At rise of Islamophobic wave, Victoria police will step up security around mosques and have advised worshippers to give notice of any community events at the weekend, amid warnings they will be targeted for protests by rightwing groups.
Fringe groups including the United Patriots Front are planning to return to Bendigo on 10 October for protests against plans to build a mosque in the town.
The group also planned to extend their campaign to mosques making it as part of a “global anti-mosque protest day” on Saturday being organized by US-based groups.
A spokeswoman for the Victoria police said there would be “an increased visible presence” at mosques and increased patrols.
“Victoria Police encourages members of the public to carry out their daily routine, including attending places of worship as normal,” she said. The police would “be closely monitoring protests to ensure there are no breaches of the peace or crimes occurring, including crimes motivated by prejudice or racism”.
The shooting last Friday of 58-year-old Curtis Cheng has also triggered calls for attacks on mosques and imams, as well as plans for a rally to “bulldoze” the Parramatta mosque.
Kuranda Seyit, from the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV), said there would be a “visible police presence” outside mosques in the state, and that extra police had been rostered.
In a statement the ICV advised its members to go about their weekends as normal but “inform the police if they are planning on having any public activity on the day”.
Imams had also been asked to assure worshippers not to be frightened by the protests, nor to be drawn into any altercations with demonstrators.
About 300 anti-Muslim protesters scuffled with leftwing groups in Bendigo in August. Two weeks later the town’s mayor, Peter Cox, was forced to leave a council meeting under police guard after it was shut by protests.
Muslims’ trust in the police has been shaken after the recent “anti-terror” raids which targeted the religious minority amid heightened security measures that led to increasing the anti-Muslim sentiments.
The raids were followed by a huge number of anti-Muslim attacks, including a mosque being defaced in Queensland and direct threats issued against the Grand Mufti of Australia.. Tags: #
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