Three members of a right-wing group in Australia attempted to enter Australia’s Parliament House dressed in a Klu Klux Klan hood, a motorcycle helmet and a niqab on Monday. The men were asked by security to remove their head coverings and entered the building’s front hall.
Sergio Redegalli, Nick Folkes and Victor Waterson belong to the group Faceless, which has staged similar protests against multiculturalism in the country. The latest stunt was meant to protest the new security measure at Australia’s Parliament House, where individuals wearing head covering will be asked to check their identity before entering the building. This protocol comes after the removal of a controversial ban in which women wearing burqas were required to sit in a separate room to watch government proceedings.
“It seems you're allowed to wear a full face covering into Parliament if you're a Muslim woman but no other group is allowed to have that same privilege," Redegalli said outside of the parliament building in Canberra. The three men say Islam’s "political ideology" is "contrary" to Australian beliefs.
According to the Department of Parliamentary Services, “protest paraphernalia” is not permitted inside Parliament House. There has also been a longstanding ban of helmets for security reasons.
The protest, which was aired on TV, has also been circulated online. Social media users have expressed outrage -- both at the stunt’s message and the media coverage as a whole.
Wait, that KKK dude had a ponytail? Why are people not talking about the ponytail? pic.twitter.com/g8rDKDIzal
— Michael J. Roddan (@MichaelRoddan) October 27, 2014
— Matt Young (@MattYoung) October 27, 2014
“White Anglo men appear at parliament of white Anglo men in country owned by white Anglo men, seen in media run by white Anglo men, to talk about how they're being oppressed,” Facebook user Brendan Carson wrote.
“Wow. What brave and courageous men they are to victimize and ridicule women who are already so maligned,” Simon McGuigan wrote in a Facebook post.
“We should have an 'international bigots day' in honour of these three morons,” Facebook user Alliso Meekis wrote.
“A true test would be to make them wear them while outside for a couple of days -- then they might experience what Muslim women are feeling today,” Deb Carrol wrote.
“So wearing a burqa is "unAustralian," but wearing a KKK mask is not. Says a lot.” Sarah Reilly wrote.
Anti-Muslim sentiment has been pervasive in Australia for months. In September, the country raised its terror alert level to “high” due to the increasing number of jihadists from Australia being recruited to fight for the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. An estimated 60 Australians are believed to have been fighting with the terror group. Around 100 facilitators are in the country. Police raids in Sydney and Brisbane resulted in authorities capturing terrorism cells.
This isn’t the first time Faceless members have staged anti-Muslim protests. In 2010, Redegalli painted a “say no to burqas” mural outside his studio in response to two failed attempts by the country’s Christian Democratic Party MP Fred Nile to have a bill banning burqas and other face coverings in public.