Huge blow for Sonia Kruger
SONIA Kruger will face a hearing next month over controversial remarks she made about Muslims two years ago.
The Today Extra and The Voice host failed to have a racial vilification complaint against her dismissed, after her 2016 suggestion that Muslim immigration should be temporarily halted sparked a firestorm of controversy.
The Civil and Administrative Tribunal refused an application by the Nine Network to have the complaint dismissed without a hearing.
In July 2016, Kruger endorsed a newspaper article by News Corp Australia columnist Andrew Bolt during a segment of the Today Show.
"I mean, personally, I think Andrew Bolt has a point here, that there is a correlation between the number of people who, you know, are Muslim in a country and the number of terrorist attacks," she said on the show.
"Now I have a lot of very good friends who are Muslim, who are peace-loving who are beautiful people, but there are fanatics.
"Personally I would like to see it stopped now for Australia. Because I want to feel safe, as all of our citizens do, when they go out to celebrate Australia Day."
In a subsequent appearance on the talk show, Kruger, 52, brought up an image of a baby covered in a plastic sheet after the July 14 terror attack in Nice, France, which she said, "rocked me to the very core".
"I acknowledge that my views yesterday may have been extreme ... it is a hugely complex and sensitive issue," she said.
Her comments ignited a storm of outrage on social media, and prompted an official complaint on July 18 by Australian Muslim Sam Ekermawi, from Moorebank in Sydney's southwest, who said the Nine Network had vilified "ethnic Muslim Australians".
"Kruger did target Ethnic-Muslims as a group; she believes that Muslim Australians are constructed as terrorist," Mr Ekermawi wrote in an email to the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW in March last year.
He said her comments highlighted an "uncomfortable reality" for ethnic Australian Muslims, adding that "Islamophobia is a world wide phenomena".
Under the Anti-Discrimination Act it is unlawful for a person, by a public act, to incite hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule of a person or people on the ground of race.
The matter is listed for a directions hearing on June 19.