Dutch politician Geert Wilders is to attend the launch in Australia Tuesday of a new political party, with similar anti-Muslim and anti-migrant policies as his Dutch Party for Freedom.
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the Australian Liberty Alliance Party’s aim opposes what it calls “the Islamization of Australia” by placing restrictions on public religious displays and halting immigration from Muslim countries.
“Migrants do not dream of a new life in Australia because we are a Socialist, Islamic or tribal society,” the party states on its website. “Migrants come for the freedom, justice and prosperity only Western civilisation creates.”
According to the party’s national president, Debbie Robinson, a visa for Wilders has “finally been issued,” and the “popular” Dutch MP will travel to Australia to give the keynote address at the party launch Oct. 20 in Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
Premier Colin Barnett told the Herald on Friday that he would prefer it if Wilders did not come.
“However, there is a right to a freedom of speech, so we’re not going to stand in his way,” Colin Barnett said. “We would not allow any state government facilities to be used, so he’ll have to find a private venue.”
Earlier this week, the head of Australia’s Lebanese Muslim Association questioned how Wilders had been given a visa, citing public pressure for the country to deny a visa to musician Chris Brown over domestic violence charges.
“There is a line in the sand in terms of freedom of speech,” Samier Dandan told Fairfax Media. “If someone makes an anti-Semitic comment it’s not welcomed, if anyone makes an anti-Islamic [comment] it should not be welcomed [also].”
Wilders — whose party seeks to close Islamic schools, tax Muslims who choose to wear headscarves and ban the Quran — is about to face trial in his native Holland for hate speech against Moroccans.
In June, he caused widespread offense by broadcasting images of the Prophet Muhammad on Dutch public television during programming reserved for political parties. The broadcasts fell during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan.
Any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is considered highly offensive to the beliefs of the world’s nearly 1.6 billion Muslims.