Australia

Fake 'racist' letter claims Melbourne council plans to introduce Sharia law

The City of Dandenong has slammed a hoax letter which was sent to its residents.

A "racist" fake letter has been circulated in Melbourne's south-east, claiming a local council plans to introduce elements of Sharia law.

The letter, designed to look like it is from the City of Dandenong, falsely claims the council will enact a series of bylaws in April influenced by the Islamic faith.

"Residents are advised that our 'Sustain Harmony 2030 program' will soon come into effect ... Penalties will apply for non-compliance," the letter says.

A copy of the letter.
A copy of the letter.
Facebook

The sham bylaws include bans on alcohol and pork products along with imposing dress restrictions on women.

"Public displays of affection, in particular homosexuality, shall be prohibited," it says.

These supposed bylaws were worked on "in consultation with Australia's National Shari'ah Board and the United Islamic Council of Victoria", two organisations which do not exist.

Council CEO John Bennie slammed the letter as a fake that "has nothing to do with the City of Dandenong".

"It is in no way in line with our values or beliefs," Mr Bennie told SBS News on Monday.

On Facebook, the council alerted residents the letter was a hoax and said it was investigating its source.

The letter has been heavily criticised on social media.

One Facebook user called it "racist", while another said, "this is a new level of low".

"This is the kind of thing bigots will do ... We live in a very multicultural environment. Don't let far-right bigots make people feel disconnected from their communities," a Melbourne anti-racism group wrote.

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