Anti-Islam group storms church in Australia to mock Muslims

Far-right protesters dressed in Muslim attire and chanting anti-Islam slogans interrupt sermon held at Gosford Anglican Church in Australia.

Photo by: Facebook
Photo by: Facebook

Picture posted by Party for Freedom on its facebook page shows a group of anti-Islam protesters who stormed Gosford Anglican Church in Australia.

Australia's far-right Party for Freedom group stormed a sermon being held at the Gosford Anglican Church in New South Wales on Sunday.

Videos posted online showed a group of about 10 people dressed in Muslim attire entering the church and pretending to pray.

The organisers said that the demonstration was a response to the church’s support for Muslim leaders and refugees.

"We want to share Islam with you, this is the future," one of the protesters said.

"We just went into Father Rod Bower's church and let him know we're not happy with his… nonsense about sponsoring Islam and multiculturalism," said another protester.

The Gosford Anglican Church is known for its positive stance on migrants. It is one of the Australian churches offering “sanctuary” to asylum seekers being held in Australia’s Nauru detention camp.

Father Rod Bower said "[The protest] was simply because we support the Muslim community, we try and build bridges."

"To come into sacred space, to violate that space as Christians were celebrating the ultimate act of love to bring hate into that space is a deep violation. It just galvanises our conviction."

People also took to social media sharing their feelings about the protest.

Party for Freedom leader Nick Folkes said he believes in freedom of speech but believes that Islam is "anti-democratic and anti-freedom and has no place in Australia.”

“There is too much Muslim immigration. I believe Muslim and other third world immigration should be restricted," he told Daily Mail Australia.

“We held the protest at Rod's church to challenge his promotion and support of Islam. Rod's promotion of Islam and Muslim immigration is anti-Christian, and anti-Australian,” he said.

“Criticising Islam or any religion is valid. The ethnic lobbies and multiculturalists are ‘totalitarian’ calling for more more laws restricting freedom of speech.”

The Party for Freedom is believed to have ties to Australian Senator Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, which also has an anti-immigration policy.

Hanson features in many pictures on the group's website and Facebook pages. She and Folkes even have a picture together.

Keysar Trad, the president of Australia's top Muslim body, Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, has called on Hanson to condemn the incident which he said “caused a lot of angst for a lot of people.”

However, a statement released by One Nation said the party has no official affiliation with the organisers of the protest.

TRTWorld and agencies