This article draws on research into racist vilification experienced by young Arab and Muslim Australians especially since 11 September 2001, to explore the links between public space, movement and national belonging, and the spatial regulation of cultural difference that functions in Australia. The authors analyse the way that the capacity to experience forms of national belonging and cultural citizenship is shaped by inclusion within or exclusion from local as well as nationally significant public spaces. While access to public space and freedom to move are conventionally seen as fundamental to a democratic state, these are often seen in abstract terms. This article emphasises how movement in public space is a very concrete dimension of our experience of freedom, in showing how incivilities directed against Arab and Muslim Australians have operated pedagogically as a spatialised regulation of national belonging. The article concludes by examining how processes associated with the Cronulla riots of December 2005 have retarded the capacities of Muslim and Arab Australians to negotiate within and across spaces, diminishing their opportunities to invest in local and national spaces, shrinking their resources and opportunities for place-making in public space.