ABC news reports that "Police and ASIO are scrambling to defuse serious tensions between Australian far-right groups and Islamist extremists, which have reached unprecedented heights in recent weeks with death threats and an apparent attempted murder." The Australian Defence League (ADL) is an offshoot of the English Defence League (EDL) which is known for stirring up anti-Muslim hatred and violence. One of its leaders, Ralph Cerminara told the ABC that the group's aim was to have Islam banned and to "defend Australia's culture and Australia's people at all costs". On facebook he said: "I am calling for the end of Islam in our country and hopefully the world. If Muslims have to die then so be it. It is us against them."
ABC News reports that another leader of the group, Nathan Abela, claims he "commando-rolled through his living room to avoid being hit by up to eight bullets fired into his home late on April 3."
Police believe the shooting was part of a backlash against the ADL "who have been stalking and photographing Muslim women on public transport, spraying invective at Muslims on Sydney streets and on social media, displaying anti-Islamic posters outside mosques and even threatening to blow up an Islamic school."
The difference between this group and people like Geert Wilders is that they aim at the individuals who believe their religion's weird ideas instead of at the religion itself which is where the problem originates. It seems that more Muslims than Christians are unwilling to customize their beliefs to reject the calls to violence but Muslim violent weirdos are still a minority. However, Muslim behaviour is generating a fierce backlash amongst this Australian group - the ADL.
In recent weeks, Cerminara ratcheted up tensions with Sydney's Muslim community, urging ADL followers to take photographs of Muslim women in public and post them online. Several women in hijabs and burqas discovered they had been followed, photographed and subjected to ridicule on Facebook.
A mother of three who was photographed on the morning train to work and then humiliated in a series of vile Facebook posts told ABC news that she has been forced to take stress leave from work and seek counselling for panic attacks.
Cerminara makes no apologies for the personal attacks and public ridicule, telling ABC News: "If that's the way it has to happen, then so be it".
"They are putting that hijab on themselves, the same as a person would be putting a satanic star around their neck," he said. "We know what they stand for by putting that on."
But Australia's Grand Mufti, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, says the ADL is trying to "explode society". "They deal with the most precious thing a human being has and that is his beliefs." (Hey it's his quote, not mine).
It was a video posted by Nathan Abela and filmed at Australia's biggest Islamic school at Greenacre that rattled the Muslim community and caused police to alert the NSW counter-terrorism squad and ASIO. In the video posted on YouTube and Facebook, Abela accused the Melek Fahd Islamic School of locking up women. The ADL's Facebook followers suggested the school was a terrorist safe house that should be bombed or burned down.
But if you attack a group like Muslims, their militant members will respond with violence. Just days before the shooting at Nathan Abela, a Sydney man known as Abu Bakr posted a video on YouTube accusing Abela of "making yourself a clear target for the Muslims out there". "Either you will accept Islam as your salvation, or you will die by the sword," he said in the video, which has since been removed. What did the ADL expect. Looks like they want to star a civil war.
Police are investigating the shooting and continuing death threats against Abela and Cerminara, but have been under pressure from the Muslim community to take action against the Australian Defence League.
The Royal Australian Navy has carried out a separate investigation into the Australian Defence League after reports emerged that some sailors engaged in Operation Sovereign Borders had been posting anti-Islamic comments on social media.
One Navy member who was under investigation had responded to a Facebook post critical of asylum seekers, from someone who claimed to be an ADL member, that he was "about to head out today to deal with these f-----s".
The Navy announced this month that while none of its serving personnel had been found to be members of the ADL, several sailors had been dismissed for inappropriate use of social media.
Thanks to ABC News for this report. (ABC is the Australian Broadcasting Commission. ASIO is Australia's equivalent of the CIA)