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Nationals MP pledges to go ahead with speech to Reclaim Australia rally

Member for Dawson George Christensen enters Parliament in Canberra with Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen.Queensland political figures George Christensen and Pauline Hanson will attend Reclaim Australia rallies in Queensland today.
Nanjing Night Net

But outspoken Mackay MP Mr Christensen has told Fairfax Media that if protesters refuse to pull down anti-racist or anti-Islamic signs in Mackay he will leave the rally.

In Melbourne on Saturday rival protest groups turned the right-wing Reclaim Australia rally into a seething public mess.

Other Reclaim Australia rallies are planned for Brisbane and on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts on Sunday and police have quietly increased their profile at each event.

Mr Christensen, the National Party’s MP for the seat of Dawson, said he was satisfied he knew enough about Reclaim Australia to accept the invitation to speak.

“I know a fair few of these constituents,” Mr Christensen said.

“One of the other guys who is going to speak there earlier this year organised a major charity toy drive for kids out west.”

He said he had asked organisers exactly what the rally was opposed to before agreeing to speak.

“What the main group (Reclaim Australia) is protesting against is extreme Islam and the ideology of extreme Islam,” Mr Christensen said.

Mr Christensen said he understands his decision to speak at the rally as a politician may draw trouble.

“Obviously it has crossed my mind that we might get ratbags there that might want to hold up placards that say ‘Deport Muslims’ or ‘Down with Muslims’ or whatever,” he said.

“My view is that if those signs are there I will tell them privately to remove those signs, or I go,” he said.

Mr Christensen said the Reclaim Australia rally organisers in Mackay had told him the Sunday rally was not a rally against Islam.

“It’s a rally against radical Islam – and anyone that comes in holding up signs that are racist or just pointedly anti-Islam – and not anti-radical Islam – will be asked to take those signs down by the organisers.”

“I will publicly tell them that – because the organisers have told me – when I asked them, if it was rally against Islam – and they said no.

“My message is going to be one against radical Islam.

“So in this whole thing, some people are deaf to the word ‘radical’,” he said.

“All they are hearing is that I am going to something that is against Islam and I have to say that is not what I am doing and that is not what these people are protesting against.”

“My message is that we need to be proud of our Australian heritage and the ways that emanate from that,” Mr Christensen said.

“Which are basically western values – freedom – including the freedom of religion,” he said.

“And I am going to make the point that everyone has the rights to his or her own religious beliefs.”

“And in this country a citizen of the Muslim faith is entitled to the view without fear of intimidation, or any sort of threats.”

However Ali Kadri, spokesman for the Islamic Council for Queensland, said he believed bigots and racists were part of the Reclaim Australia organisation.

He said he had spoken with Muslim leaders in Mackay who had told him Muslims were criticised by some people in Mackay.

“I personally believe that there are certain elements of bigotry and extreme right-wing people involved in the Reclaim Australia movement,” Mr Kadri said.

Mr Kadri said he believed this was true because of the “rhetoric coming from their Facebook page.”

‘If you go to their Facebook page, they lump all the Muslims together,” he said.

“They claim they are rallying for religious freedom, yet they ask to stifle the religious freedoms of Muslims.

“They say they are patriots but they go against the values of Australia itself, which is freedom of choice and freedom of religion.”

“There is a lot of irony in their statements and their actions.”

Meanwhile, One Nation founder Pauline Hanson, intends to take part in a Rockhampton rally as part of her “Fed Up” tour.

“(Reclaim) is people like myself saying to our politicians I’m sick and tired of where you have us headed,” she said on her official Facebook page.

“It is about being an Australian, being proud of who you are and to maintain our culture, way of life and laws.”

Queensland Reclaim Australia rallies are planned for the Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast.

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