Screengrab via YouTube/Pauline Hanson's Please Explain

Far-right Australian senator makes anti-Muslim meme after London attacks

The senator called for a ban on Muslims immigrating to Australia.

Jun 4, 2017, 11:25 am

Internet Culture

Chris Tognotti 

Chris Tognotti

Far-right Australian politician Pauline Hanson, the founder and leader of the virulently anti-immigration and anti-Islam One Nation party and a senator for Queensland, has come under fire for politicizing the London terrorist attacks on Twitter with a meme. She tweeted a mock-up of a graphic used by the London police to advise people caught up in the midst of the attack, urging people to “run, hide, tell.”

Except in Hanson’s version, the captions alongside each instruction were political attacks against the Australian left, and in favor of banning Islamic immigration.

“Australia is tired of Labor, the Greens and the Liberals RUNNING their campaign that Islam is good for Australia,” reads one, attacking the Australian political left on the back of a gruesome attack, the finer details of which were still unclear.

“Australia refuses to HIDE the fact that terrorism is related to the Islamic teachings in the Quran,” reads the second.

“Australia is tired of TELLING both sides of government that Islam is incompatible with Australian values,” reads the third.

The whole thing is about as direct and aggressive an effort to gain political capital in the aftermath of a high-profile tragedy as there is, and Hanson didn’t stop there. She also tweeted an attack on Bill Shorten, the leader of the Labor Party of Australia.

The core thrust of Hanson’s message was calling for a ban on Islamic immigration into Australia, the kind of policy which would be flatly unconstitutional in the United States. That’s part of the reason that what President Donald Trump once advertised as a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” has since been re-imagined as a ban on refugees and immigrants from several majority-Muslim countries.

That hasn’t stopped far-right politicians and parties around the world from pushing the original version of the Trump plan, however, even and especially in the immediate aftermath of terrorist violence. Trump himself indulged in some instant politicizing on Saturday, tweeting in favor or his “travel ban” more than half an hour before the London Metropolitan Police had publicly announced the attack was an act of terrorism.

In short, left-wing and progressive parties in immigration-friendly nations around the world will likely face increasing calls to close borders and institute religion-based policies for entry. But it’s unlikely that Hanson’s One Nation will actually gain enough political power from these sorts of international events to implement such policies—the defeat of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was broadly seen as a rebuke to the alleged rising global tide of far-right populism, and Hanson’s party is nowhere near as electorally robust as France’s National Front is, currently holding just four out of 76 seats in the Australian senate.

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*First Published: Jun 4, 2017, 11:25 am