Security fears for Xenophon over religious misunderstanding

Nick Xenophon has moved quickly to secure support in the Australian Islamic community, after a Malaysian newspaper printed anti-Islamic statements, wrongly attributing them to the Senator.

The quotes, used by the New Straits Times, were taken from a speech given by Mr Xenophon to parliament in 2009.

But the newspaper mixed up crucial wording, replacing 'Scientology' with 'Islam'.

"These are views that I’ve never had, the consequences of this are very serious," Mr Xenophon told 7News.

"The fact that a speech I gave in parliament about Scientology has been fabricated and turned into a supposed speech about Islam is disgusting."

In a statement published on its website the newspaper said it had made a 'grave error' and issued and apology to the Senator.

"We accept that in his speech in the Australian Parliament, referred to in the article, Mr Xenophon did not use the word 'Islam' and neither did he assert that Islam is not a religious organisation nor a criminal organisation hiding behind its religious belief.'

But Mr Xenophon said it was too little, too late.

He met with Muslim Cleric Imam Hamzah, in Adelaide on Friday, to discuss the matter.

"The concern is this is trying to incite hatred, not only against me, but against other Australians for no good reason," he said.

"That’s something that will be sorted out in the courts in Malaysia, because I will be taking action on this."

"This newspaper happens to have close links with the ruling party in Malaysia, the ruling party is clearly upset with me because I was part of an international fact-finding mission that made some scathing criticisms of the Malaysian election system and the possibility of widespread electoral fraud."

The Imam agrees that because of the incorrect statement, Senator Xenophon's safety could be compromised when he travels overseas.

"it is a very serious situation," the Imam told 7News, "I am very much concerned for him."

Mr Xenophon plans to ask Foreign Minister Bob Carr to pass his correct views on to Malaysian authorities.

The article has since been removed from the newspaper's website.

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