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Friday, 14 September, 2001, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Mosque attacked in Australia
Australians newspapers
Muslims fear a backlash over Tuesday's attack
Australian police are hunting a white male suspect after an attack on a mosque in the wake of Tuesday's attacks on New York and Washington.

This is un-Australian and denies people a fair go

Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock
Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the building in the eastern city of Brisbane, causing minor damage and no injuries.

Australian church leaders called for tolerance amid growing fears of a backlash against the Muslim community as investigations into the attacks on New York and Washington focus on Islamic extremists.

In separate incidents:

  • Islamic groups have reported that a bus filled with Muslim schoolchildren was stoned in Melbourne.

  • A mosque in Western Australia has reportedly been smeared with excrement

  • Muslim women have had their veils ripped off

  • Members of the Sikh community - whose males traditionally wear turbans and long flowing beards - have been spat on and verbally abused.

Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock on Friday urged Australians not to target any group of people for what happened in the United States.

"It is important that we avoid the trap of imputing blame to innocent people," he said.

He said abusive language and intimidation played into the hands of people like terrorists who do not share civilised democratic values.

Asylum issue

Feelings have already been running high in Australia over a sharp increase in the numbers of refugees seeking to enter Australia illegally.

HMAS Manoora
HMAS Manoora has more than 600 refugees aboard
The government is currently appealing over a court ruling that it was wrong to detain a group of more than 400 Afghan asylum seekers last month.

The government argues that it has the right to prevent people from entering Australian territory illegally.

Its hard-line stance has popular public support.

The refugees along with another large group rescued at sea, are being transported on board the troopship HMAS Manoora to the Pacific island nation of Nauru where their fate will be decided.

See also:

12 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia appeals against ship ruling
09 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia talks tough on migrants
04 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia voters back PM over refugees
03 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia ships out Afghan refugees
31 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia's migrant policy under fire
03 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Nauru
03 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Nauru
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