By Greg Ansley
1:25 PM Saturday Apr 26, 2014
Australia’s violent far right has begun to stir again, targeting Muslims in a campaign that has erupted into conflict with Islamic radicals involving at least one shooting, death threats and intimidation.
The worst of the anti-Muslim drive is led by the Australian Defence League, joining a small but widening base embracing the Australia First Party, a registered political party that contests local, state and federal elections, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and skinheads.
A newly formed Australian branch of Greece’s fascist Golden Dawn has been supported by Australia First. Golden Dawn has a history of violence, uses Nazi symbolism and regards Adolf Hitler as a “great personality”.
Australia’s far right has drawn heavily on foreign mentors. The ADL grew from Britain’s violently anti-Muslim English Defence League, with others linked to an international network of fascists and white supremacists.
The domestic spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, said in its most recent report to federal Parliament that local groups were using protests to provoke violence, leading to “heightened tensions between anti-Islam groups and Islamist extremists”.
Asio and police are now investigating rising tensions between the ADL and Muslim groups after an internet and social media hate campaign, death threats and intimidation including public abuse of Muslims.
ADL members in Sydney have photographed Muslim women in city streets and on public transport, posting the images and accompanying abusive comments on the internet. This has been supported by anti-Islamic harangues and pamphlets in shopping malls.
Islamic schools have also been targeted. Anti-terror agencies were alarmed by a video of Malek Fahd school in the western Sydney suburb of Greenacre, posted on Facebook and YouTube. The video claimed Malek Fahd, Australia’s largest Islamic school, was a centre for terrorism and should be destroyed.
The defence force has also investigated reports that the ADL has recruited within the military. The navy said none of its sailors were ADL members, but that several had been dismissed for inappropriate use of social media.
Footage of navy ships has been used in videos made by heavy metal band Eureka Brigade formed by ADL member Shermon Burgess, whose lyrics proclaimed the riot between white Australians and Lebanese youths at Cronulla in 2005 “Australia’s Muslim holocaust”.
Eureka Brigade’s inflammatory songs Border Patrol (supporting operations against asylum seekers) and ADL Killing Machine are posted on the internet.
Police investigations are continuing. Former ADL western Sydney president Nathan Abela has been charged with offences including using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend.
Muslim radicals are striking back. They are believed responsible for firing eight gunshots into Abela’s home. The previous day a Muslim calling himself Abu Bakr posted a YouTube video warning Abela he was a “clear target” and that if he did not accept Islam he “will die by the sword”.
The ADL is among the latest of a long line of far right Australian extremists that reached a high in the 1930s with the New Guard, a militia of anti-communists and imperialists with a reputed peak membership of 50,000.
Since then there have been intermittent far right risings, reaching a new peak in the 1980s with violence led by the neo-Nazi National Resistance and Australian National Alliance. Others have included the League of Rights and militias such as the Aussie Scouts, based in far western New South Wales.
Most have been small and flared only briefly, often disintegrating through internal warfare. Asio noted: “There has been a persistent but small subculture of racist and nationalist extremists in Australia, forming groups, fragmenting, re-forming and often fighting among themselves.”
Numbers remain tiny, with nationwide estimates running into the low hundreds. The ADL won a large Facebook following, but is believed to have as few as 30 paid members.
Neo-Nazi, white supremacists and “Aussie pride” organisations also include Southern Cross Hammerskins, Blood & Honour, Volksfront and Combat 18, most derived from and linked to US, British and European groups. America’s notorious Ku Klux Klan also has a small Australian following.
ADL regards Islam and Sharia law as a threat to Australian democracy, advocating a global stand against a religious, political and social ideology seeking to “dominate all non-believers and impose a harsh legal system that rejects democratic accountability and human rights”.
Australia First says Australia is a client state. “The unfolding population/food crisis coupled with new world order wars launches refugee hordes at Australia’s borders, whilst the traitor class sponsors a mass immigration recolonisation of Australia for the purposes of economic enmeshment with the global economy,” its website says.