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Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Australian Visa laws 'unfair' to muslims

Heightened Visa Checks are causing accusations of profiling.

Mark Dunn, July 18, 2007 12:00am

NEW laws that demand Arabs seeking visa entry into Australia provide the names of their parents and grandfather hint at racial and religious profiling, according to a leading Islamic group.

"It would be pretty naive to think there is no religious profiling going on (with visa applicants), even if it's not officially recognised," said the Islamic Council of Victoria's spokesman, Waleed Aly.

Australian security agencies had asked for the new regulations that require extra personal information from Arabic visa applicants to include the names of their parents and grandfather.

Other visa applicants, including those from China and Russia, are also being required to provide additional information about the spelling of names and ancestral names before being granted entry to Australia.

The Federal Government has insisted there is no racial or religious profiling in Australia's immigration programs.

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews' spokeswoman said the changes would help in the proper identification of applicants and their character.

"The question that has been included in the new form (about Arabic grandfathers) is designed to enable more accurate and higher-quality identification of visa applicants," she said.

But Mr Aly said his own experiences had shown him racial and religious characteristics were focused on by border officials.

Mr Aly said despite random searches being conducted at Australian airports, he had become used to always being stopped and questioned, and that many Australian Muslims knew that they would come under special attention, especially at airports.

"They disproportionately focus on people who are Muslim or who appear to be Muslim," he said.

All visa applicants aged 16 and older wanting to visit Australia must fill out a character assessment form, which identifies their siblings and parents.

But regulations brought in this year require Arabic, Chinese and Russian visa applicants to provide extra detail.

For Russian citizens they must include their patronymic or ancestral name, and Chinese applicants must provide their name in commercial code numbers, which relates to Chinese characters, and in English.

Bagelblogger: What a joke. The simple fact is in addressing the serious problem of Terrorism you need to rationalise your resources. The cold hard truth is its far more likely for a potential terrorist to be Muslim than any other religion. To ignore such statistics is simply foolhardy to say the least. Denial of this is 'PC' madness.

If Muslims resent the extra attention that this brings to their travel plans and lives then there really is a simple solution. Ensure that within their sub culture it becomes unacceptable to be a terrorist and kill innocent people.
When there is a major shift in attitudes within the Muslim community then the probability of a Terrorist being Muslim will be diminished and hence the limited resources government agencies do have will be directed in more appropriate demographic groups.

Don't complain to the government, complain within your own culture which promotes and advances acceptable notions towards terrorist acts.

With the penchant for actively voicing concerns within the Muslim community at perceived injustices, a valid question arises; when was the last mass Muslim protest against Islamic terrorism rather than the usual orchestrated self serving protest at infringed rights?

Herald Sun: Visa laws 'unfair' to muslims

Picture Credit: ABC


Mike said...

I had a girl friend i like to meet her i just waiting for Australian visa for about 2 months........

Anonymous said...

I am Saudi and I received my visiting visa in three weeks. I admit that regulations and required documents might seem somewhat exaggerated, but the overall process looks pretty fair.