Aussies eye stricter visa rules

March 30, 2006 at 12:05 PM
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CANBERRA, Australia, March 30 (UPI) -- Australia is considering new work visa restrictions on visiting clerics to make it easier to deport them for preaching discord.

The Australian said Thursday documents it obtained showed the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and a Muslim advisory group set up by the Howard government were examining the issue.

"The issue of imposing a condition on all visitors that they do not incite discord in Australia is being examined, given the nature of Australian society today and to reflect the fact that this condition is a mandatory condition on a person entering as a religious worker under the religious worker visa," the newspaper quoted minutes of a recent meeting between the two bodies.

Character requirements in law for a visa applicant currently forbid inciting discord that is a danger to "the Australian community or to a segment of the community," but does not specifically ban hate speech.

In the wake of last July's Islamist bombings in London by resident Muslims allegedly incited by radical preachers, Australia has stiffened its anti-terror laws.

A concern is visiting Muslim clerics possibly inciting Muslim residents to acts of terrorism.

Australia is a major supporter and ally of the United States in the war on terror and has troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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