Democratic Labor Party Senate team leader from Queensland, is angry that Australia is welcoming a Muslim musician who advocated the burning to death of author Salman Rushdie commence a concert tour of Australia.
Democratic Labor Party (DLP) member Tony Zegenhagen is the latest public figure in Australia which has questioned the federal Government’s decision to issue a Visa to the Muslim entertainer.
In a Press Release from his Queensland Office, Mr Zegenhagen said,
Yusuf Islam is not welcome in Queensland and should not have received an Australian visa. Australia is welcoming a Muslim musician who advocated the burning to death of author Salman Rushdie
The author referred to by Mr Zegenhagen is, Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, is a British author whose 1988 book The Satanic Verses was perceived to depict the prophet Muhammad in an irreverent manner by the Muslim community. In 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a death threat against Mr Rushdie in the form of a Muslim Fatwa.
Mr Rushdie spent many years in protective custody and survived assassination attempts.
Mr Zegenhagen’s comments follow similar concerns voiced by Democratic Labour Member of Parliament from the State of Victoria, Peter Kavanough, who earlier this week stated that the entertainer should be barred from entering Australia.
According to a report by Fairfax news, Mr Kavanough believes Yusuf Islam should publicly state that the Muslim Entertainer does not support the killing of someone who expresses their views.
In the Press Release, Mr Zegenhagen further stated,
Queensland does not need a visit from any advocate of extremist violence.
Unless and until this man recants his wicked support for murder, he should never be allowed in Australia. Yusuf Islam is not welcome in Queensland and should not have received an Australian visa.
We are fortunate that the entertainment industry offers a very
wide selection of artists who represent good role models. A bigot like Yusuf Islam is not among
Instead of attending a Yusuf Islam concert, I encourage all
Queenslanders to spend their money on entertainers who share our respect for freedom of speech and human life.
From Victoria Mr Kavanagh wrote to Immigration Minister Chris Evans saying he should refuse Yusuf a visa.
He said that Salman Rushdie should be killed, Mr Kavanagh says.
He (Yusuf Islam) later said that he was just expressing the Islamic law, not his own views.
He said he would like to see Salman Rushdie burned, and not just an effigy of him.
Yusuf has denied calling for The Satanic Verses author's death or supporting the fatwa issued by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989.
If Australia stands for anything, we stand for freedom of expression and democracy and the peaceful resolution of differences Mr Kavanagh says.
If someone wants to come here and make a lot of money, like Mr Yusuf does, then they should be required to denounce threats against people on the basis of their opinion.
A copy of the Press Release and further information on the Democratic Liberal Party can be viewed here.
Yusuf is scheduled to perform in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane in June 2010.