By Rekha Bhattacharjee,
Sydney : Australian Senator Fraser Anning on Wednesday compared Muslims with “poisonous jelly beans”, following his “racist” maiden speech in the Senate seeking immigration restrictions based on race.
Anning, from the conservative Katter’s Australian Party, advocated a return to White Australia policy and called for migration bans on Muslims in his speech in Parliament on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joined other politicians and community leaders in criticizing the Queensland Senator for suggesting a “final solution” (the phrase that refers to a plan hatched by Nazis to annihilate the Jews) to the immigration “problem”.
Turnbull said Anning made “a shocking insult to the memory” of those murdered in the Holocaust.
Following his controversial speech, Anning targeted Muslims once again in an interview to a Sydney talkback radio.
“Look, if you can tell me which ones are not going to cause us harm, then fine, that’d be great. But unfortunately if you have a jar of jelly beans and three of them are poisonous, you’re not going to try any of them,” he told Alan Jones of radio 2GB, while referring to Muslims.
Anning insisted that Muslims should be stopped from entering Australia. “I’m afraid that the Muslims, as a group, there’s going to be three or four or five per cent that are going to mean us harm.
“Because I can’t tell who’s who, I think the safest thing for Australians is that we don’t have any of them,” he said.
Earlier in his Parliament speech, Anning said: “The record of Muslims who have already come to this country in rates of crime, welfare dependency and terrorism is the worst of any migrants and vastly exceeds any other immigrant groups.
“We have black African Muslim gangs terrorising Melbourne. We have Islamic State-sympathizing Muslims trying to go overseas to fight for it. While all Muslims are not terrorists, certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims,” he said while urging for a plebiscite to decide who enters Australia.
Several Australian parliamentarians denounced the speech as “disgraceful” and called on Anning to apologize for his choice of words.
Muslim MP Anne Aly said that the Queensland Senator deliberately used “neo-Nazi, white supremacist terminology”.
“That was a deliberate use of a heinous word that brings back so many painful memories and sets a precedent for the future of our country that we need to stand up and stop it,” said a tearful Aly in Parliament.
“I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of having to stand up against hate, against vilification, time and time again.”
Besides Muslims, Anning also targeted international students as he asked for an “end to Australian-job-stealing 457 visas” and “force international students to return to their country of origin once they finish their education”.
He also sought the number of student visas to be cut drastically. India is the second largest source of international students after China.
(Rekha Bhattacharjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)