Politicians are hastening to assure the public that he represents only a tiny minority of extremists, and other Muslim leaders are busy throwing him under the bus — but would they have done so if this clip had not come to light? Is this really the first time he has ever called for violence or hatred?
An online video of a radical Islamic preacher calling for Hindus and Buddhists to be killed is being investigated by South Australian police.
The video in Arabic contains extracts from a sermon by Sheikh Sharif Hussein who was formerly employed at the Park Holme mosque in Adelaide’s south.
Sheikh Hussein quit about three years ago after concerns were raised about his extreme views.
The video was posted on an American website and has now appeared on YouTube.
It contains derogatory remarks about Jews, Hindus and Buddhists and brands former Prime Minister John Howard a war criminal.
Sheikh Hussein labels Australian soldiers “crusader pigs” and accuses them of helping British and American troops rape women in Iraq.
He also calls US President Barack Obama an “enemy of Allah”.
The name of the Islamic Da’wah Centre of SA appears at the start of the video, but the SA Islamic Society says it does not know if it was produced in Adelaide.
Police are now investigating after the video was referred to them by Liberal Senator Corey Bernardi.
“The YouTube clip is an edited version of a longer sermon. Police will examine the entire content of the sermon to gain the full context and determine whether any crime has been committed,” the statement said.
‘Disturbing, intolerable, indefensible’
Islamic Society spokesman Dr Waleed Alkhazrajy says the comments are very disturbing but insists they do not represent the view of the majority of Muslim people.
“We definitely do not approve such remarks and words and language. It’s intolerable, cannot be defended and we don’t know how and why he’s done that because it’s all edited but whatever is on the material that’s been posted on YouTube is unacceptable,” he said.
Dr Alkhazrajy says the Sheikh stopped preaching at Park Holme about three years ago after refusing to accept constraints on what he could say.
“At the time there were some comments not approved by the community and the committee,” he said.
“It came to the time [of] renegotiating the employment conditions and we put terms in the contract saying any remarks need to be made available to the committee to approve.
“That was one of the points he was not happy with.
“I think he’s just a loner now. I don’t have full information about his movements and whereabouts but from our point of view we don’t have any relationship to him.”
Parliamentary Speaker and Former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson says he raised concerns several years ago about preaching at the Park Holme mosque.
“I don’t think he’s a lone voice but he is very much a small minority and I’ve been to that mosque at least two times since and I see no evidence that the influence of his ideas continues,” he said.
Federal Police would not tell the ABC if they are checking the video for any breach of vilification laws.