FIERY IMAM INVITED TO SPEAK IN AUSTRALIA BY BARNEY SWARTZ
IT’S billed as the ”largest, the biggest and the best-ever Islamic event in the history of Australia” – a three-day festival for an expected 20,000 Muslims – and it will be held in Melbourne in March. But the chief attraction is a Saudi imam who has called for violent jihad.
The description above comes from the Australian Islamic Peace Conference Facebook page. It is an extraordinary coup for organiser Waseem Razvi to entice Dr Abdul Rahman al-Sudais who, as the man in charge of Islam’s two holiest mosques in Mecca and Medina, could be considered the world’s foremost imam.
He will be one of many international speakers at the conference – endorsed by the Islamic Council of Victoria, Preston Mosque and leading Muslim groups – in the lead-up to which 1000 local volunteers are being trained to carry out ”dawah” or proselytism for Islam.
But Dr Mark Durie, an Anglican priest, believes Dr al-Sudais should be refused a visa because he has called for the annihilation of the Jews, whom he called the ”scum of humanity”, ”rats of the world”, ”prophet killers” and ”pigs and monkeys”.
Dr Durie, who was an expert witness on the Christian side in the Islamic Council of Victoria case against Catch the Fire Ministries, said that Dr al-Sudais was famous in the Muslim world for his recitations, ”the Pavarotti of the Koran”.
”But he’s not a figure of conciliation and unity, that’s for sure. I’m concerned promoting him in Australia will create a channel of influence for his ideas on Jews and jihad.”
Mr Razvi was surprised on Tuesday to hear of the allegations against Dr al-Sudais.
”But he’s just one speaker, and all he will do is recitation [of the Koran]. For us the public speakers have to be in English. And his final confirmation has not yet come.”
Mr Razvi, 32 and founder of the Islamic Research and Education Academy, said he had three goals in staging the festival. The first was to unite Islamic organisations on one platform, because it would encourage the next generation of Muslims to see the leaders and scholars working together.
The second goal was to build bridges between the Muslim community and mainstream Australia. Unlike traditional Islamic conferences, it had a strong multifaith element, including invitations to Melbourne’s Anglican and Catholic archbishops and Protestant, Buddhist and Hindu leaders to speak. ”This way the Muslim community gets to hear the other side, and if there is any isolation of either side this can break the ice,” he said.
The third goal was to build bridges to secular authorities, with invitations to federal and state leaders, police, the lord mayor and others.
His advice to Dr Durie was: ”Attend the conference and see. You will come out with a different view.”
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