Islamic Twitter account for Australian Navy shut down after anti-Islam group complains

The defence force said it was 'streamlining' its Twitter accounts - but two others remain online

Jess Staufenberg
Tuesday 05 January 2016 16:11 GMT

The official Twitter account of the Australian navy's Islamic affairs adviser has been shut down after an anti-Islamic group complained about it.

Captain Mona Shindy, who advised the Australian Navy on recruiting from the Muslim community, had her social media account suspended not long after she criticised a right-wing group.

She had been active on the @navyislamic handle until 22 December, exactly two months after she had called the newly formed political party Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA) an "extreme, ill-informed fringe group".

According to the Canberra Times, Captain Shindy had written: "Real shame to see these extreme ill informed fringe groups threatening #community #cohesion."

Debbie Robinson, the head of the ALA, wrote to Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, head of the Australian defence force, asking the navy to delete the account or distance itself from the comments.

"It is completely unacceptable for an official defence Twitter account to criticise any registered political party in Australia," said Ms Robinson in a press statement.

"The Australian Liberty Alliance is very concerned that the Australian Defence Force appears to be promoting pro-Islamic political views and attacking a party that has the support of many Australians."

She also argued that any "threats" to community cohesion were not from the ALA, but from a community that "clearly rejects" the laws and customs of Australia.

The ALA states on its home site that it stands for Western values.

It says: "Migrants do not dream of a new life in Australia because we are a socialist, Islamic or tribal society.

"Migrants come for the freedom, justice and prosperity only Western civilisation creatres."

Captain Shindy's Twitter account was closed down within 12 days of the complaint.

The defence force told Guardian Australia it was streamlining its social media platforms. Two other two navy-linked Twitter accounts are still online.

Defence regulations allow members of the forces to express their views on political parties, candidates and issues, but not in role as defence personell.

Captain Shindy's official role, according to her government profile, is to "create a better understanding among defence members of the Islamic faith, traditions and cultural sensitivities."

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