When Australia’s newest far-right party announced its name to the world for the first time, critics of its hard-line, anti-Muslim stance couldn’t help but have a chuckle.
The Australian Liberty Alliance boasts a number of high(ish) profile anti-Muslim candidates, which it is hoping to propel into the Senate on July 2. Among them are Kirralie Smith, a major mover and shaker in the anti-halal movement, and Bernard Gaynor, a former Katter’s Australia Party candidate who famously said he wouldn’t want a “gay person” teaching his child. Rounding out the crew is Debbie Robinson, who has long railed against the ‘Islamisation’ of Australia at far-right lobby group Q Society.
When this merry band of bigots got together in 2015, they lured Dutch anti-Muslim guru Geert Wilders to launch their campaign, and garnered quite a bit of media attention.
But every time the party pops up, people keep asking the same question – so much so that they have now been forced to explain themselves.
Why would you call an anti-Muslim party ‘Allah’?
Just as Australian Labor Party is reduced to ALP, and theLiberal National Party becomes LNP, so the Australian Liberty Alliance has been formally registered as the ‘ALA’.
Was this a move of provocation? Have Muslims infiltrated the party?!?
No, says the ALA, it’s nothing to be worried about.
In a very odd note on their website responding to ‘frequently asked questions’, the party acknowledges the awkward coincidence. But give us some slack, they say. Coming up with a three letter acronym is a tough ask.
“Finding a name that forms an acronym for a political party which ticks all the boxes, conforms with statutory rules, scores high in an alphabetical list and is still acceptable to the founding members was no mean feat,” the statement says.
The party encourages people to distinctly annunciate each letter of their name, as one would when discussing public broadcaster the A-B-C. Just to be safe, though, they then attempt to decouple the word Allah from Islam.
“Allah is Arabic for ‘The God’, not ‘The Islamic God’. Widely used by Muslims, Christians in Arabic speaking regions referred to God as ‘Allah’ long before the advent of Islam; and still do so today,” it says.
Intriguingly, the party also argues that by using the acronym they will prevent opponents from producing material that is critical of them.
“Believers demand others to respect the name of their God,” they say. “This may help our political opponents to think more carefully when they try to come up with derogatory slogans about ALA. Derogatory four letter words followed by LNP or ALP may look cool on placards. Let’s see them try the same with ALA.”
Yes, you “cool” kids may enjoy rolling out profanities against Bill and Malcolm, but the ALA has got you in a bind now!
Elsewhere, the FAQ section indicates it’s not just anti-Muslim bigots who are taking an interest in the party.
“Is ALA controlled by foreigners like the Rothschild group,” question eight asks.
The party distances itself from the global (and highly anti-Semitic) conspiracy theory. There are only so many prejudices one party can be expected to embrace, after all.
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