Australia

#Asamother: Australia 'ban Muslims' comment mocked on social media

Ms Kruger and a co-host David Campbell on the Today show Image copyright Nine Network
Image caption Talk show host Sonia Kruger has called for Australia to close its borders to Muslims

A TV presenter who called for a ban on Muslim migration to Australia has been widely mocked on social media.

Earlier this week, Sonia Kruger had told Today that after the Nice attack she would feel safer if the borders were closed to Muslims for a while.

She later said on Twitter she was concerned "as a mother" and that there should be open discussion of the issue.

The hashtag #asamother has since been trending in Australia, with many accusing her of racism.

Image copyright @charliepick
Image caption Comedian and TV host Charlie Pickering had one potentially useful suggestion

"#asamother I'd like to think I could leave a war-torn country and settle my children safely, somewhere else, without judgement," said one tweet.

"#AsAMother I hope to never teach my children how to hate and fear what is different," said another.

But Ms Kruger has also found support, both from people who agree and those who say she has the right to her opinion.

Immigration should 'stop now'

Ms Kruger, who presents TV shows The Voice and Today Extra, had said on Channel Nine's Today on Monday: "I want to feel safe, as all of our citizens do when they go out to celebrate Australia Day, and I'd like to see freedom of speech."

Image copyright @SoniaKruger

She argued that Japan has not experienced attacks by Islamist extremists because it has a low proportion of Muslim migrants.

"Personally, I would like to see [Muslim migration] stop now for Australia," she said.

The controversy intensified after she defended her views on Twitter, using her status as a parent.

"Following the atrocities of last week in Nice, where 10 children lost their lives, as a mother, I believe it's vital in a democratic society to be able to discuss these issues without being labelled racist."

Image copyright @sarahinthesen8
Image caption Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young was among those criticising the comments as "intolerant"
Image copyright @greensdawn
Image copyright @EmRusciano
Image copyright @lydia_shelly

Australia has a tough asylum policy, operating a points-based system for allowing people to resettle there.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the policy was "non-discriminatory" and "that is not going to change".

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, meanwhile, said the policy was "not about race or religion but if there is any inkling at all that a person may pose a threat to Australia, they won't be coming, because as we've seen in Europe we do have to make sure our system is the toughest in the world".

'Standing up'

Ms Kruger was defended by the founder of the anti-immigration One Nation party, Pauline Hanson, who was recently elected to the senate.

"Go, Sonia! I think it's great that someone is standing up, because she's expressed her feeling about it," she said on ABC's Q&A programme on Monday night.

Image copyright @KirralieS
Image caption Kirralie Smith, an Australian Liberty Alliance member, was one of the people supporting Sonia Kruger

On Tuesday, Ms Kruger defend her comments on Today Extra, though acknowledged they were "extreme".

But she said Australia must "be able to discuss" the problem of terror attacks.

"I saw the image of a baby covered in a plastic sheet, with a doll lying beside her, and it rocked me to the very core," she said in an emotional, scripted statement.

"I imagined what that must have been like for the people of Nice, for the friends and families of the lost and the thought that it could happen here terrifies me."

The Nine Network, which employs Ms Kruger, resisted calls for her to apologise, saying: "Our view is that we believe in freedom of speech."

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