Fri, Nov 10, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Australian senator abused over Iranian parents

The Guardian

Australian Senator Sam Dastyari has been abused in a Melbourne bar by a far-right group, with one man declaring during the tirade: “You terrorist, you little monkey.”

The ugly scene in the Victoria University student bar on Wednesday evening was captured on video and posted on Facebook.

The group approached the Australian Labor Party lawmaker, who is of Iranian heritage, and began abusing him, first referencing his controversial political fundraising with Chinese donors.

The verbal attack spiraled, as one man said: “Why don’t you go back to Iran, you terrorist?”

As the senator ordered drinks, one of the group said: “Have another drink mate, is it halal certified?”

Dastyari kept his reaction to the verbal onslaught low key, telling the men he would not engage.

“I think you guys are a bunch of racists,” Dastyari said. “You are embarrassing yourself.”

The barman said during the exchange that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

As Dastyari attempted to join people he was meeting at the venue, one of the group then asked: “What race is Islam? We are the real Australians. Look at this terrorist.”

After watching the verbal abuse for several minutes, fellow Labor Legislator Tim Watts asked the group: “What race is dickhead?”

The scene in Melbourne comes amid spiraling political controversy over lawmakers with foreign ancestry being ineligible to stand for parliament.

“They are the sickening face of white nationalists in this country. What is happening is our politics is heading into a very, very ugly place,” Dastyari told Nine Network.

“It makes me feel small, makes me feel horrible, it makes you feel kind of terrible and that’s what they are designed to do,” Dastyari said.

He is considering a legal response to the incident, which may have infringed Victoria State race discrimination laws.

Islamophobia and racism are getting worse in Australia on both the left and right, Datsyari said.

“I worry about all the people out there that have to put up with all this kind of abuse who don’t have the structures that someone like I’m lucky enough to have,” he said

In a question-and-answer session at the pub with Watts, Dastyari said he was regularly subjected to similar incidents for being Muslim.

“All of this is the rise of the radical right in this country, it is the rise of One Nation right,” he said. “These are people who feel incredibly empowered because of what [Senator] Pauline Hanson has done for them.”

“You dance so far to the right that it gives those a little bit further out a sense of entitlement,” he said.

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