Sunday, August 26, 2007

Radical Islamist Cleric Returns to Australian Mosque

Great news from Down Under.

Sacked hardline cleric forces his way back
A HARDLINE Islamic cleric who was sacked by moderate Muslims for praising jihadists has forced his way back into Canberra's only mosque to preach anti-western messages.

Mohammed Swaiti used his predominantly Palestinian and Jordanian support base to topple the Islamic leadership in charge of Abu Bakr Mosque, allowing him to continue preaching Wahabbism -- a fundamentalist strand of Islam espoused by Osama bin Laden.

Islamic Society of ACT president Sabrija Poskovic, whose organisation is in charge of the mosque at Yarralumla, said yesterday he was forced out after receiving threats from Sheik Swaiti's followers. He told The Weekend Australian that the imam and his admirers would see his return as a win for extremist Islam in Australia.

"They took over the mosque by force, by argument, by screaming, by calling us names," said Mr Poskovic. "There is no point arguing and fighting with him and his supporters any more."

Canberra's Muslim leadership fears the return of Sheik Swaiti -- who is being investigated by the tax office for allegedly failing to pay tax on thousands of dollars in clerical allowances he is accused of receiving from the Saudi Government -- would further divide the local community and threaten to radicalise more young followers of Islam.

Mr Poskovic was planning to set up a prayer hall that would be used as an alternative to the mosque by moderate Muslims ideologically opposed to the Palestinian-born Sheik Swaiti.

A prominent figure in Canberra's Muslim community, Mohammed Berjaoui, yesterday attacked national security authorities for overlooking Sheik Swaiti's anti-western sermons and ignoring his supporters' violent actions, which allegedly led to the bashing of the Islamic society's secretary, Kurt Kennedy, in May.

Mr Kennedy resigned from his position last month.

"They used violence and force ... to control a mosque, which is something that normally happens in the Middle East," Mr Berjaoui said. "It gives the message that they used force and violence to control the society and police and authorities did not stop them. They can do whatever they want and get away with it."
That pretty much sums up the Islamist mindset. Do whatever you want and nobody will put up a fight.

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