Firebrand Dutch MP Geert Wilders has told supporters in Sydney’s west that the ideology of Islam is dangerous, while claiming Australia is seeing an “Islamisation” of its cities.
The far-right politician addressed the Q Society of Australia on Friday night at a function centre in Liverpool on the third leg of his controversial tour of Australia. Protesters gathered outside the venue to voice their anger at the MP’s controversial tour.
Many members of the media were blocked from entering the event, despite having being told by the ultra-conservative Q Society group that they would be allowed to attend. However, in an extract of the speech obtained by AAP, Mr Wilders labelled Sydney as “the Australian city where Islamisation has progressed the furthest”.
“This city needs to hear the truth about the dangerous ideology of Islam,” Mr Wilders said. In the speech he made disparaging remarks about the Koran, the holy book of Islam. He said when some journalists charged him with being intolerant he replies: “I prefer the so-called intolerance of Churchill over the so-called peace of Islam.” Mr Wilders called participants in last year’s riots in Sydney “al-Qaeda sympathisers”, and noted that there were now more than 60 mosques across the city.
About 100 protesters, many carrying anti-Wilders placards, rallied outside the function centre before the start of the speech and chanted: “Muslims are welcome, racists are not.” Police officers, including some on horseback, ensured guests invited to the event could make it through the crowd.
Outside the event an anti-Wilders protester addressed the crowd over a loudspeaker. “We have to make sure that these people are hounded if they try to do these things,” he said. Thanks for helping brand Geert Wilders what he really is.”
One protester, social commentator Antony Loewenstein, said Mr Wilders believed in dividing society. “I think his message of division and hatred against Muslims is exactly the opposite of what Australians should be hearing,” Mr Loewenstein told reporters. “It’s ignorant and shows a desire to exclude Muslims.”