Australia/Israel Review

Yet more extremist voices in Australia exposed

Dec 18, 2020 | Ran Porat

Australian Hizb Ut-Tahrir leader Isma’il al-Wahwah
Australian Hizb Ut-Tahrir leader Isma’il al-Wahwah


Continuing my ongoing coverage of this topic, below are yet more examples from the past few weeks of extremist, antisemitic and hateful comments in the Arabic language media in Australia, and amongst local Australian Muslim voices. These toxic messages include both vehement anti-Israel declarations and calls for violence in light of the tension between the French leadership and extremist Islamists following recent Islamist terror attacks in that country.


Australian Muslim Times (AMUST)

Responding to the killing of Iran’s chief nuclear weapons program scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on Nov. 27, the Australian Muslim Times’ (AMUST) December editorial claimed, “Israel gets away with murder behind the cloak of antisemitism.” The paper’s editor, Zia Ahmad, argued that “While the notorious Israeli secret service Mossad led by its director for the last five years, Yossi Cohen is stealthily wheeling and dealing with Arab autocrats coercing then (sic) into normalising relations with Israel, it keeps assassinating civilians all over the world that it considers a threat to the Jewish state.”

In an argument reminiscent of antisemitic tropes about the wealth and power of Jews, Ahmed concludes that “Treatment of Israel, as the holy cow who can not (sic) be touched in spite of all its excesses and its secret service that can get away with murder, by the rich and powerful supporters of Israel in Western capitals is immoral, unjust and illegal and must be challenged.”

The December AMUST edition also featured an article analysing the results of the US presidential elections, by Dr Aslam Abdullah, stating that “The US does not exist to patronise dictators, and human rights violators in India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, or any part of the world. The primary obligation of a US Administration is to serve Americans and not the state of Israel or the multinational corporations.”

Toeing the same line, the editors of AMUST chose to publish in the paper’s readers’ comments section a comment by “Burhan”, labelling both US vice president-elect Kamala Harris and former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley – “Slave[s] of America and Israel.”


Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia

Isma’il al-Wahwah (also known as “Abu Anas”), leader of the Australian branch of the pan-Islamic Hizb Ut-Tahrir (HuT) movement, has often made headlines with his hateful rhetoric, peddling of conspiracy theories and antisemitic views, including Holocaust denial and calls for the destruction of Israel. Recently, he also blamed Israel for the Beirut blast and labelled the Jewish state a “cancer”.

In October, al-Wahwah posted on social media his video, “A Message to the Officers and Armies!” In it, he urges soldiers in Arab states to answer the call to serve the Islamic nation, “Otherwise, being underground is a million times better for you than to be on Earth’s surface. By Allah, you do not deserve the air that you breathe.”

Al-Wahwah calls on these Muslim soldiers to free Al-Aqsa (Jerusalem). “O Quds … It’s crying with tears of blood. Palestine is crying tears of blood!” If they fail to “bring the battle to a decisive end and clear this darkness from the Ummah”, warns Al-Wahwah, “by Allah you [Muslim soldiers] do not deserve to be humans!” Glorifying death, he promises Muslims serving in military roles, “Jannah [heaven] awaits you! The glory of Islam awaits you! Saving the Ummah awaits you! Liberating Al-Aqsa awaits you!”

During a protest in Sydney against French President Emmanuel Macron on Nov. 7, leading HuT Australia preacher, Wassim Doureihi, conspiratorially stated that the terror attack in Vienna on Nov. 2 by an Islamic State sympathiser was not what it seemed. Doureihi claimed that the person accused of the attack was “miraculously” released from prison by the Austrian authorities, who then allowed him to purchase weapons and to freely enter Austria from abroad.

Hinting that the Austrian Government, and other governments, are behind both this attack and most other Islamist terror attacks, Doureihi proclaimed, “[T]his is a story that we hear in this country and in so many other countries, that people here in Australia who are monitored more than anyone in this country miraculously appear in places and at times that are convenient only to the state, only to the government.”


Sheikh Youssef Nabha

Shi’ite preacher Sheikh Youssef Nabha of the Arrahman Mosque in Sydney is a supporter of the Iranian regime and a fervent anti-Zionist. Last year he blamed the bushfires in Australia on the close relations between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Zionists in Australia. Despite this outlandish claim, he was recently awarded a special honorary certificate from NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane.

Nabha used his weekly Friday sermon on Oct. 23 to attack Macron, stating that “What the French President and his hateful media did [condemning extremist Islamists] is no less in criminality than the criminal act” of the Jihadi terror attack by Muslim fanatics against people outside a church in Nice (Oct. 29).

Nabha further argued that the West is in fact responsible for the terror attacks by Muslims, because of what he claimed was Western support for Islamic terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

“It is no secret that what the West is suffering [from] now is a result of their support of the Takfiri [infidel] movements that have distorted Islam and made both Muslims and Christians suffer from their crimes in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon… Muslims will not accept the West using the Takfiri criminals again to offend the messenger of humanity Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) desecrate the sanctities of the Muslims and insult them,” he concluded.


Wisam Hadad

According to the US-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Sydney-based Wisam Hadad is “a central figure in the radical Salafi and jihadi community in Australia and among English-speaking jihadi followers on social media.”

His video titled, “The Ultimate Response On The Insults Of Our Prophet”, was posted on his social media accounts and accumulated close to 1,500 views on the Salafi Central YouTube channel. It starts with a short excerpt from a French ISIS song called “Blood for Blood”.

As expected, Hadad attacks President Macron for his condemnation of extremist Islam, arguing that freedom of speech in the West is hypocritical because it allows people to “insult the Messenger of Allah and the Muslims” on the one hand, while forbidding others, for example, to defame the Anzac forces in Australia. He also notes that “in some countries of the world, including this one [Australia] it is illegal to speak about the Jews that were killed in the Holocaust, killed by Hitler. It is punishable in these Western countries to speak against them in a bad way or in a bad term” and that could lead to jail. “So you can see that this freedom of speech they [the West] talk about is not that free,” he claimed.

Hadad calls on Muslims to react to attacks on the prophet, which are punishable by death both for Muslims and non-Muslims: “My dear brothers, we should know that we should react in whatever way [we can] […] A person who insults [the prophet] – Muslim or not – is to be put to the sword… And we do not and we should not hide away from this.”


Dr. Ran Porat is a research associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, a research fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya and a research associate at the Future Directions International Research Institute, Western Australia.


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