TV blamed for poor turnout

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JES­SICA MARSZALEK CHAR­LIE PEEL

DAW­SON MP Ge­orge Christensen claims the low num­ber of at­ten­dees at Re­claim Aus­tralia ral­lies in Townsville and Mackay was be­cause of in­tim­i­da­tion.

About 50 protesters were at Satur­day’s rally in Townsville and about 200 in Mackay yesterday.

“I think some peo­ple might have shied away be­cause of the scenes of vi­o­lence on TV and the con­fronting im­ages on the news,” Mr Christensen said.

Mackay- based Mr Christensen at­tended the Mackay rally at which plac­ards called Is­lam “rot­ten”, claimed halal foods funded ter­ror­ism and said Is­lam rep­re­sented child brides, ter­ror­ism and pae­dophiles.

The Coali­tion MP de­scribed the rally as peace­ful, with only a few heated ex­changes be­tween op­pos­ing groups. There were about 40 mem­bers in the counter- rally group.

Mr Christensen said de­spite the low turnout “the ma­jor­ity of the com­mu­nity are against rad­i­cal Is­lam”.

“If not, they’ve got a prob­lem on their hands,” he said.

De­spite ear­lier say­ing he would leave the event if there were any anti- Is­lam plac­ards on dis­play, Mr Christensen ad­dressed the crowd to call for them not to sur­ren­der the Aus­tralian cul­ture and lifestyle “to those who hate us for what we are and what we stand for”.

He said the threat of “Is­lamism” – which he de­scribed as a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem un­der which ev­ery­thing must fit un­der the laws of rad­i­cal Is­lam – was a “threat that is within our midst”.

“The spread of re­pres­sive ide­olo­gies un­der our very noses right here in our own coun­try has al­ready be­gun,” he said.

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