Australian police looking into Islamic hate DVDs

Federal police are investigating whether an Australian Islamic leader has incited violence in a series of DVDs in which he calls on youngsters to give up their lives in jihad, and calling Jews pigs.

Sheik Feiz Mohammed’s comments in the DVDs called Death Series have brought widespread condemnation from politicians and community groups.

The Australian Federal Police said it was looking into the DVDs and whether the sheik’s comments breached sedition laws and incited violence.

If they did, the AFP would launch a full investigation and he could face charges.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma said Sheik Mohammed, the leader of the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Liverpool, in Sydney’s west, was inciting terrorism.

In the DVDs, the Sydney-born cleric urges young Muslims to be prepared to sacrifice themselves for Islam.

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“We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam,” he says.

“Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid (holy warrior).

“Put in their soft, tender hearts the zeal of jihad and a love of martyrdom.”

Mr Iemma said he had called on the Attorney-General (Philip Ruddock) to do whatever was necessary to have Sheik Feiz Mohammed’s DVD withdrawn from sale.

“This DVD goes a lot further than vilification,” Mr Iemma said in Sydney.

“The sort of incitement that’s taking place, or that the DVD encourages, is incitement to acts of violence and acts of terror.

“I will take the advice of the Attorney-General but there are specific laws in the Commonwealth jurisdiction on the sale of this material and that’s why we’ll be seeking the cooperation of the federal Attorney-General to take whatever steps are necessary.”

The sheik delivers his hateful rants on a collection of DVDs sold in Australia and overseas.

“This is just more disgusting commentary from a sheik who has no understanding of the values that we live by in this country,” Mr Iemma said.

“I’ve called on the Commonwealth Attorney-General to take whatever necessary steps are available to try and have this DVD withdrawn (from sale).

“They are disgusting, outrageous comments and he ought to be withdrawing them immediately.”

The Federal Government has denounced the DVDs with acting Attorney-General Kevin Andrews saying the situation was unacceptable.

“The Australian Government denounces these reprehensible and offensive remarks,” he said in Adelaide.

“We particularly denounce the outrageous comments made about the Jewish community in Australia.”

Message of hate

An Australian citizen, born in Sydney, Sheik Feiz has spent the past year living in Lebanon.

“Today many parents, they prevent their children from attending lessons. Why? They fear that they might create a place in the their hearts, the love, just a bit of the love, of sacrificing their lives for Allah,” Sheik Feiz says in the video.

“We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam. Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid (holy warrior). Put in their soft, tender hearts the zeal of jihad and a love of martyrdom.”

An Australian citizen born in Sydney who has spent the past year living in Lebanon, Sheik Feiz was exposed this week in a British documentary Undercover Mosque.

Investigators found Sheik Feiz’s DVDs being sold by children in the carpark of the Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham and other Islamic bookshops. The entire set can be bought online for $150.

“The peak, the pinnacle, the crest, the highest point, the pivot, the summit of Islam is jihad,” he declares in the film, before denouncing “kaffirs” (non-Muslims).

“Kaffir is the worst word ever written, a sign of infidelity, disbelief, filth, a sign of dirt.”

In an excerpt from a video lecture series called Signs of the Hour, Sheik Feiz then ridicules Jews as pigs.

Sheik Feiz – who just two weeks ago said he felt like an “alien” in his own country – leads about 4000 followers through his Global Islamic Youth Centre in Sydney’s southwest.

He also accused Australian authorities of being over-zealous in their approach to clerics like him.

“There are no sheiks preaching chaos there. No one is telling people to raise arms against the Australian community,” he said.

Sheik Feiz left for Lebanon just before the arrest of 23 men in Sydney and Melbourne in November 2005.

Public response

Mr Andrews would not say whether Sheik Feiz would be welcomed to return to Australia.

“It’s disturbing that this man is the head of a global youth Islamic organisation,” Mr Andrews said.

“All good-minded people, regardless of their religious beliefs or faith or none, I believe, would find these comments to be reprehensible and offensive – that is certainly the view of the Australian Government.”

Community Relations Commission chairman Stepan Kerkyasharian has called for the sheik to be charged over his comments.

“The public prosecutor, the federal prosecutor should really have a close look at what is being conveyed by this guy and whether it is in breach of any laws and he should be charged,” Mr Kerkyasharian told Macquarie Radio.

Community groups have condemned the remarks of the sheik, who heads the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Liverpool, in Sydney’s southwest.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said the sheik should not abuse his position to incite hatred.

“It is of great concern when people in positions of influence, who should be demonstrating responsible leadership, abuse that power to incite racial hatred,” Mr Alhadeff said.

“As a Jewish community, we work well and closely with moderate sectors of the Muslim community.

“Hate speech such as these remarks by Sheik Mohammed has no place in Australian society and must be vigorously condemned by all.”

With The Daily Telegraph and AAP

Original title: Police probe sheik’s DVDs

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog), Australia
Jan. 18, 2007
Luke McIlveen, staff and wires

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This post was last updated: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 2:08 PM, Central European Time (CET)