Q Society of Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Q Society of Australia Inc. is a far-right organisation that has actively campaigned against Muslim immigration and the presence of Muslims in Australian society.[1][2] Q Society refers to itself as "Australia's leading Islam-critical organisation"[3] and has stated that its purpose is to fight against the "Islamisation of Australia".[4] The Q Society is so named because it was founded at a meeting in the Melbourne suburb of Kew in 2010.[5]

Activities[edit]

Alma Road Community House petition, East St Kilda, Melbourne[edit]

In 2011 Q Society took issue with a number of Muslim men that had been meeting for some time at the Alma Road Community House in East St Kilda for Friday prayers.[6][7] The Port Philip council published plans to increase the number of persons allowed to attend prayers at the Alma Road Community House from 40 to 100 and rededicate the house as formal 'place of assembly'. Q Society circulated a petition to object to the proposed increase and re-dedication and claimed that the petition had attracted about 600 signatories.

Several Jewish community leaders in Melbourne opposed the petition. Deborah Stone of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), which actively counters prejudice against Jews (including from fundamentalist Muslims), stated that the fears of the Q Society were greatly exaggerated: "Assuming Muslims are terrorists is the same as expecting that Italians running a restaurant will be using it as a Mafia hideout, or that the local Catholic school is sheltering a paedophile priest."[7] The Port Phillip Council has strongly supported social diversity and multiculturalism, and the Muslim prayer group had not caused concern until the Q Society intervened.[7] The council later approved its own revised planning proposal.[citation needed]

1st Symposium on Liberty and Islam in Australia[edit]

From 7 to 10 March 2014 the society held a symposium in Melbourne which hosted numerous speakers. These included Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-American human rights activist who was raised as a Muslim,[8] and is director of Former Muslims United, an organisation set up to protect former Muslims from persecution. Speakers also included Geert Wilders, who appeared via video link criticising "politicians who don't share our values and foolishly declare all cultures are equal". Wilders was referring to Islam, suggesting that Muslim cultures are inferior to non-Muslim cultures.[2][9]

As with a previous visit by Wilders in 2013, a number of Australian newspapers refused to publish advertisements for the event.

February 2017 Fundraiser[edit]

Islamophobia and Homophobia were documented at the Thursday 9 February Q Society fundraising dinner, with guest speaker Larry Pickering stating that "If they (Muslims) are in the same street as me, I start shaking."[10] and that "They are not all bad, they do chuck pillow-biters off buildings."[10][11] adding that "I can't stand Muslims".[10] The cartoonist also auctioned an overtly Islamophobic work depicting the rape of a woman in a niqab by her son-in-law.[10] Another Larry Pickering cartoon auctioned at the fundraiser depicted an Imam as a pig (in Islam the consumption of all pork products is considered haram or forbidden), being spit roasted, with a "halal certified" stamp on its rump. A case of wine called "72 Virgins" was also auctioned, along with a signed photograph of Dame Joan Sutherland.[10] Kirralie Smith has denied supporting Pickerings statements, however Smith has reiterated parts of the speech stating that "there are Muslims that actually do throw gays off buildings!"[12] In February 2017, Cory Bernardi and George Christensen attracted criticism for speaking at the Q Society of Australia. The event received protests who called the event racist.[13]

Guests and lecture tours[edit]

Ayaan Hirsi Ali[edit]

The group has voiced its support for Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her 2017 tour of Australia. Hirsi Ali was raised as a Muslim, and uses her own experiences to highlight the conditions of women in Muslim countries and around the world.[14] She travels with a bodyguard, and has said that "In no other modern religion is dissent still a crime, punishable by death".[15]

Gavin Boby[edit]

UK planning lawyer and anti-mosque campaigner Gavin Boby toured Australia as a guest of Q Society in late 2012. Boby is the director of the British Law and Freedom Foundation, an organisation which provides pro-bono legal assistance to people who oppose planning applications for mosques in their neighbourhood.[16]

Simon Deng[edit]

The Q Society supported lectures by Simon Deng, a Sudanese human rights activist living in the United States, and victim of child slavery.[9] In his homeland, Deng had been "abducted and given to an Arab family as a gift".[17] Deng's people were "forced to convert to Islam or die", and he suggests that people in the west have abandoned "victims of Arab/Islamic apartheid". [18]

Geert Wilders[edit]

The Q Society invited the Dutch politician Geert Wilders to tour Australia. Wilders opposes further Islamic immigration to the Netherlands. During August and September 2012, the Australian Government delayed the issue of a visa. One day after Wilders and Q Society eventually postponed the tour due to the ongoing uncertainty, the then Minister Chris Bowen MP (Labor) granted the visa to Wilders. The tour eventually took place in February 2013 with speaking events by Geert Wilders and Sam Solomon scheduled for 19 February in Melbourne, 20 February in Perth and 22 February in Sydney. The tour was overshadowed by a total of 30 venues refusing or cancelling bookings.[19]

The Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett (Liberal), stated Geert Wilders was not welcome in his State. Islamic leaders in Sydney and Melbourne recommended that these talks be ignored, so as to avoid or minimise the possibility of violent protests. An estimated 200 protestors including members of Socialist Alternative, picketed the Melbourne event.[20]

The El-Mouelhy defamation case[edit]

In 2015 the Q Society was involved in a defamation law suit over their claims that the Islamic certification industry is corrupt and funds "the push for sharia law in Australia". Legal proceedings against senior members of the Melbourne-based Q Society and Kirralie Smith, who runs the website HalalChoices, began after a speech was given at a Q Society event, that portrayed El-Mouelhy as "part of a conspiracy to destroy Western civilisation from within" and "reasonably suspected of providing financial support to terrorist organisations". El-Mouelhy claims he has been defamed in relation to the proceeds of halal certification.[21][21] This case has now been settled out of court.

In response to the claims made by Kirralie Smith and HalalChoices, officials from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission have stated that the commission has been on "heightened lookout" for links between halal certifiers and terrorism since the issue surfaced last year, but has "not found any direct linkages", an inquiry has heard. Furthermore, a Senate inquiry into food certification asserted that there was "no link" between the religious approval process and extremist groups.[22] It recommended that the federal government increase its oversight of domestic halal certifiers to address fraudulent conduct in the sector.[23] It said that it had heard, "credible reports suggesting that the lack of regulation has been unscrupulously exploited". In tabling the report, committee chairman Sam Dastyari said, "Some certifiers are nothing more than scammers."[24] The committee recommended a single halal certification authority.[24] The committee in recommending clearer labelling, specifically referred to the need for meat processors to label products sourced from animals subject to religious slaughter.[25]

As of 27 February 2017, as part of a settlement agreement, Kirralie Smith and the Q Society have publicly apologised and agreed to display notice of the settlement on their respective websites for one year. The case was settled out of court.[26][27][28]

Commentary and criticism[edit]

Critics of Q Society suggest the organisation is responsible for hate-mongering against Muslims,[29] describing Q Society as a modern example of 'organised intolerance'.[30] Citing the view that most Muslims have integrated successfully in Australian society, critics such as Sydney-based journalist and writer Sarah Malik have suggested that the activities of a comparatively small number of radicals and militants should not give rise to criticism of the Islamic religion.

The organisation has been critical of the proposal to construct a $3 million mosque and Islamic community centre in the rural Victorian centre of Bendigo.[31] Opponents of the mosque displayed anti-mosque information produced by Q Society at a meeting of the Bendigo City Council.[32] During council meetings Q Society distributed pamphlets that made numerous claims about mosques that included statements such as "A mosque is not like a church or a temple" and "(mosques) are a seat of government, a command centre, a court, and in some cases used as military training centres and arms depots".[33] State MP Jacinta Allan described the move as an attempt to divide the community, stating that "Bendigo has a proud history of tolerance and diversity dating back to the gold rush era, and we'll work hard to preserve and build upon it."[31]

Political affiliations[edit]

Several prominent members and supporters of Q Society are current or former members of the Liberal–National Coalition including Cory Bernardi, George Christensen, Angry Anderson and Ross Cameron.[34] Kirralie Smith and Debbie Robinson are members of the far-right political party Australian Liberty Alliance, Smith was a Senate Candidate for New South Wales[35] and Robinson is the president of Australian Liberty Alliance.[36] In May 2016 the party endorsed former National Party candidate Angry Anderson as a candidate for the Senate representing New South Wales at the 2016 federal election.[37][38]

On 7 April 2017, Kirralie Smith – a former candidate for the Australian Liberty Alliance and a member of the Q Society and Senate candidate for New South Wales in 2016—joined the Australian Conservatives.[39][40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Inside the far-right Q Society's explosive dinner, where Muslims are fair game". The Age. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "The Australian Liberty Alliance and the politics of Islamophobia". theconversation.com. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "Q Society of Australia Inc – Australia's Leading Islam-critical Organisation". qsociety.org.au. Retrieved 10 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Mysterious society steps out of the shadows for its big moment". news.com.au. 8 January 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Piotrowski, Daniel (26 June 2014). "Revealed: The secretive Q Society's battle against Islam". news.com.au. News Limited. Retrieved 2 June 2018. 
  6. ^ "Alma Road Community Centre" (PDF). Portphillip.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c "Fear, intolerance and a Muslim prayer group". The Age. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  8. ^ James Langton. "Life as an infidel". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Symposium on Liberty and Islam". Q Society of Australia Inc. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Inside the far-right Q Society's explosive dinner, where Muslims are fair game". The Age. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "LGBTI groups condemn homophobic comments at far-right Q Society meeting". The Guardian. 11 February 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  12. ^ Corporate or institutional Author (11 February 2017). "I do not incite hate speech I expose it". Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "Anti-Islam group Q Society dinner disrupted by protesters in Melbourne – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  14. ^ Riman, Iman (22 March 2017). "Muslim women protest Australian visit of anti-Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali | SBS Your Language". Sbs.com.au. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  15. ^ Callahan, Maureen (22 March 2015). "'In Islam, they are all rotten apples': Ex-Muslim's call for religion's reboot". New York Post. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  16. ^ Michael Safi. "UK 'mosque-buster' advising Bendigo residents opposed to Islamic centre". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  17. ^ "University of Pittsburgh's Black Action Society to Feature Speaker Simon Deng Feb. 18 | University of Pittsburgh News". News.pitt.edu. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  18. ^ "Slavery in Africa Is Alive, Well and Ignored | Diane Weber Bederman". HuffPost. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  19. ^ "Doors Slamming on Anti Islam MP". The Australian. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  20. ^ Fitzsimmons, Hamish (19 February 2013). "Clashes erupt outside Wilders' Melbourne speech". Lateline, ABC. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Safi, Michael (11 February 2015). "Anti-halal campaigner sued over claims Islamic certification supports terrorism". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  22. ^ Safi, Michael (24 February 2015). "No 'direct linkages' between halal certifiers and terrorism, inquiry hears". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  23. ^ Medhora, Shalailah (1 December 2015). "Overhaul 'lacklustre' halal certification to root out exploitation, report says". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  24. ^ a b Aston, Heath (2 December 2015). "'Nothing more than scammers': Senate committee calls for halal overhaul". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  25. ^ "Australian Senate Committee Inquiry Recommendations". APH. 1 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  26. ^ NSW (27 February 2017). "Halal certification defamation case against Kirralie Smith settled out of court". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  27. ^ Ben Doherty. "Halal certifier's defamation case against Kirralie Smith and Q Society settled out of court | Australia news". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  28. ^ https://uploads.guim.co.uk/2017/02/27/Settlement_Announcement.pdf
  29. ^ "Drawing the line at the Q Society". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  30. ^ "The Rise of Organised Intolerance". New Matilda. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  31. ^ a b Patrick, Hatch. "Q Society spreading anti-mosque message in Bendigo". The Age. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  32. ^ "Rural mosques – Bush Telegraph – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  33. ^ "Far-right group spreading anti-mosque message in Bendigo". theage.com. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  34. ^ "Events and Meetings". qsociety.org.au. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  35. ^ Corporate or institutional Author. "About Kirralie Smith". Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  36. ^ Corporate or institutional Author. "About Us". Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  37. ^ Boult, Adam (9 May 2016). "Anderson is now candidate for anti-Islamic political party". The Daily Telegraph. England. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  38. ^ McCabe, Kathy (6 May 2016). "Angry Anderson joins anti-Islam party to chase a Senate seat at the Federal election". Australia: news.com.au. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  39. ^ Federal Politics (8 April 2017). "Anti-halal leader Kirralie Smith joins Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  40. ^ "Kirralie Smith joins Australian Conservatives". Australian Conservatives. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 

External links[edit]