The Australian Defence League (ADL) was established in 2009 and is an offshoot of the UK's English Defence League (EDL). The group only has about 30 paid up members but its Facebook page had 12,000 followers before it was shut down.
Former President of the ADL, Nathan Abela, said he narrowly escaped being shot when eight bullets were pumped into his Greystanes unit earlier this month. A man came to his front door and yelled out "Nathan, is that you?" before he opened fire and sped off in a silver Audi. He said he commando-rolled across his lounge room to avoid being hit.
When police accidentally left a bullet casing behind, he refused to hand it over and was arrested for interfering with the police investigation. He was also charged with entering a premises to menace or harass. As part of his bail conditions, he is banned from using YouTube, Twitter or Facebook until he appears in Fairfield Local Court on May 9. When National President Ralph Cerminara banned him from uploading any more videos, he resigned in protest.
Group members were encouraged to follow and photograph women wearing hijabs and burqas on public transport and upload the images to Facebook. They also erected anti-Muslim posters outside Sydney mosques.
National President of ADL and ex soldier Ralph Cerminara said he has support from within the Australian Defence Force. He told the ABC his aim was to have Islam banned and to "defend Australia's culture and Australia's people at all costs."
There seems to be some confusion as to Mr Cerminara's time served in the Armed Forces. He said he served in Afghanistan and had to "bury a few mates over there" but Army records show that he did not serve overseas. Hard to believe someone would persist with a lie that is so easily disproved.
When Australia's biggest Islamic school at Greenacre was filmed and ADL followers suggested it was a terrorist safe house that should be bombed or burned down, police called in the NSW counter-terrorism squad and ASIO. An online war started, culminating in Mr Abela's attempted murder. Mr Cerminara has also received several death threats.
Days before the shooting, a Sydney man Abu Bakra posted a video of himself warning Abela "Either you will accept Islam as your salvation, or you will die by the sword." After posting videos on Syria, the 19 year old was asked by ASIO to surrender his passport in December.
The Muslim community is putting pressure on authorities to take decisive action against the ADL.