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‘What race is Islam?’ taunt racists. ‘What race is d***head’, responds Australian senator

Far-right group surrounded Australian senator Sam Dastyari at a pub, hurling racist abuse at him, when fellow senator Tim Watts intervened.

world Updated: Nov 10, 2017 19:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Racism,Racism in Australia,Sam Dastyari
Members of an Australian far-right group hurled racist abuse at senator Sam Dastyari, who is of Iranian heritage, at a Melbourne pub.(ShutterstockSam )

A video posted by a far-right group on Facebook shows the ugly face of racism in Australia.

Australian senator Sam Dastyari was at a pub in Melbourne on Wednesday when a group of men belonging to a far-right group Patriot Blue, circled him and started heckling him with racist abuse.

In the video, which was being filmed by the hecklers, shows Dastyari trying to keep his cool as he faces a volley of racist questions from the group.

The video shows the group approaching Dastyari who is of Iranian heritage. They then proceed to hurl a number of abuses on him, including “little monkey” and “terrorist”.

“Why don’t you go back to Iran, you terrorist?”, one man can be heard telling Dastyari.

The senator tried to ignore the men, and focused on placing his order for drinks at the Victoria University student bar. He told the men he did not want to engage with them, “I think you guys are a bunch of racists. You are embarrassing yourself,” Dastyari can be heard telling them.

As the senator walks back to his table, the men keep hounding him, repeatedly asking him, “What race is Islam? tell us, what race is Islam?”

Dastyari chooses not to answer but his friend and fellow Australian senator Tim Watts, leans into the camera and asks the men, “What race is d***head?”

Watts timely intervention earned him praise on social media, with many lauding his response as appropriate.

Talking to the press later, Dastyari said this type of behaviour has no place in Australia, reported The Intercept.

“This type of extremism, this white nationalism, this is what leads to Charlottesville in the US,” Dastyari told Sky News. “This is what leads to the problems they have in America and frankly, the far-right in Australia, yeah, do feel empowered at the moment.”

In the video, the men can be heard declaring, “We are the real Australians”.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has introduced new citizenship laws based on “Australian values”, condemned the incident, calling it “racial villification”.

“There is no place for racial vilification in Australia,” Turnbull said. “We are the most successful multicultural society in the world and that is because its built, our society is built, on a foundation of mutual respect. And so we should have zero tolerance racism and racist abuse like that.”

First Published: Nov 10, 2017 19:39 IST