SYDNEY– Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday said moves were underway to ban "race hate" preachers from entering the country to prevent them peddling "alien and extremist" ideologies.
The move was prompted by radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir planning a public lecture in Sydney on Friday entitled "The War to End a Blessed Revolution" about the US-led military action in Iraq and Syria.
Abbott said anyone who wanted to stir up trouble was not welcome in Australia.
"Over the years there have been all sorts of people come into this country to cause trouble, to make a nuisance of themselves, to stir up Australian against Australian and as far as I am concerned, this will stop," he said.
"I say to people who want to come to this country from overseas to peddle their extremist ideology, to divide Australian from Australian, to give implicit, if not explicit support for terrorism, don't bother applying".
Abbott said there needed to be better coordination between security agencies and the immigration department to identify who might fall into this category.
Immigration officials "can tag them should they apply for a visa, and it can refuse visas to people who are coming to this country to peddle extreme and alien ideologies," he added.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in many countries but not Australia.
New laws to be introduced before the end of the year will make it illegal to promote terrorism in Australia and Abbott said the government would "have another look at Hizb ut-Tahrir" when the laws come into effect.
The group's lecture on Friday will accuse the US of attacking the "noble Syrian revolution" by entering Iraq, according to a brochure for the event.
"America has initiated yet another war, rounding up its puppets and allies to attack the Syrian revolution, while using intervention in Iraq as a convenient excuse," it said.
"How should Muslims respond as America attacks the most potent uprising in the Muslim world in the last century, the revolution of Syria?"
The United States is leading an international coalition in a mission to suppress the activities of the Islamic State group. Australia has begun air combat missions in Iraq but is yet to drop any bombs.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, which describes itself as a "political party whose ideology is Islam," has a long history in Australia and earlier this year was forced to cancel a talk at the Sydney Opera House on whether honour killings can be morally justified after public outrage. Spokesman Uthman Badar accused Abbott of trying to silence political dissent.
"We have long exposed government attempts to silence dissent against its unjust and brutal foreign policies," he said.
No international speakers would attend Friday's lecture, he added. — AFP