Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fourth Stop: Lakemba

Welcome to Lakemba.


Lakemba is a microcosm of the Muslim world, and the battles and contradictions that occur within. Though not immediately obvious, I sense that there's a power struggle going on in Lakemba between the old guard religious clerics who follow a hard religious line, and the new, educated and thoroughly westernised Muslims. Take the posters that litter every available wall and street sign. Amongst a collection of fiercely anti-Zionist and anti-western messages lie posters encouraging people to donate to Muslim Aid's Jogjakarta earthquake relief effort, or to the Muslim Blood Drive.

A damn fine initiative.


Take a look inside The Islamic Bookstore, where The International Jew (now complete with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion!) sells alongside thoughtful books on the Islamic solutions to environmental problems. (For what it's worth, my favourite item was one I ended up purchasing: a pamphlet about the Islamic opposition to mingling between men and women.) The battle between the nutters and the moderates is a close-run thing, but it is most definately a silent battle being waged on the streets of Lakemba.

Don't let me catch you mingling!


Separate from the handful of distinctly Islamic institutions are a fairly typical range of restaurants, cafes, whitegoods stores and supermarkets. Most of them promote themselves as being Halal (whitegoods notwithstanding), whilst the boutiques boast a fashionable range of headscarves. Lakemba can also lay claim to a unique restaurant: the Island Dreams Cafe sells authentic Cocos Island and Christmas Island cuisine. And a damn fine Pina Colada, as well.

Tastes sensational.


It would be nice for Lakemba to drop its guard a little. At present, there seems to be a simmering hostility toward outsides and a defiant streak to its character. Perhaps it's suffering from a siege mentality, which is a shame. Here's hoping the moderates can win the day.

2 comments:

Panther said...

Island Dreams Cafe is also near Central Station. Having been to visit Cocos Island it was fun to visit there.

azeem said...

lol your view on Lakemba is so typical that is the streotype that been always pictured by media,.,.

Well I guess there is no struggle in the street of Lakemba between the old and so called new westernised moderate muslim.,.,

I guess you can't see that on the street but yea definitely if you visit mosque or prayer hall,,,
that is for sure...

other than that Lakemba is free and fair like any other suburb...

well i wish u can visit Lakemba
more often and enjoy it..

thanks...