A new petition in the Australian Federal Parliament is calling for a ten-year moratorium on Muslim immigrants. ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries (pictured)presented a petition calling for a 10-year suspension of Muslim immigration into Australia and for a review of the country’s immigration policy to ensure priority is given to Christians. The petition cites the constitution, the founding fathers and the currently parliament prayer to insist that Australia is a Christian commonwealth. It also insists on rejecting what it describes as "attempts to establish a Muslim nation in Australia". Senator Humphries said he disagreed with the petition, but since it was presented to him by some of his constituents, he felt it was his duty to forward it to Parliament. Senator Humphries said the petition -- signed by three people in Sydney -- expresses a particular view about Australia's immigration policy and wasn't racially vilifying. "A number of senators had refused to do so and having read the content I can understand why," he told the Canberra Times. "But my long-standing position on petitions is that it is the right of every Australian to put their point of view to the Australian Parliament." Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has backed ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries decision, saying he also disagrees with the petition, but people have a right to put their views. "I'm not proposing that, he's not proposing that, no-one is proposing that," he said. "People have a right to petition their Parliament even on subjects that their MPs don't agree with, even on subjects where the Parliament is unlikely to act." Muslim immigration and multiculturalism have become a heated debate in Australia, a country where one quarter of the population is immigrants and one that was long celebrated as a melting pot for immigrants. Australia Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned in the post 9/11 world. A 2007 poll taken by the Issues Deliberation Australia (IDA) think-tank found that Australians basically see Islam as a threat to the Australian way of life. A recent governmental report revealed that Muslims are facing deep-seated Islamophobia and race-based treatment like never before. Senator Humphries insisted that his petition was not against Muslims, but should be accepted in the frame of free speech. "I certainly don't agree with what's in the document," he told ABC Radio on Tuesday, February 15. "I don't agree with the sentiments expressed by the petitioners." He insisted that he was a friend of Canberra's Islamic community. "Many Muslims are my friends and I hope they'll remain my friends," he said. "But I hope they'll also understand that as a member of the Federal Parliament, I have an obligation to fulfil or place before the Parliament points of view of citizens if they're on matters that affect the powers and the role of the Federal Parliament," he said. But ACT Labor senator Kate Lundy, who is also parliamentary secretary for immigration and citizenship, criticized the anti- Muslim petition. "I would not have tabled this petition," she said. "All citizens are entitled to request that their petitions are tabled in the Parliament and all senators exercise their own judgment. The Government is committed to Australia's brand of multiculturalism which has seen the integration and the peaceful settlement of 7 million migrants since the Second World War." Disappointed by the position, Patel, the Muslim leader, said he would write to the senator for explanation. "The least we would have expected from him is to let us know what he was going to do," said Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils. "It is just quite disappointing to have something as despicable as this and for him to put it in [the Senate]. And then it makes the world stage by being discussed in the Senate. You either put it in and back it or you take Senator Kate Lundy's view that…she chose not to put it forward because it was an abhorrent position."
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