Far Right groups have jumped on the bank wagon of anti-African sentiment. Some are expressing it as anti-refugee sentiment, other as pure racism against people with dark skin, while a third group seek to present it as another version of “Muslim extremism”. Here’s a few examples of what we’ve seen:
Case 1: Racism
The Reclaim Australia Rally WA page shared a post by one of their supporters. The original post linked to an article from the Australian which explains how de-radicalisation programs for African youth are being planned based on existing radicalisation programs created for those at risk of being recruited into terrorism by the likes of ISIS. The original poster writes about “horrific Sudanese gang violence and crime” claiming the effort has nothing to do with preventing crime, but is instead to brain wash the public into thinking such crime is normal.
In sharing the post, reclaim Australia adds a link to a page calling for the Grand Mufti of Australia, the leading Muslim religious figure in the country, to be deported. It includes the hash tag #Melbourneisnoshithole, a coded racist message based on the far-right racial slur calling people of colour “poo people”.
Case 2: anti-refugee
The main Reclaim Australia page meanwhile has an article from the UK’s Daily Mail about a Sudanese mother who says she is considering leaving Australia as she can’t control her teenage sons. As the full article explains, she is from Brisbane (not Melbourne) and one of her sons is in jail after becoming part of the Apex gang. She felt with family around, back in Sudan, her it would be easier to keep her other children out of trouble. Reclaim Australia’s comment advocates sending them back to Sudan to save on welfare payments. It was liked 1,500 times and shared 355 times.
Responses to the post include a call for forced sterilisation of refugees, with one supporter writing “Sterilise these vermin”.
Another person comments seeks to dehumanise refugees writing, “Multiple fathers, they don’t get married just live like animals supported by aussie tax payers and leftard government”. Given social services is a Federal Government responsibility, the person also clearly considers the Liberal-National Coalition to be left-wing compared to the posters own politics.
Another thread that received 147 likes from other supporters of reclaim Australia suggests raising money to send “her and her tribe back to the turd world”. The comment is racist derogatory. The comments in response supposed sending them by raft, providing cement life vests, or using a plane with only enough fuel to get half way. These reclaim supporters don’t just want to see refugees leave Australia, they want to see them come to harm.
Case 3: a narrative inspiring vigilante action
Another post sharing a Daily Mail article with the headline “Melbourne family flee interstate to escape African gang violence” received 624 likes and 148 shares. The article discusses one family who are moving interstate after a house burglary, attempted break and enter and three attempted carjackings.
A comment liked by 41 people reads “Our leaders disarmed this country for a reason, and it wasn’t to protect , it was with the intent for us to be taken over, and so it begins”.
Another writes “Civil war is coming to Australia, thanks to these thugs that our government allowed into our once great society!” and receives 22 likes.
52 likes are give to a comment saying “Won’t be long before we see another Cronulla , but tenfold worse”.
Case 4: The Anti-Muslim narrative
There there was the Twitter post by Amy Mek, a US based account with over 200,000 followers, which during the Flinders St incident in December tweeted: “‘Refugee’ Enrichment in Australia. More than 200 African Jihadi Terrorists at a St Kilda beach, in the Muslim ‘No Go Zone’ of Melbourne attacked & robbed kids, adults & stores. Father of teen who was brutally beaten: ‘They left him half-nude on the street’ #FridayFeeling #RAIR”. A video from 7 News from a week early was posted to support this. The Amy Mek account, which as we explained in our Flinder St report, does not appear to be connected to a real person and seem to be part of a team effort, possibly state run, to influence international events involving the last US election. In this instance the aim is clearly to use the African youth violence problem as part of a large anti-Muslim narrative.
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Update: You may also like to see our article on “Australia Day, African Youth and the Far-Right”
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