Letter from a Non-Muslim in Exile

To Alan Rocher, Perth Western Australia, and Premier Richard Court, Office of the Premier, 197 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000, AUSTRALIA.

Dear Richard and Alan,

I am writing to you, as my former MP's, who may have an interest in why one of your former electors is no longer in the country. You may recall my writing to you at the time of the incidents relating to the photograph of a pig painted on a Muslim's door.

In many minds painting a pig on a Muslim's door as little different to painting a Swastika on a Jew's door, except that added to the intimidation, is the religious vilification of using a representation of an animal that the religion sees as defiled. The sequence of events that have transpired since I first wrote to you are also disturbing.

When an individual commits an act of racial and religious vilification we may regret it, but simply write it off as the act of a lone nut. But when that sort of act wins support from a magistrate, and the offender is encouraged to prosecute his victims, when despite a restraining order the offender seems to be able to coerce police assistance in tracking and harassing his victims, i.e. when that sort of act seems to have tacit and overt official support, it bodes ill for Australia.

To summarise the sequence of events, I evicted the individual who had painted the pig on a Muslim neighbour's door, and as you will recall, circulated the story to government bodies with an interest in stopping racial and religious vilification, and with the welfare of visitors to Australia, I also requested that the offender compensate his victims.

The Western Australian Police tried to help, but appear to have been thwarted from doing so, and coerced into assisting the offender. Apart from them, not one government agency has lifted a finger to help, compensate or support the victims. Quite the reverse - the offender has been given court encouragement to prosecute for wrongful eviction and police assistance in tracking down his targets who had a restraining order against him. I have been left like the proverbial shag on a rock, alone and a target for the offender's revenge. The offender has sued me for almost $10,000 damages, and the pattern has been that every time he doesn't get what he wants in court, the Nedlands Council starts harassing my Muslim tenants. The story puts out a clear message - anyone stupid enough to protect or defend a Muslim in Australia will face officially sanctioned harassment, prosecution and persecution.

Despite a perhaps casual attitude to religion in some sections of Australian society, that is not true of people in some of our neighbouring countries. Insults like this are remembered and can fester for decades. The issue is more than just my and other victims' problem - it is very much Australia's. Australia is trying to build trade links with Islamic countries to its north, and with the Middle East. Our nearest neighbour is the most populous Islamic nation on Earth. Putting it bluntly it is INSANE for Australia to encourage this sort of behaviour against Islamic guests in this country.

For an Australian magistrate to rule that after this, the offender was entitled to stay and continue his harassment against his Muslim victim, seems to me 1) unbelievably stupid, 2) unjust, 3) devoid of a sense of right or wrong, 4) a huge insult to Islam, and 5) not to have Australia's interest at heart. There must be plenty of Australian businessmen who have worked hard to win and keep contracts in the Middle East who would be rightly furious if they knew of that decision.

One year on, the victims in this case have so despaired of ever getting any redress or justice in Australia, that they are seeking a judgement from an Islamic Court outside Australia. The photos of the door have been circulating on the internet since early 197. It is only a matter of time before Islamic newspapers pick them up and run the story - if they haven't already. Any influence that you can use towards damage control would be in Australia's interest.

In reality, how this case has been handled may be just a matter of over stretched resources, or incompetence, or an unwillingness to even comprehend the depth of the insult this painting represents to one of the world's major religions. However, in perception, how this case has been handled, looks like, smells like and sounds like corruption. The offender has a brother who is a surgeon, and comes from a wealthy Toorak family with grazing property in Victoria. People tend to lump Toorak and the Liberal Party together - a Liberal Party that is already not travelling well with ethnic voters is vulnerable to suggestions that it was a party influence that has enabled the offender to get away with his actions, to prosecute his victims, to run a case against one of his victims in absentia without serving notice on him, and to gain police help in tracking his victims, contrary to the provisions of a restraining order. The offender boasts of having enough influence to manipulate Immigration Officers and Commonwealth police into arresting my daughter and me if we ever return to an Australian airport.

The impact on us has been severe. The offender has stalked and harassed since his eviction, using threats, intimidation, assault, and the courts and the police. My 6-year-old daughter attended 4 schools in less than 9 months as we attempted to elude his attentions. Finally we were forced to leave the country - with family pets moved out as well, and Australia's quarantine law being what they are, we will be out for at least ten years - i.e. my Australian daughter will be 17, with her schooling completed before she can return to her home country. Effectively we are exiled. From the country's point of view, the impact is real too - we sell Australian security software through MZI in Seattle, via their catalogue PCZone. That business and the revenue that would have flowed from it are now lost to Australia.

So just what sort of individual is worthy of such official backing from our government agencies and judiciary and of police help? As you will recall from my earlier correspondence, the Police got a bag full of syringes from his room, he has not had a real job since the early 1990's, he kept a hand-written personality profile in pride of place on his desk, which he described the subject as a "sexual predator, potentially violent, lost touch with emotions, competitive, without regard for others". He kept a pile of newspaper clippings on the Claremont serial killings. The syringes might sound like a drug problem, but they may have been more sinister - according to his flat mates, he wandered the streets of Claremont and Nedlands at nigh t with the syringes in a backpack. He was witnessed wandering the UWA campus with a pair of bolt cutters and stealing bicycles. Currie Hall, one of the residence halls at UWA banned him from their premises - they had earlier taken steps to remove him, because they considered that some of their students were in physical danger from him. I warned people and occupants of places that he was stalking, and when they checked with the police, all they got were denials. Wonderful country Australia has become!!

My best contact is via email: petergolden@hotmail.com.

[We are still on the move, but even if we weren't, I have learnt the hard way that giving our address to any government agency is an invite to our stalker to come and find us.]

Yours sincerely
Peter Golden
Friday, July 10, 1998.

Courtesy: Australian Muslim News, July 1998.

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