The Daily Telegraph
September 25 2015.
THOUSANDS of television viewers were alarmed by the image of a toy gun being brandished among the crowd at a major Muslim religious festival in Sydney.
The gun was seen being carried by a woman and a child in the background of a live ABC TV breakfast cross yesterday from Lakemba mosque.
Its appearance left a jarring note on a family day of peace, prayer and celebration as thousands gathered for the Eid al-Adha festival marking the end of Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
NSW Deputy Labor Opposition Leader Linda Burney, the MP for nearby Canterbury, told the crowd the Eid celebrations were a testament to Australian multiculturalism: “Our community has something that could teach the rest of the world.”
“Why, in the current environment of extremism, would parents allow children to carry a replica machine gun to a Muslim religious festival?” one viewer asked in a social media post.
“What is being celebrated that needs a gun?”
One member of the Muslim community said toys, including toy guns, were sometimes sold by people at unofficial stalls that appeared at some festivities.
ABC reporter Bonny Symons-Brown said she did not see the toy gun at the festival, and was only alerted to its appearance later.
The Lebanese Muslim Association declined to comment.
The toy gun was starkly at odds with the tone of the day and public speeches. Roads were closed around the mosque as an estimated 15,000 people gathered for the festival, many unfurling their prayer mats as Arabic prayers were broadcast over loudspeakers.
NSW Deputy Opposition Leader Linda Burney, the MP for nearby Canterbury, told the crowd the Eid celebrations were a testament to Australian multiculturalism: “Our community has something that could teach the rest of the world.”