The ABC reports…
“Senator Pauline Hanson has distanced herself from an anti-Islam group which disrupted an Anglican church service.
Members of the group, Party for Freedom, were dressed in mock Islamic garb when they barged into the Gosford Anglican Church during a service on the New South Wales Central Coast on Sunday.
They pretended to pray while playing Muslim prayers on a loudspeaker and criticised Islam before walking out.
Senator Hanson features in many images on the group’s website and Facebook pages, but she told the ABC One Nation had no official affiliation with the Party For Freedom.
She said the group’s action was “counterproductive in the serious argument One Nation are calling for”.
“I think it’s uncalled for [for] media to blame One Nation or myself for these actions,” she said.
“Let’s have a proper debate as a community and leave the satire out of it.”
A statement issued on behalf of One Nation said the party did not condone any violence.
“However if these concerns are not addressed, we believe that there may come a time where there is civil unrest on our streets,” it said.
The party also stated the church was most likely targeted due to its support for refugees and Muslims.
Father Rod Bower, who was running the service, told the ABC he was shocked when the group entered his church halfway through his sermon.
“It was … just out of the blue, some of the congregation were quite upset,” he said.
“I recognised one of the participants and clearly they weren’t Muslims — it was mock attire.”
The group posted photos of their stunt on social media, claiming it was a protest against Father Bower’s support for Islamic leaders and multiculturalism.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also criticised the action, saying those involved were “way out of line”.
Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane “it seems to me that some of these people don’t seem to like any religion”.
“Imagine gatecrashing a Christian service to make a point about other political points of view,” he said.
“I don’t agree with what they did there. This country needs to be tolerant of people’s religious practices and — this group were way out of line staging a protest in a Christian church.”