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Muslim says he gets a ‘weird stare’ when he leaves Sydney for areas with ‘no ethnics’

An Arab Muslim comedian has sparked debate on social media by saying that he gets strange looks from locals when he leaves Sydney.

Mahmoud Ismail captioned his video “Surely I’m not the only one that experiences this”, but many White Australians pointed out that they have similar experiences in immigrant-dominated areas of western Sydney, where Ismail is from.

Some claimed it showed that Australia is racist and said the same thing happens to them, while others said it was natural for Middle Easterners to get stared at in areas which are still majority White Australian, and some argued that he was getting stared at because he was not a local, not because of his appearance.

“Why is it the case every time I leave Sydney I get the weirdest stares?” Ismail asked in the video, saying that he was on the Central Coast where there was “literally no ethnics” and “95% White people”.

“I got to these places that are predominantly White people … it’s a weird look, it’s not like racist, I wouldn’t call it racist, but it’s like a weird look like ‘what are you doing here? What are you here?’ it’s this confusion, this confused look, and I’ve noticed it’s more the older generation.

“Is it my appearance, is it because I’m different?

“I thought it was because my mum and sister wear the [Islamic] scarf, so I was walking with my mum and my sister before and we got a lot of looks, and they wear the hijab both of them, so I thought maybe it’s a bit of racism, but even when I’m not with them, they still give me the look.”

He went on to say that when he ordered a coffee the lady serving him was “dry” but treated the next customer, an older White lady, much more warmly. He added that maybe it was due to everyone knowing each other in places with small populations.

“I full miss Lebos in the area. Because when I’m back in Bankstown I get sick of Lebos and I get sick of Arabs and ethnics, but when I came here it actually made me realise I fully miss the Arabs and I fully miss the ethnics, bro, there’s not even Asians here,” he said.

One reply to the video read: “Yep, I get the same look any time I’m in Greenacre, Lakemba, Auburn or Campsie.”

Another said: “I grew up as a stereotypical White kid around Liverpool. These days I walk around there as a bald White guy and get stares from the as you say ‘ethnics’. It goes both ways brother.”

“It’s true, we don’t have a lot of Arabs in the community, same goes for me when I get around the West as a White,” a Central Coast local wrote.

Some commenters responded by saying “these people live in a shoebox”, “don’t be scared to say it’s racist”, and “Australia is the most racist country”, while some complained they get stared at for wearing the Muslim headscarf on the Gold Coast, and that they “experience this on a daily basis”.

Several suggested it was because Ismail is from Sydney, with one replying: “You’re also a tourist bro. Locals from little towns don’t like anyone from the city.”

“Brother stop it mate,” another said. “Any small country town will see anyone different. They don’t like anyone from the city. Been here since the 80s. Stop looking into something that’s not there. You’re not from the area.”

According to the 2021 Census, the NSW Central Coast is 79% Australian-born, followed by 4.6% born in England, and 1.7% in New Zealand. 42.6% gave their ancestry as English, 39.9% as Australian, 12% as Irish, 10.5% as Scottish, and 4.7% as Aboriginal. 87.7% speak only English at home.

Bankstown, where Ismail appears to be from, is 53.4% Australian-born, and just 19.4% had both parents born in Australia. 7.7% were born in Vietnam, 6.7% in Lebanon, 3.3% in China, and 1.3% each in India and Pakistan.

The largest ancestry groups are Lebanese on 16.8%, 16% Australian, 12.8% English, 9.7% Vietnamese, and 8.6% Chinese. 25.6% of the population are Muslim, and 36.7% use only English at home.

Noticer News contacted Ismail for comment.

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