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Wilders warns Australia of 'dangerous' Islam

Police break up a protest in Melbourne against the visit of controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2013 23:57
Police horses were brought to the Melbourne venue as protesters attempted to block the entrance [EPA]

Protesters have scuffled with police in Melbourne during a visit to Australia by the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Mounted police restored order as scuffles broke out outside a venue where Wilders was speaking on Tuesday, but authorities said on Wednesday that no arrests were made.

A group of around 40 demonstrators blocked the gate to a function centre where Wilders made his speech, in which he said he was giving Australia a warning about "the true nature of Islam".

During his address, which won him a standing ovation from the audience, Wilders said Islam was "not just a religion".

"It's primarily a dangerous and totalitarian ideology," he said.

Wilders also said that he was there to warn Australians that "what is happening in my native country, the Netherlands, that that might soon happen in Australia, too, if you fail to be vigilant".

He added that action should be taken to defend traditional Australian values and freedom of speech, urging his audience to demand "that immigrants accept Australia's values and not the other way around anymore".

According to the right-wing MP, the Islamic religion is incompatible with freedom.

'Hateful speech'

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has urged people to ignore the Dutchman while the Islamic Council of Victoria said it trusted the community would "see through his hateful speech and dismiss it for the empty rhetoric that it is".

But Wilders insisted that he was not attempting to incite violence or insult people during his visit.

The MP is due to speak in Sydney on Friday, but an event in the western city of Perth has been cancelled after a venue could not be found to host the politician.

Wilders was acquitted by a Dutch court in June of 2011 of charges that he was inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

He had described Islam as a "fascist ideology", comparing the Quran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. 

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