CAIRO – A looming visit by far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is notorious for slurs against Islam, is sparking tensions in Australia with white supremacist groups calling for confrontations with the country’s Muslim community.
“We encourage all patriots to exercise their legal right of self defense if any rag-heads try to prevent them accessing the venue, or threaten, or use violence against their person,” Australian New Nation group said in an audio posted on “Radio Free Australia, the voice of white revolution in Australia”, The Canberra Times reported on Saturday, February 2.
“Once they try to strike the first blow, everything that follows is self defense on your part,” it added.
Tensions have been mounting over the impending visit of the far right-wing politician, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party (PVV), who has been accused of Islamophobia and racism.
Wilders' trip to Australia this month is the next stage of a journey that has taken him to the US Senate, the House of Lords, the Knesset in Israel and several European parliaments.
Encouraging followers to attack Muslim protesters, the group warned them to “expect an Islamic rent-a-crowd outside screaming and foaming at the mouth like the evil bastards they are”.
The vitriolic broadcast, which lasts almost 10 minutes, goes on to say, “go … and be prepared to defend yourself and if they take a swing at you, they push at you, they spit on you, don't hold back. You have a legal right of self defense do what should be done to this rag-head camel f--- … Islamic filth who have no place in civilized society.”
The tour has been organized by the Q Society of Australia.
The venues of the meetings are being kept secret until 48 hours before the event and will be revealed only to registered ticket-holders.
Wilders is notorious for his rants against Islam and Muslims.
He has also called for banning the Noble Qur’an, describing the Muslim holy book as “fascist”.
In 2008, Wilders released a 15-minute documentary accusing the Qur'an of inciting violence.
The Dutch lawmaker’s visit comes amid tension over a Muslim protest in Sydney against an anti-prophet film degenerated into violence.
Facing rising anti-Muslim sentiments, Australian Muslim leaders have been encouraging their community to ignore Wilders' visit.
The president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Hafez Kassem, questioned what the authorities were doing about the “provocation by rednecks”.
“Surely they must be monitoring this,” he said.
Keysar Trad from the Islamic Friendship Association said while Muslims should have every right to protest peacefully, it would only draw attention to Wilders.
Trad recommended the community ignore the event.
Social media sites protesting against Wilders' visits to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth have also been the target of hate messages.
Stepan Kerkyasharian, the head of the Community Relations Commission of NSW, highlighted the concerns of the Muslim community about the outcome of Wilders' tour.
Kerkyasharian said it was important other groups that may have their own agenda do not try to use his visit as an opportunity to vent their own venom.
“We do not want anyone looking for an opportunity such as a visit from someone from overseas to try and undermine our cohesive, co-existence,” he said.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
Islam is the country's second largest religion after Christianity.
In post 9/11 Australia, Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
A 2007 poll taken by the Issues Deliberation Australia (IDA) think-tank found that Australians basically see Islam as a threat to the Australian way of life.
A recent governmental report revealed that Muslims are facing deep-seated Islamophobia and race-based treatment like never before.