Geert Wilders offered multiculturalism lesson

The immigration minister says he wont deny a visa for controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Multicultural organisations say anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders should use his Australia tour as a learning experience.

(Transcript from World News Australia Radio)

Multicultural organisations say anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders should use his Australia tour as a learning experience.

Mr Wilders says Islam and freedom are incompatible and is coming with a warning about the dangers of allowing Muslims to immigrate to Australia.

But a range of organisations that work in the multicultural sphere are determined to prove him wrong.

The Q Society is funding Mr Wilders' Australian tour, which will involve speeches in Sydney and Melbourne this month -- about what he calls the Islamisation of Australia.

Far from calling for Gert Wilders to be banned from Australia for his controversial views, Theo Mackaay from the Victorian Council of Churches says he is welcome to look and learn.

"Let us extend our hospitality to Mr Wilders, let us engage with him, offer him the opportunity to learn how multiculturalism takes commitment but can be a wonderful wonderful way forward for any society."

Victoria's Multicultural Affairs Minister Nicholas Kotsiras says Mr Wilders' views are wrong and misinformed.

Mr Kotsiras says he supports freedom of speech but does not support the incitement of violence or hatred.

"We are multicultural and we are proud of it, we have embraced it over many years and are a prime example of how it can work. And I find it a bit amazing that someone is ready to travel 16,000 kilometres to tell us why he or his party has failed in his own country."

Mr Wilders' Party for Freedom held the balance of power in the Dutch parliament until late last year before losing more than a third of its seats in the September election.

Islamic Council of Victoria executive committee member Mohamad Tabbaa says racism is an outdated and destructive force and successful societies are built on much stronger foundations.

"Respect and co-operation are the conditions of a confident and vibrant society - they lay the foundations for a bright future - for which all members of society can thrive and reach their utmost potential. Hate and suspicion on the other hand are a sure way to destroy the fabric of societies and lead instead to division and disharmony."

Victorian Multicultural Commission chair Chin Tan says the Dutch MP is creating disharmony by casting aspersions on Muslims.

"Geert Wilders can come and go - he can express his views. What we say is that we do not agree with him and we certainly do not agree with anybody who seeks to create and incite disharmony in society. We have come out spontaneously to say we don't want that and we don't need them, we are able on our own to achieve the kind of society that's been built over a long period of time, through a lot of effort by individuals, organisations to create what we have got."

To coincide with Mr Wilders' visit, a coalition of 24 groups - including the AFL - has signed up to a statement re-affirming the success of multiculturalism.

Australian Multicultural Foundation director Dr Hass Dellal has cautioned Mr Wilders that the right to freedom of speech is not unfettered.

"Like all freedoms speech has moral limits. We welcome challenging ideas and debate, but inciting hatred and animosity toward to specific cultural and religious groups has no place in Victoria or indeed Australia."

Tight security surrounds Mr Wilders, with dozens of venues reportedly declining to host his speaking tour.

Speaking in his personal capacity, UNESCO Chair in inter-cultural and inter-religious relations, Professor Gary Bouma says Australia is no longer a little Europe.

"We have made a healthy smooth transition from being a British-dominated Protestant society to being a multi-faith society. It's happened it's taken work. A few people are a little disapointed they don't have the power they used to have but the society as a whole rejoices in the fact that we are diverse, that we allow people to be who they are."

A number of groups are planning protests during Mr Wilders' Australian tour.

WATCH: SBS Senior Correspondent Brian Thomson speaks with Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders about his trip to Australia and why he is so critical of Islam.

Source: SBS