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Federal Govt must explain how Islamic defender of Beslan School massacre passed the "character test" to come to Australia.

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TONY BURKE MP Member for Watson

Shadow Minister for Immigration, Integration and Citizenship


The Federal Government must explain how an Islamic spokesperson, who allegedly defended the Chechen leader of the Beslan school massacre, passed the “character test” to get into Australia.

Yvonne Ridley, a British Muslim spokesperson, is reportedly travelling to Australia to speak at an Islamic conference in Melbourne this Easter long-weekend.

Ridley is alleged to have publicly: • Called the Chechen terrorist leader, Shamil Basayev (who orchestrated the Beslan school massacre) a martyr; • Defended Basayev’s murderous acts by arguing he only "resorted to targeting

Russian civilians in the latter years of his struggle to try and bring the plight of the Chechen struggle to the wider world"; • Described suicide bombing as “martyrdom operations”; • Defended militant Islamists distributing videos of Iraqi insurgents killing

hostages, saying it was necessary for Muslims to have access to these videos as an alternative form of news to Western media; • Said “there is something rather repugnant about some of those who rush to renounce acts of terrorism”; and • Urged all Muslims in Britain to "boycott the police and refuse to co-operate

with them in any way, shape or form".

The Minister for Immigration, Kevin Andrews must launch an investigation immediately to determine whether or not the comments attributed to Ridley are accurate.

If these reports are accurate, then the Minister must explain how the Howard Government considers Ridley to be of good character - and how and why they allowed her to get a visa to come to Australia.

The character test applies to all individuals coming to Australia. The test includes a consideration of whether or not there is a significant risk that the person would incite discord in the Australian community. The test is completely different to the test applied when banning an organisation.

Yesterday Kevin Andrews took every opportunity to get on the radio and boast about who he’d kept out of the country. Today he must explain to the Australian public who he’s let in.

Sydney, 5 April Media Contact: Katie Ford 0408 274 696