With Fairfax Media
A far-right group have used a severed pig’s head in a video promoting a protest of Bendigo’s first mosque.
The Age reported the far-right group had posted, but since taken down, a video escalating their calls to protest the prayer, sports and community centre.
According to journalist Patrick Hatch, the video showed five severed pig heads, described as "five Muslim citizens from Bendigo".
But another video, posted to the group’s Facebook page yesterday and still online, shows a group of men urging people to protest in Bendigo.
In the video, one man is digging a hole below an Australian flag, before picking up what appears to be a severed pig’s head and burying it.
The ramped-up call from the group comes as Bendigo’s community leaders stood united against racism this weekend.
More than 40 representatives right across the political spectrum and from all different faiths have put their name to the message promoting multiculturalism and inclusiveness, which can be read here.
Bendigo Islamic Association spokesperson Heri Febriyanto said he had not seen the inflammatory videos, but he said people had a right to their opinions and he hoped they would be expressed respectfully.
“Australia is a democracy, everyone has right to have their different view. If they share their view respectfully, lovely, and peacefully, we don't mind,” he said.
“We should show respect and harmony to each other.”
Although group No Room for Racism reportedly have 1200 people saying they will attend a counter-protest in Bendigo, Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan advised residents who do not support the protest to keep their distance.
“We don’t want it to be a situation where there are groups coming together and there is a potential for unrest,” she said.
She said attending the rally in opposition would only give the protesters’ bigoted views more oxygen.
La Trobe Bendigo head of campus Robert Stephenson said cultural diversity would help Bendigo continue to thrive in future.
“[Diversity] stimulates creativity and people who bring different experiences and different ideas are really important to Bendigo’s development,” he said.
“Allowing people to have their own beliefs is really important in an open, democratic city.”