Anti-Islam rallies take place across Australia

2015-04-06 10:09:32 | Al Muslim News
Anti-Islam rallies take place across Australia


A series of anti-Islam rallies have been held across Australia, with police forced to intervene to separate protesters from rival, anti-racism demonstrators in the city of Melbourne.
The rallies organize by racist group ‘Reclaim Australia’ drew hundreds of supporters but also triggered counter-rallies from other groups who criticized them as racist and called for greater tolerance.
Almost 97% of Australian people are settlers or migrants from Europe (most of them British), Asians and some Arabs. Before, the first British settlement in the late 18th century Australia was inhabited by indigenous “Aboriginalâ€.
Today Aboriginal people make only 2.7% of total population of Australia. ‘Reclaim Australia’ slogan, if exists, than it is native people Aboriginal’s right to Reclaim Australia.
Muslim community leaders expressed fear and panic after protesters gathered in over a dozen Australian cities at the weekend to express their opposition to Muslims minority, who want to ‘change the cultural identity of the country.’
Randa Kattan, CEO of Arab Council Australia, warned such racist type of events could quickly spiral out of control. “It only takes one incident,†she warned.
The ‘Reclaim Australia’ protests on Saturday were held in 16 cities and towns nationwide, attracting hundreds of demonstrators, who said they are against the imposition of Sharia law, and the wave of multiculturalism that has swept the country.
However, the anti-Islam protesters met stiff opposition from the left-wing umbrella group ‘No Room for Racism.’ Tensions peaked in central Melbourne, where police struggled to keep anti-Islam and anti-racism protesters separated. Four people were treated for minor injuries, while 2 men and 1 woman arrested following the violence.
One of the organizers of the anti-racist demonstration, Mel Gregson, credited her organization with preventing a number of speakers from the anti-Muslim group from making it to the rallying point. Gregson, who said she believes in the freedom of speech, told RT this represented “a huge victory.â€
“People have the right to freedom of speech, but people need to be accountable to what they say and if people are spreading hate speech and lies, particularly about religious or ethnic minorities, then they need to be held accountable for that,†she said.
“The streets of Melbourne are not the place for anti-Muslim ideas.â€
Greg Fealy, at the School of International, Political & Strategic Studies at Australian National University, believes the anti-Muslim faction subscribes to an “Anglo-centric†worldview.
“Although they claim it’s to protect an Australian way of life, their vision of that way of life is a very Anglo-centric one, and one that often quite specifically rejects the role of Muslims in Australia,†he told
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the protests came at “an unfortunate time,†particularly when Tony Abbott delivered a “couple of unfortunate remarks†about the Muslim community, which he said was “not doing enough to combat radicalism.â€
Other activist also suggest the government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott is largely responsible for stirring up anti-Islamic tensions and making new arrivals to Australia feel unwelcomed.
Kon Karapanagiotidis from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre blamed the government’s tough border protection policies for the rise in attacks on minority groups. “Reclaim Australia makes asylum seekers feel more under threa,†he added.
Tensions between Australians and Muslims have been mounting of late. In September, Australian police launched a series of anti-terrorism raids, while a siege by an Iranian-born Muslim man in Sydney last December left three people dead and four injured.
A survey conducted by the University of Queensland at the start of 2015 reported that up to 75 percent of Muslims living in Australia say anti-terrorism laws target them unfairly.


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