Inside two Islamic bookstores
Islamic bookstores in Australia are no strangers to extremism. In 2013 the Al Risalah Islamic Bookstore in Sydney suburb Bankstown closed down following revelations of its activities in support of terror and other forms of extremism.
Back in 2005, AIJAC’s Naomi Peled exposed in her report “Jihad in the Suburbs” how the Brunswick bookstore of “The Islamic Information and Support Centre of Australia” was selling a wide range of English language publications of Saudi origin that included incitement, support for jihad and anti-Western and anti-Jewish content. This shop was associated with the fundamentalist Salafi Islamic group Ahl As-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (ASWJ). The latest hate-filled and antisemitic pronouncements and activities of this extremist group were reviewed in the cover story of the April edition of the AIR, “Jihad in the Suburbs redux.”
More than a decade after Peled’s story, we revisited two Islamic bookshops in Melbourne and Sydney, now also available online, to learn that things have arguably gone from bad to worse. The bookshops examined were “Islamic Books and Clothing” in Coburg, Victoria and “The Islamic Bookstore” in Lakemba, NSW – the latter of which is (still) affiliated with ASWJ.
First, some of the same books Peled exposed as antisemitic can still be purchased today at the bookstores examined – specifically, The Ideological Attack by Sheikh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz and Al-Walaa’ wal-Baraa by Sheikh Saalih bin Fouzan al-Fouzan. These books portray Jews and other non-Muslims in a dehumanising and discriminatory fashion, as enemies of Islam that must be beaten through holy war, terror and murder.
But it does not end here. What we discovered indicates that these Islamic bookshops may well be Australia’s leading boutique stores for everything extreme. They host and sell a mix of old and new terror-condoning, antisemitic and anti-Western publications and videos from the world’s leading ideologues of hate and terror.
Modern and classic antisemitic literature
Take for example the writings and lectures of Imram Nazar Hosein, A Muslim response to the attack on America, Jerusalem in the Qura’n and The Religion of Abraham & The State of Israel – all available in either a printed format or on DVDs at both bookstores. Hosein is an international Islamic scholar with followers across the globe, including in Australia. In his preaching Hosein consistently promotes both antisemitism and conspiracy theories against the US and Israel. In his books he calls on all Muslims to unite in waging a holy war against Israel and against Western forces in general. He blames the US, the Israeli Mossad and other Western agencies for initiating international terror (including the 9/11 attacks), while repeating numerous conspiracy theories and antisemitic fables about Zionists wanting to take over the world.
In A Muslim response to the attack on America, he writes,
“It is unlikely that a European Jew in Britain, or USA, or in the Holy Land, would want to read this little book. After all he has more important things to do – like pursuing a relentless effort that will culminate in him ruling the world from Jerusalem. In order to achieve this goal, he will have to enslave all of mankind (i.e., gentile humanity) in grinding political and economic oppression. He pursues this goal ‘by hook or by crook’ since he does not consider non-Jews (i.e., gentiles) to be a people entitled to the same standard of justice and morality to which Jews are entitled.”
If you are more a fan of the classics, why not buy a copy of Henry Ford’s landmark four-volume antisemitic work from the 1920s, The International Jew? Just head to the Islamic Bookstore online and get it for less than $50. Or for even less, you may choose to indulge yourself with the abridged version of this book which inspired generations of Jew-haters, including the Nazis. This book is still popular in the Arab world because it purports to explain, for example, why and how Jews are taking over the world, its resources and the media.
In 2012, AIJAC’s Jeremy Jones purchased Ford’s book from the same bookshop in Lakemba and noted this in his ECAJ “Antisemitism in Australia” report that year. Also featured in this report was The Islamic Ruling on the Peace Process. This book, still being sold at the bookshop today, begins with a chapter explaining how the Jews have been enemies of Islam since the days of the Prophet Muhammad and will continue to be until judgment day. Islam and the problem of Israel, also available for sale at the bookshop today, argues with respect to Israel that, “the existence of any Jewish autonomy, let alone a state […] is the crux of the matter,” as Jones noted.
Meanwhile, the description of The Day of Wrath – Is the intifadha of Rajab only the beginning, appearing on one of the bookshops’ website, is also revealing: “This booklet was written only to outline terms of engagement with the theoretical foundations of Zionism in its two facets: Jewish Zionism and Christian Zionism, the enemy which has distracted the world, and filled the airwaves as well as books with talk of Biblical Prophecy – especially since the latest intifadha.”
The world’s leading hate preachers on DVD
The selection of lectures and videos featured on DVDs available at the two bookshops seems designed to expose Australians to most of the world’s leading extremist speakers – many of whom have been jailed or banned from various countries because of their hate speech.
• Abdullah Hakim Quick – in 2010 described Jews and Christians as “filthy” and advocated the execution of homosexuals.
• Zakir Naik – founder of the ironically-named Peace TV which is reported to reach 200 million people around the world. Labelled “The Hate Preacher” Naik advocates a broad range of extremist views targeting Jews (Jews “control America” and are the “strongest in enmity to Muslims”) and homosexuals (subject to the death penalty) and is considered a supporter of terror, with some of his followers joining ISIS in Syria.
• Tareq Al-Suwaidan – a Kuwaiti supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has a long history of anti-Israeli and antisemitic public statements that led the US to ban him from entry in 2000 after he called for Jihad to liberate Palestine. During operation ‘Protective Edge’ in July 2014, Al-Suwaidan gave a sermon to Hamas members, where he demanded that all Muslims should teach their children from birth “the hatred of the sons of Zion. We hate them. They are our enemies. We should instil this in the souls of our children, until a new generation arises and wipes them off the face of the earth… Each and every one of us, when leaving this hall, should be contemplating a plan how to wipe out Israel.”
• Ahmed Deedat – A famous Islamic scholar who created a large volume of material with anti-Christian and anti-Jewish content for his followers. He had ties with Osama bin Laden. France has forbidden the sale and distribution of his books since 1994 because of the violently antisemitic and racial incitement elements of his work.
• Bilal Philips – The Jamaican-born, Qatari resident preaches on Naik’s Peace TV. He has been banned from travelling to several countries, Australia included, for his views and support of terror. He has inspired suicide bombers.
• Khalid Yasin – American born Muslim scholar, who labelled Israel “a criminal state” engaged in terror. He is known for voicing conspiracy theories about the West. For example, in line with his hard-line approach against gays and lesbians, who he defined as perverse and criminal, Yasin believes that AIDS is man-made, possibly by the US. He also claims that the World Health Organisation “and Christian groups” spread diseases among the people of Africa.
• Yusuf Estes – A Texan convert from Christianity to Islam, Estes was denied entrance to Singapore due to (among other issues) his blunt anti-Christian and anti-Jewish messages (for example, forbidding Muslims to greet Jews or Christians on their holidays). Estes is also a fervent anti-Zionist.
• Yvonne Ridley – The former British reporter who was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 and released only after she promised to convert to Islam. An online “star”, Ridley voices extreme anti-Western and anti-Zionist views, and is a staunch supporter of Al-Qaeda and Hamas. She labels Muslim terrorists “martyrs” and has praised such figures as Al-Qaeda Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. She makes no effort to hide her antisemitism. For example, in a 2009 speech she said that “The Zionists have tentacles everywhere”. When she was a senior member of the now defunct extreme-left Respect Party in the UK, she called for all Zionists to be hunted down and kicked out of her constituency.
• Adnan Oktar (aka Harun Yahya) – A Turkish Islamic creationist, TV preacher and cult leader. Oktar is a fan and advocator of conspiracy theories, especially against Jews and Freemasons. Oktar’s anti-Zionist hatred is derived from his view that the Zionists are “atheists”. He is the Honorary President of Bilim Arastırma Vakfı (BAV, literally, “Science Research Foundation”) which published in 1996 the Holocaust denial book titled The Holocaust Deception. He later denied any involvement in the book and voiced moderate views of reconciliation and acceptance towards Jews. Yet, in 2009 the Anti-Defamation League noted that Oktar’s website includes quotes from Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy and The Holocaust Deception.
• Mufti Ismail Menk – The Salafist Grand Mufti of Zimbabwe, he was banned from entering Singapore after ruling it is a blasphemy for Muslims to greet believers of other faiths during their festivals. Menk also came under fire in the UK for his remarks about homosexuality (only to claim later that he is not homophobic). Western civilisation, according to Menk, is satanic and pagan, while he claims almost all Western pop stars “sacrifice doves backstage”, and engage in “Satanic behaviour. They all belong to a cult.”
• Siraj Wahhaj – African-American imam of Al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, New York and the leader of The Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA). Wahhaj appeared on a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. During the trial of the blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, Wahhaj provided testimony defending the accused. Abdel-Rahman was later convicted of responsibility for the plot to blow up New York landmarks. In 1999, Wahhaj was quoted as saying that the FBI and CIA are the “real terrorists”.
One might argue that in this day and age of the internet, extreme content of all sorts and formats is just a click away. Yet this should not translate into a free licence to sell and promote extremism in Australian society. Australian multiculturalism requires responsibilities towards certain shared core values, as well as rights, and we should not be tolerant towards antisemitism, promotion of hatred and rejection of other members of society, or rejection of the values that grant Australian society its strength.
It is clear that, despite repeated exposure in the past, these two bookshops continue to promote Islamist extremist material completely inconsistent with these values.
Dr. Ran Porat is a researcher at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC) at Monash University.