Sydney Jewish leaders are demanding the head of controversial Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir be prosecuted under anti-discrimination laws for inciting hatred against Jewish people in a fiery speech last year.
Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, wrote to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board on Monday, urging them to take legal action against radical Islamic leader Ismail al-Wahwah.
On July 25, after a public rally in Sydney against Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip, Mr al-Wahwah called for jihad against Jews to a large gathering in Lakemba, saying in Arabic: “The entire world suffers from the children of Israel today and complains about them.”
The Muslim cleric continued: “Who will set the world free from the children of Israel so that the world will be able to say that it has rid itself of that hidden evil?”
Standing in front of a young boy holding a black and white flag, he then said: “This mission will be accomplished by none but you, O Muslims … The ember of jihad against the Jews will continue to burn. The struggle and the jihad will continue until the words of Allah come true.”
A video with English subtitles of Mr al-Wahwah’s inflammatory speech, which was posted on YouTube, also records the unseen crowd chanting, “Khaybar, Khaybar” throughout – part of an anti-Semitic “war cry” that emerged during the historic battle of Khaybar in which Jews were massacred.
The extract is repeated by Mr Alhadeff in his letter to the anti-discrimination board. He said the speech was a thinly veiled call for violence against Jewish people on the basis of their race, “as Khaybar was the scene of a 7th century massacre of Jews in what is now Saudi Arabia”.
The “unrestrained venom” and “poisonous rant” not only fuelled hatred against Jews, but also threatened physical harm, he said in a separate opinion piece.
“His diatribe was not anti-Israel sentiment, as some supporters insist, but vile and crude Jew-hatred reminiscent of last year’s anti-Israel rallies that descended into blatant anti-Semitism, complete with Nazi swastikas and placards evoking racist images that had nothing to do with the Middle East,” Mr Alhadeff wrote.
A spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir, Uthman Badar, told Fairfax Media last month that the comments were in response to Israel’s indiscriminate and “brutal” attacks on the Gaza Strip which killed hundreds of innocent people.
“The cheap allegation of ‘hate speech’ is a McCarthyist attempt to silence dissent,” Mr Badar said. “It is support for Israeli atrocities, such as that afforded by the Prime Minister, that spreads hate, not principled opposition thereof.”
More than 1400 civilians, mainly Gazans, were killed in the seven-week Israel-Gaza conflict, according to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
In a national security speech delivered in February, Prime Minister Tony Abbott assured the public he would crack down on Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Mr Abbott has previously expressed frustration the government could not proscribe the radical Muslim group under current laws.
Hizb ut-Tahrir chapters in Germany, Russia and several Middle Eastern countries have been banned, but the ones in Britain and Australia continue to operate.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald