Anti-Islam group Q Society deregisters, fearing lawsuits under religious freedom legislation


But it also cites the risks of “federal legislation concerning religious ‘tolerance’ … likely to change this year”.

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“As a consequence, the incorporated association will become an easy target for hostile litigation.

“The risk for board members being sued for criticising Islam becomes unsustainable.”

Attorney-General Christian Porter is reviewing submissions on the second exposure drafts of the Religious Freedom Bills, released just before Christmas. The proposed legislation, a response to the religious freedoms review of 2018, is controversial among many faith-based groups, and the LGBTI lobby.

While intended to protect religious people from discrimination, some argue the legislation does not go far enough to grant positive rights to people of faith, while others argue it will allow religious groups to discriminate against people, notably LGBTI Australians.

Q Society made headlines in 2017 when it hosted a fundraiser with singer Angry Anderson, cartoonist Larry Pickering and former federal MP Ross Cameron.

Former Liberal MP Ross Cameron at the Q Society fundraiser in 2017. Credit:Wolter Peeters

Pickering told the gathering he couldn’t “stand Muslims” and said he started shaking “if they are in the same street as me”.

He then joked that “they are not all bad, they do chuck pillow-biters off buildings” – an apparent reference to the treatment of gay men under ISIS.

A cartoon by Pickering, depicting the rape of a niqab-covered woman by her son-in-law, was auctioned at the dinner, which was to raise funds for the defence of a defamation action brought by Halal certifier Mohamed Al-Mouelhy.

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But Q Society has always rejected charges of Islamophobia. Its website says it was “formed in response to growing concerns about the discrimination, violence and other anti-democratic practices linked to Islam”.

Federal MP George Christensen attended a Q Society fundraiser in 2017, saying he was there to push back against the “erosion of free speech” by the left.

The newsletter from Ms Robinson says Q Society will continue to operate via Facebook, a newsletter, and a US-based website. Q Society did not respond to requests for comment.

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