported to have taken at least 20,000 lives since the uprising against the government began in March 2011.
Activists and human rights groups say August was the deadliest month so far, with more than 5,000 people killed. The new UN and Arab league envoy for Syria has described the destruction as "catastrophic".
While some Syrian-Australians mourn the loss of family and friends, there are others here who wait anxiously to hear any news at all.
Some recent incidents of violence in Bankstown have been allegedly linked to disputes sparked by the Syrian conflict. There are also several Facebook pages containing lists of Sunni and Shi’a businesses being boycotted.
NSW Police confirm there is growing tension in the area and boycott campaigns circulating online. They are monitoring the situation closely.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas: "There are certainly some apprehensions and tensions within the communities – we view it very seriously." For more, watch our special video report.
The death of local Sunni Sheikh Mustapha Al Mazjoub in Syria on August 20 has inflamed divisions, with some community leaders claiming the situation is at its worst.
Some residents and shopkeepers in Greenacre say that as the uprising in Syria worsens, it gets worse here too.
But it's not a simple case of a war between the sects. The impact of the Syrian conflict on these communities is complicated - leaving locals questioning their allegiances.
For more, watch our special video report