Anti-Islam group seeks to expand

In Australia now, the anti-Islamic Australian Defence League is trying to expand its support base, particularly through social media.

A group against Islam and Islamic immigration. We are against those who worship a so-called Prophet (who) in his own words, raped, murdered, enslaved people and worse. He was a coward and a paedophile.

That is how the Australian Defence League describes itself on its Facebook page.

The League goes on to say it is motivated by what it calls a love of country, promoting democracy and the rule of law, which it says it does by opposing sharia law.

And it says a central part of its mission is to ensure the public gets a balanced picture of Islam, claiming the political and media establishment offers a sanitised and inaccurate view.

Almost by default, because its name stems from the better-known English Defence League that has led anti-Islam rallies in Britain, the Australian Defence League is the face of Australian ultranationalism.

But is the Australian Defence League merely a Facebook presence?

Or is it a body that, like the English Defence League, could mount a presence on the streets?

Professor Greg Barton, from Monash University’s Global Terrorism Research Centre, suggests the answer lies somewhere in between — via

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