The convenors of Voices against Bigotry (VAB) have called on the Turnbull government to refuse to issue a visa to anti-Muslim Netherlands politician Geert Wilders. The VAB network was established by academic researcher Susie Latham and Human Rights Professor Linda Briskman to challenge increasing Islamophobia in Australia. “Through demonising the Muslim community, the Abbott government rolled out the red carpet for far-right political extremism,” said Susie Latham. “If the Turnbull government is serious about leaving this era behind, it should not allow Wilders into this country to incite hate against Muslims and sow division in our community.”
Wilders is on the Department of Immigration’s Movement Alert List which lists applicants of potential risk to the Australian community. Under Australian law, visitors who intend to incite discord or vilify part of the Australian community can have their visa refused.
The purpose of Wilders’ visit to Australia is to launch a new anti-Muslim political party that advocates policies that discriminate against Muslims including: banning permanent residency for visa applicants from 57 countries with significant Muslim populations (unless they come from a persecuted non-Muslim minority), imposing severe restrictions on mosques and Islamic schools and prohibiting face coverings in public.
Wilders has declared that Islam is not a religion, but the “greatest sickness we've had during the last century” and the “ideology of a retarded culture.” He says he does not hate Muslims, but has advocated for: Muslim immigrants being paid to leave the Netherlands, a tax on women who wear headscarves and an end to Muslim immigration. He has called Moroccans, who constitute a significant proportion of Muslims in the Netherlands, “scum” and promised an audience he had asked if they wanted fewer Moroccans that he would “take care of that.” He is currently being prosecuted for discrimination and hate speech in his homeland as a result.
Wilders was a guest of honor at the Texas Mahommad cartoon drawing competition organised by fellow Islamophobe Pamela Geller, after which two Islamic extremists who attacked it were shot dead by police. He agreed to attend a similar competition in London before it was cancelled due to security concerns and aired the Texas cartoons on Dutch television.
Professor Briskman said, “By any objective measure Wilders fails the character test. We urge the Turnbull government to refuse his visa, just as it has recently refused visas to those who hold similarly offensive views.”
Voices against Bigotry
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Linda BriskmanW: www.voicesagainstbigotry.org