Malcolm Turnbull

Warning against refugee backlash after Paris attacks

A Sydney resident waves the French flag at a vigil in Martin Place on November 14, 2015 Source: AAP

Malcolm Turnbull has warned against any backlash targeting refugees, following reports one of the men involved in the Paris attacks may have posed as a refugee.

Extended coverage: Fallout from Paris attacks

NSW Nationals MP Andrew Fraser has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to close Australia's borders to refugees from the Middle East.

It comes as Australia prepares to take in 12,000 Syrian refugees fleeing IS, with the first group due to arrive by Christmas.

"Message to Malcolm Turnbull: Australia does not need Middle Eastern refugees or Islamic boat people!" Mr Fraser wrote in a message on Facebook.

"Close our borders we have enough anarchists already resident in Australia (our democracy) we do not need any more coming in disguised as refugees!!!!!!"

Mr Fraser acknowledged the comments would be viewed as controversial, but said he is voicing the view of many in the community.

"I think we have the main political parties who are trying to woo Muslim votes and are too scared to come out and say what I think many Muslims are also saying, because they don't want to lose votes," he told Fairfax Media.

Former One National leader Pauline Hanson has seized on the possibility that one of the men involved in the deadly terror attacks in Paris posed as a refugee.

She said Australians "don't want more Muslim refugees in Australia who may be ISIS plants". 

She called on the Turnbull government to rethink its plan to resettle people fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq.

Her call follows co-ordinated attacks in Paris that have left at least 129 dead and hundreds more injured, including a young Australian woman.


"These refugees may be cells that have been brought out, who have been planted ... to become refugees who will end up in Australia, on Australian soil," Ms Hanson said.

It's believed one of the attackers may have travelled to Europe on a Syrian passport recently.

Ms Hanson's remarks echo those of former PM Tony Abbott, who warned of the risk that terrorists could be hiding among the tens of thousands of refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East.

"Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim," Ms Hanson told the Nine Network.

"People don't want another 12,000 refugees in Australia. People of Australia don't want more Muslim refugees in Australia who may be ISIS plants."

Rise Up Australia leader Daniel Nalliah said he is desperately worried by Australia's intake of Muslim refugees.

"Government leaders have refused to acknowledge that Islam is the problem," he told SBS World News.

"They call it terrorism. Unfortunately Islam is causing a lot of trouble for the whole Muslim community. There are a lot of good Muslim people but unfortunately because they follow a religion which is basically hell bent on violence, it becomes a major problem."

'It's got nothing to do with Australian Muslims'

The former head of Muslims Australia said he is shocked and aghast over the Paris terror attacks.

Ikebal Patel said his heart goes out to the people of France and around the world, who have suffered in the tragedy.


He said he hopes the attacks do not further strain relations between Muslims in Australia and the wider community.

"It's got nothing to do with Australian Muslims," he told SBS Radio News.

"We are all shocked with - once again - with people doing this (terror acts) in the name of Islam."

President of EIDFEST community services Yasmin Khan said the Paris attacks are heartbreaking.

“Our hearts are broken and we are very said after hearing the tragic news of horrified attacks in Paris," she told the SBS Radio Urdu program.

"This is the time when we should show the extremist that they cannot divide harmonious community of Australia by these shameful acts of terror but in fact we feel more united as 'One Australia' and we all together condemn the heinous crime whoever is behind it."

PM warns against refugee backlash

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is in Turkey to attend the G20 summit, played down the threat.

"While there have been some exceptions, the history of terrorist activities in Australia and people of concern in this area is very much for the most part second- and third-generation Australians," he said.

"So the screening of refugees of the humanitarian intake has been very careful."

He said Australia would stand alongside France in refusing to be intimidated by the attacks.

"An attack of this scale is always terrible to watch unfold, but at the same time I was inspired by the resilience and the patriotism of the French men and women leaving the stadium outside which some of the bombs exploded, were singing their national anthem," he told the ABC.

"It just showed the fact that free societies like our own, like Australia's, like France's will not be cowed by terrorists - no matter how shocking."

Mr Abbott earlier said it wasn't possible to conclude the people responsible for the Paris attacks "are recent refugee arrivals".

"I think it would be quite wrong to the conclude that," he said.

"But it is absolutely crystal clear that whether they are recent arrivals, whether they are second-generation Parisians, the problem of Islamist extremism is severe."

'Don't tar all refugees with the same brush'

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, speaking in Melbourne, cautioned against treating refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq as a threat, because of the actions of a few.

Greek authorities have confirmed that at least one of the men involved in the attacks - a Syrian passport holder - had registered as a refugee earlier this year.

There are unconfirmed reports a second person connected to the attacks had also registered as a refugee in Greece - the main entry point for people fleeing to Europe from Syria and Iraq.


"What I don't want to do is tar all refugees with the same brush," Mr Shorten said.

"It is important we have security screening, absolutely.

"Labor is absolutely committed to opposing Daesh, ISIL, ISIS, whatever name the terrorist organisation goes by. I don't believe all refugees should be condemned for the actions of one or two, though."

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