CAIRO - Abusive comments by army soldiers against Muslims, immigrants and women on a Facebook group are sparking a storm of outrage in Australia.
I am angry, I am disappointed, I am going to do something about it, Army Chief Lieutenant General David Morrison told reporters on Thursday, March 1, Australia's Sky News reported.
ABC TV revealed that more than 1,000 former and current army soldiers wrote abusive and racist comments against Muslims, immigrants and women on a Facebook group.
Muslims were described by soldiers as ragheads.
There were also comments such as: "What do u do if u see a Muslim limping across your yard? Reload."
Other posts suggested that immigrants are not welcome and that women are filthy whore.
Hundreds of other expletive-riddled comments are un-publishable.
"The targeting of any person on the basis of their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation is repugnant and contrary to both Defense and Army's values," Morrison said.
The army chief said that an investigation was launched into the racist comments.
We are already taking steps to determine if any serving members are linked to the offensive comments. Where they have been, I intend to take action to deal with them.
Where they have been I intend to take action to deal with them to the extent that our policies and the laws allows, he said.
Defense Minister Stephen Smith also launched a range of reviews of defense culture to address ongoing concerns about inappropriate conduct.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
A recent governmental report revealed that Muslims are facing deep-seated Islamophobia and race-based treatment like never before.
A former army cadet has described the racist views as very common in the Australian army.
I've heard it before, Naomi Brookes, a former Australian Defense Force Academy (ADFA), told ABC TV.
Comments like the ones on the Facebook groups aren't all that unusual.
And because they are not all that unusual as time goes on they seem less and less obscene. So it feeds back into itself.
The former cadet quit the academy in disgust with the way a friend who had been raped was treated by her peers.
The Australian army has been hit by a series of allegations of abusive behavior in recent months.A review by Australia's human rights commissioner last year found that women in Australia's top military academy faced widespread low-level sexual harassment.