Seven Australian Muslim leaders have met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to request that a controversial Dutch politician’s Australian visa be revoked.
The anti-Islamic politician is set to visit Perth to launch the new Australian Liberty Alliance political party, which he inspired.
During their meeting with the Prime Minister, the leaders compared Mr Wilders’ proposed trip to Australia with the case of American singer Chris Brown, who was this month denied a visa due to domestic violence charges in the past.
“Other countries have refused him [Wilders] entry and we have recently rejected Chris Brown for behaving in a certain way,” Lebanese Muslim Association president Samier Dandan told Fairfax Media.
Mr Dandan said Australia should not grant a visa to “someone we know who will stir the pot, increase anti-Islamic sentiment and feed into those who seek to divide us”.
Tensions between Australian muslims and the wider community have been a pressing issue in the wake of the deadly shooting in Parramatta last week, denounced by police as an act of terrorism.
Leaders of the Muslim community were wary that the presence of Mr Wilders would undo any efforts between the government, Muslim leaders and the community to ease tensions.
Mr Wilders, Dutch MP and leader of The Freedom Party, is known for his efforts to stop “the Islamisation of the Netherlands”.
In the past, Wilders compared the holy book of Islam, the Quran, to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi manifesto Mein Kampf, and campaigned to have the text banned in the Netherlands.
Last Friday, Mr Turnbull made a public plea for “mutual respect” between all Australians and announced an emergency stocktake of current anti-terrorism law.
At the press conference in Sydney, Mr Turnbull appeared to take a different approach to his predecessor Tony Abbott, whose rhetoric was more heavily focused on hardline law enforcement and security.
Australian visa has been granted! Look forward visiting Perth for launch new party: Australian Liberty Alliance! pic.twitter.com/O5IHNeUIj5
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) October 8, 2015