In 2017, the day after the London Bridge terrorist attack, Cory Bernardi’s newly formed party, Australian Conservatives, emailed his supporters with a survey titled We Need to Talk About Islam.
The preamble to the survey stated:
Our founder, Senator Cory Bernardi, has been a regular critic of Islam, including here calling on Muslims to ‘reject, refute and reform’ Islam, and here where he called out the error of Britain’s migration program accepting Islamic migrants.
One question states that “some have attributed the migration of people of Islamic belief to terror attacks in Australia and abroad” and asks people for their view. In an obvious attempt to solicit negative responses, other questions included, “What is your view on the practice of sharia law in Australia?” and, “What is your view on the Islamic practice of allowing men to marry girls who are under the legal age of sexual consent?”
Bernardi defended the timing of the survey saying “We’re not politicising anything, we’re trying to decide what the Australian people want.”
Far from an innocent information gathering exercise, the very format was intended to offend.
A graphic next to the survey showed the Islamic “shahada” or proclamation of faith, written in Arabic with a large cross through it, a move labelled “fiercely extremist” by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, and offensive by Sydney Muslim community leader Dr Jamal Rifi.
AFIC spokesman Ali Kadri made a very prescient warning.
“Bernardi’s party are trying to reverse the gains of the Western world and eventually the people will pay for it, just as people in the Muslim world are paying now, because they excused extremism and thought it was the answer.”
Whilst not a member of Bernardi’s party yet, member for Dawson, George Christensen has appeared with Berrnardi at anti-Muslim speaking events and has addressed anti-Muslim rallies.
In 2016, he tried to set up a site (unsuccessfully it seems) specifically designed to attack Islam. He appealed to Facebook for writers to make contributions (for free).
“The website will seek to expose radical Islamic practices, its adherents and its appeasers within our midst. The site will also root out political correctness and its purveyors who seek to stymie free speech on this, the most important subject for the future of our Western civilisation,” George grandiosely claims, promising to expose the “practices of so-called moderate Muslims in this country or elsewhere [who] are found to be less than moderate or appeasing the extremists.”
“The pay rate for writers and researchers is a whopping total of nothing but you’ll be helping fight for a cause which could determine the future of Western civilisation, freedom, liberty and humankind.”
The fact that these two politicians make much of their personal religious adherence makes their perfidy in demonising other people of faith all the more galling.
Whilst Hanson and Anning are rightly ridiculed and dismissed as fringe dwellers, Bernardi and Christensen were part of the government, contributing to the debate about national security and forming the policy and laws to enforce it. They, along with Morrison and Dutton, gave a legitimacy to Islamophobia.
Hate speech was defended by the white men in the Coalition, the rights of bigots being apparently more important than the rights and safety of their victims.
Just as the Islamists who would seek to corrupt our youth must be exposed and vigorously opposed, so must these politicians who are, to use their own words, “appeasing the extremists” and enabling those who would seek to impose their warped views of White Supremacy and the superiority of something they call our “Judeo-Christian heritage” on us all.
The hate speech must stop and those who promote it must be removed from public office and, if necessary, prosecuted for inciting hatred and violence. This is not about political correctness or censorship. It is about opposing those who threaten our social cohesion.
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