Brisbane mosques are on high alert after the Holland Park mosque was vandalised with spray-painted right-wing symbols and a reference to the Christchurch shooter.
- The Holland Park mosque was graffitied with reference to Brenton Tarrant
- Queensland Police confirmed they were investigating an incident of “wilful damage” at the mosque.
- Holland Park mosque president Ali Kadri said more needs to be done in the fight against neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideology
Among the symbols plastered on the exterior walls was a Nazi swastika and the words “St Tarrant” and “Remove Kebabs”.
Holland Park mosque president, Ali Kadri, said he was devastated but not surprised by the attack.
“Obviously St Tarrant is a reference to Brenton Tarrant, the terrorist who killed people in Christchurch,” Mr Kadri said.
“And ‘Remove Kebabs’ was written on his gun when he was shooting people at the mosques.”
Queensland Police confirmed they were investigating an incident of “wilful damage” at the mosque.
Labor MPs Terri Butler — who represents the Brisbane electorate of Griffith — and opposition multicultural affairs spokesperson Andrew Giles released a joint statement condemning the graffiti.
“The hateful and divisive vandalism at the Holland Park mosque this morning was bigoted, disgusting and unacceptable. Labor stands with the Islamic community against such vile conduct,” they said.
“The Brisbane southside community is close-knit and caring. The mosque is a part of that community, having been there for more than a century. The support from locals vastly exceeds the ill-intent demonstrated by the coward who committed this act of vandalism.”
A ‘regular occurrence’
Mr Kadri said vandalism was a “regular occurrence”, which meant the mosques always had additional security on site during prayers.
“We’re never lazy about the security of the mosque because we always get reminded that there are some people who are highly radicalised and extremist,” he said.
“If theses messages are not at the mosques or through vandalism, then there are plenty of social media posts and comments which are threatening — and hate speech.”
The date being September 11, the 18th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre, was also not lost on Mr Kadri who, said hate speech spiked on days of cultural significance.
“Around these kind of days there are more incidents,” he said.
“Even on the streets you hear people hurling abuse so there’s a lot more incidents around whether it’s September 11 or an anniversary of the mosque attack in Christchurch or any such significant events you see a spike in hate crime.”
It ‘is not just words anymore’
Mr Kadri is calling for white supremacy and extremism to be taken more seriously.
“We’ve made a concentrated effort to denounce and fight against ISIS ideology and I think we need to do a similar thing against neo-Nazi and white supremist ideology,” he said.
“We need to take it seriously. It has a potential to cause more damage and divide our community and divide our country so as a nation we need to take it more seriously than it is.
“Last week I was informed about an incident about a Syrian refugee who came to Australia two years ago and was drawing a Syrian flag. This 15- or 16-year-old kid was drawing a Syrian flag and the principal reported him to the National Security Hotline as a terrorist.
“Queensland police went to his house and questioned him, after knowing he was just drawing a Syrian flag.
“I don’t think similar kind of seriousness is given to neo-Nazi or white supremacist or people who might be radicalised by this kind of ideals and ideology.”
Brenton Tarrant pleaded not guilty to 51 charges of murder, 41 attempted murder charges and one count of engaging in a terrorist attack over the Christchurch shooting.
“People are afraid for their safety and their children. The mosque is a community centre, people come here with family and children. After Christchurch, the fear is real, this is not just words anymore,” Mr Kadri said.