Australia’s Muslim leaders are pressuring new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to cancel the visa of Geert Wilders ahead of his arrival to help launch the new political party Australian Liberty Alliance. They say the government should not allow the Dutch politician entry as it would be like throwing gasoline “on a fire that’s raging”.
In a closed meeting with seven Islamic community leaders, Mr Turnbull was warned that Mr Wilders’ visit would create anti-Islamic tensions at a time when the government is reaching out to the Muslim community, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“Other countries have refused him [Mr Wilders] entry and we have recently rejected Chris Brown for behaving in a certain way,” Lebanese Muslim Association president Samier Dandan told Fairfax Media, with reference to the American singer banned from Australia because of his history of domestic violence and criminal convictions for the same.
“Someone we know who will stir the pot, increase anti-Islamic sentiment and feed into those who seek to divide us’ should be banned from Australia too,” Mr Dandan said.
He said the government should not welcome to the country people whose values were not aligned with Australia’s.
“There is a line in the sand in terms of freedom of speech,” Mr Dandan said. “If someone makes an anti-Semitic comment, it’s not welcomed. If anyone makes an anti-Islamic comment, it should not be welcomed.'”
Perth-based imam and teacher Yahya Ibrahim – who has called Jewish people “apes and monkeys” and Christians “the enemies” – also said Mr Wilders was not welcome to reprise his 2013 visit to the country, according to broadcaster SBS.
“Even though he didn’t make anything overly inflammatory in the past, the current climate that we’re in today does not require for us to add more gasoline to a fire that’s raging,” Mr Ibrahim said. “Anything that is going to be divisive, split people up, on any lines, is something that I think the government needs to be considerate of and take reasonable measures to deter.”
As Breitbart London has reported, Mr Wilders final approval for his Australia visit was only made public last Friday. It came after fears were expressed by members of the fledgling party that Mr Wilder’s would be denied entry and the slowness of consideration of the application amounted to procedural unfairness.
— John (@SkepticJohn) October 6, 2015
A spokesman from the prime minister’s office confirmed that the community leaders had raised the matter of Mr Wilders’ during the meeting on Friday. But he said Mr Turnbull had not made the decision to grant the visa.
News of Mr Wilders’ visit comes just days after the prime minister pleaded for solidarity with Australia’s Islamic community in the wake of the murder of NSW Police Service worker Curtis Cheng who was shot in the back on a Sydney suburban street by 15-year-old Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar.
Australian Liberty Alliance Party spokesperson Debbie Robinson said she’d received positive feedback about Mr Wilder’s visit and she and her party are keen for it to proceed.
“Freedom of speech has to prevail,” she said. “He does not incite violence, he stands up for individual liberty and freedoms.”
Mr Wilders is due to arrive in Australia next Tuesday.