Australia/Israel Review


Australian pro-ISIS propagandist: “Allah! Destroy Israel!”

Mar 30, 2022 | Ran Porat

Wisam Haddad in one of his online sermons (YouTube screenshot)
Wisam Haddad in one of his online sermons (YouTube screenshot)

Sydney resident Wisam Haddad, also known by the name Abu Ousayd al-Mashaqlli, is a fundamentalist Islamist and self-declared ISIS supporter with a long record of ties to people who later allegedly engaged in terrorism. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Haddad is “a central figure in the radical Salafi and jihadi community in Australia and among English-speaking jihadi followers on social media.”

 

From a Bookshop to Online Extremism

In 2012, Haddad opened the Al-Risalah (“The Message”) Islamic Centre and bookstore in Bankstown in western Sydney, which quickly “gained a reputation as a centre of Islamic extremism,” according to an ABC investigation. By 2013 it had become a hub for extremist preachers recruiting young Australian Muslims to illegally travel to Syria to fight for, or to join humanitarian missions associated with, Islamist groups there. One of the preachers who lectured at Al-Risalah was Abu Sulayman (Mostafa Mahamad Farag), one of Australia’s highest-ranking Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria. Among Haddad’s friends was ISIS terrorist Khaled Sharrouf – infamous for posting photos of his children holding severed heads – who frequently visited Al-Risalah before he travelled to Syria, where he was alleged to have been killed fighting for ISIS.

Al-Risalah was raided by the Australian authorities in September 2013, and a month later, the centre was forced to close.

In 2013, Haddad was allegedly involved in a fire-bombing attack on a juice bar in Bankstown right next to the Al-Risalah centre. Haddad is suspected of being behind a two-week campaign of threats and intimidation against the owner of the juice bar, Ali Issawi, after the latter was alleged online to be a supporter of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. According to newspaper accounts, Haddad openly threatened Assad supporters, saying people should “crush them down with our feet,” and demanded Issawi donate money to Syria. Reports suggest that Haddad influenced the individuals who later attacked Issawi’s shop.

In 2014, Haddad became the spokesperson of the Australian branch of the German-based Millatu Ibrahim (“Religion of Abraham”) organisation – which had been outlawed by Berlin two years earlier. ASIO cancelled the passports of leading Millatu Ibrahim members in Australia, and the bank accounts the group used to channel funds to Syria and to Egypt, supposedly for humanitarian aid, were shut down.

Haddad told the media that more Australians should go to Syria to join jihadist groups there: “Even if it’s a thousand [Australians going to Syria to fight and give aid to Islamist groups], I think it should be double that.” He begged to go to Syria himself to join ISIS and challenged the Australian Prime Minister at the time, Tony Abbott, to revoke his citizenship to enable the trip.

In January 2015, the police raided Haddad’s home in Leppington in western Sydney, uncovering weapons, a machete hidden under his bed, ISIS DVDs (including with sermons by the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi) and an ISIS flag, along with dozens of newspaper clippings about counter-terrorism operations and arrests in Australia. He escaped a prison sentence despite having been caught in illegal possession of three weapons (two tasers and a can of capsicum spray) hidden in his house.

Haddad also collected donations to help convicted terrorists held in Australia (called the “Brothers Behind Bars” campaign), including for Sydneysider Hamdi Alqudsi, who was charged with aiding at least six men to get to Syria and join ISIS. In 2019, while still serving his six-year sentence in jail, Alqudsi was also charged with several counts of terrorism and with leading a terror cell in Australia.

Haddad’s radicalism was even too much for another Australian Sunni extremist organisation often featured in past exposes in this magazine, Ahl As-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (ASWJ, translates as “The family of the way of the prophet, the Sunnah, and his Companions”). In 2016, Haddad was banned from ASWJ’s Revesby Mosque in Sydney.

Yet Haddad continues to preach his ideology in mosques and online. According to MEMRI, he has recently “expanded his online presence, sharing content on platforms such as Telegram, Instagram, SoundCloud, and YouTube, in addition to his website,” including promoting content by the pro-ISIS British preacher Anjem Choudury.

A central idea in Haddad’s teaching is to urge Muslims to re-establish the Islamic empire (Caliphate) to subdue all humanity to Islam. In a video recently posted (Feb. 25) on his social media account, Haddad called on all Muslims to rebuild the Caliphate so that Islam would “dominate”, explaining that Islam “will dominate all other ways of life, even if the disbelievers they hate it, [and] even if the mushrikeen [polytheists] detest it.” Haddad says in the video, “We aim to establish Allah’s religion in its entirety in every soul and upon every inch of this earth.”

 

“Allah! destroy the nation of Israel”

In May 2021, Haddad released a video on the conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza at the time, titled: “They Are The Enemy, So Beware Of Them | #Palestine”.

The video opens with images from the war in Gaza. A Jihadi song playing in the background calls on Muslims to send their armies to fight against their enemies. While the song cries, “So where are all your armies? Please answer us,” images of Israel’s Prime Minister at the time, Binyamin Netanyahu, and of Israeli officers and soldiers appear with animated splashes of blood on them.

The song praises martyrdom and war: “When the battle becomes fierce, they [Islam’s enemies] turn into female sheep […] we wonder when Salah al-Din is coming to save us, or maybe al-Miqdad [ibn Aswad, one of Islam’s early generals], the one who loved paradise. We will never bow down to a cowardly oppressor who hunts down anyone who follows the Din [religion] of Allah!”

When Haddad first appears on the screen he talks about “what is happening to them [the Palestinians] by the hands of the Zionist Israeli Jews, the Israeli army and the Israeli police force, who for years have been doing what they were doing, but in Ramadan of this year they increased these attacks on the Muslims.”

The Palestinians, says Haddad, want to live in a land “liberated for the Muslims and for the Ummah [the global community of Muslims]” by past Muslim conquerors.

Talking about contemporary Arab leaders, Haddad states that “they are tawarid [Trojan horses], they are the enemies of Allah. They are the protectors of Israel. They are the guard dogs in the Middle East.” These leaders are reprehensible because they have “stopped” the Mujahideen (Muslim warriors) from attacking Israel, Haddad says.

Haddad encourages young Palestinians to wage war: “But there are Mujahideen today. They are the youth of Palestine! They are the youth of the West Bank. They are the youth of Gaza. They are the youth of Al-Aqsa who are protecting it! They are the heroes today. They are the warriors today […] They are fighting to make the word of Allah the highest, and the words of the disbelievers the lowest.

“What is happening in Palestine is not something old. Every year, year after year, the Zionists, the Zionist regime, the oppressive illegal State of Israel – it kills our brothers and sisters,” says Haddad.

Promoting the narrative that Jews have been ‘planted’ in the region by foreign powers, Haddad argues that the Palestinians, unlike the Jews, “did not come there a hundred years ago or so. They weren’t placed there by the UN. They existed far before any anyone else invaded their land and took over their land and oppressed their land and oppressed its people.” Haddad warns, “those who are fighting the Muslims [will] have a further and a worse punishment in the hereafter.”

Using a ghoulish metaphor, Haddad describes Israel as a butcher killing the innocent Islamic nation while claiming to be the victim. “The Ummah at the moment is like a sacrificial animal who is being brought to the slaughter, and the one doing the slaughtering is a man wearing completely white from head to toe. He’s wearing white clothing. He takes his knife, he slaughters the animal. And when the blood of the animal spills out and it spills onto the clothes, the white clothes of the slaughterer, the slaughterer returns and says – ‘Look what this animal did! Look what you have done to me. Look at the blood on me. Oh UN! Oh community of the world! Oh people across the world! Look at this blood on me, look what they have done.’ This is Israel right now. This is what it does.

“And we are that sacrificial animal. We are the animal which is being slaughtered and nobody looks at us being slaughtered.”

Israel is further demonised by Haddad as a murderous enemy of Islam and of God: “Our brothers and sisters and our children are being crushed by buildings, killed by rockets and terrorised by these enemies of Allah.

“They [Israel] have been fighting our brothers and sisters in Palestine since 1947, or if not earlier than that and they have still not been able to kill them off,” argues Haddad.

Muslims outside Palestine should have joined the battle, laments Haddad, but they are stopped by laws and state security agency oversight: “We have laws. We have borders. We have agencies, security agencies, whatever it may be that stop us from doing certain things.”

Haddad finishes by urging Muslims to “Hate it [Israel] in your heart” and calls on Allah “who is above them, who is above the warplanes – Allah! destroy the nation of Israel!” Haddad asks his followers to pray and “ask Allah to destroy these enemies of Allah.”

 

Celebrating the Death of Colin Powell

In Oct. 2021, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell passed away. Powell is remembered for his senior positions during both US wars in Iraq – in 1991 as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in 2003 as the Secretary of State during the George W Bush Administration. For Haddad, Powell’s death was a cause for celebration.

On his Telegram channel, he told followers: “We praise and thank Allah on hearing about the death of this evil individual. The amount of deaths, abuse, rape, torture and oppression at the hands of the US is forever embedded in the hearts and minds of all Muslims across the globe… May Allah intensify this individual’s punishment in the grave and in the Hellfire by 84-fold. No remorse for mass murderers and killers. My brothers and sisters, make prostration of thankfulness that this enemy will now get what he deserves from the Creator of the heavens and earth. There is no escape from Allah!!! #alhumdullilah [praise Allah].”

 

Dr. Ran Porat is an AIJAC Research Associate. He is also a Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University and a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya.

RELATED ARTICLES

India has historically had a distant relationship with Israel, but this has changed dramatically in recent years, as evidenced by the close relationship between former Israeli PM Netanyahu and Indian PM Modi (Image: Isranet)

Essay: Israel looks East

Jul 1, 2022 | Australia/Israel Review
The struggle to succeed 86-year old PA President Mahmoud Abbas is consuming Palestinian politics (Image: Shutterstock)

Does Mahmoud Abbas finally have a successor?

Jul 1, 2022 | Australia/Israel Review
Image: Shutterstock

Polls suggest yet another deadlocked election

Jul 1, 2022 | Australia/Israel Review
The UN Human Rights Council in session (Image: US Mission/Eric Bridiers/Flickr)

Deconstruction Zone: A UN Commission’s war on Israel

Jul 1, 2022 | Australia/Israel Review
(Credit: Shutterstock)

Noted and Quoted – July 2022

Jul 1, 2022 | Australia/Israel Review
Bennett with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken: Bennett’s policy has been to actively engage with the US Administration on Iran (Image: Flickr)

Will elections affect Israel’s Iran strategy?

Jul 1, 2022 | Australia/Israel Review

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

EDITIONS BY YEAR