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"Some people look at them in the wrong way." Joumana Akhdar, 42, is leaving a Lebanese grocery store to prepare lunch for her 23-year-old son.Her family are the only Muslims in their building, and are welcomed, she says.The seat of Watson, in which Lakemba is located, voted no to same-sex marriage at 69.9 per cent, going against the grain compared with the rest of Australia."From the beginning," she says, "we know it was husband and wife, boy and girl, it's very hard to change it. "It doesn't mean we can't be friends if we don't think they can marry.
"Everywhere is bad and good people." Her Pakistani neighbour wears a full veil, but "doesn't follow the rules", she says, neither praying three times a day nor fasting at Ramadan. "But if your kids say, I want to date this woman, there's nothing you can do." Like many in western Sydney, she voted no to marriage equality.A stout white man with a straw hat shading his red face edges over to listen in on our conversation about life here in one of Australia's most Muslim suburbs.