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Executive Council of Australian Jewry lodges complaints with Australian Human Rights Commission over Islamic preachers

Australia’s peak Jewish community body has lodged formal complaints with the country’s Human Rights Commission over speeches made by Islamic preachers in Western Sydney last year.

By Patrick StaveleyDigital Reporter

March 26, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has formally submitted two complaints with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) against two Islamic preachers over speeches where Jewish people were described as “monsters” and “criminals”.

The complaints from ECAJ were made under the provisions of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits offensive behaviour based on racial hatred.

ECAJ alleged the speeches by Wissam Haddad and Sheikh Ahmed Zoud used “derogatory generalisations about Jewish people”.

Mr Haddad’s religious organisation Al Madina Dawah Centre and Mr Zoud’s nonprofit Awqaf Australia Benevolent Fund Limited were also named in the complaints.

Through the complaints, ECAJ is aiming to have the speeches removed from the internet – as they currently remain on YouTube – a public apology from both respondents, as well as a binding commitment to ensure “similar conduct” does not happen again.

Deputy President of ECAJ, Robert Goot, told Sky News Australia's Chris Kenny the sermons containing "despicable anti-Semitic tropes" couldn't go without being challenged.

"In the absence of any prosecution under the criminal law in New South Wales, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry has instituted proceedings under the Racial Discrimination Act against two of the preachers and the organisations behind them," Mr Goot said on Monday.

"We've done that for two purposes. Firstly, to protect the honour of the Jewish community in light of the anti-Semitic statements, and secondly, to protect the future fabric of Australian society.

"We regard these events and this conduct as undermining the social cohesion, the stability and the pace of what we have grown up with as a very successful multicultural society, with different ethnicities and different faiths cooperating and living essentially peacefully together."

Co-CEO of ECAJ, Alex Ryvchin told Peta Credlin on Sky News Australia that the sermons given by both clerics represent an "extremely dangerous phenomenon".

"This isn't merely individuals spouting their own views. These are religious clerics, authorities who are listened to, whose views are adhered to by their followers. It's an extremely dangerous phenomenon," he said.

"The laws in this country, in this state, clearly are inadequate to deal with this. There has been no prosecution at all. So we thought we had to take action to protect our society and to protect our community.

"Ultimately, we're the roof body of the Jewish community, our obligation's to protect Jewish life and Jewish way of life, and we thought this legal action was sorely needed."

The footage and transcript of Mr Haddad’s sermon which took place at Al Madina Dawah Centre on November 4 is publicly available on the website Memri TV.

In his speech, Mr Haddad, using the name Abu Ousayd, said: “Towards the End of Times, when the Muslims will be fighting the Jews, the trees will speak, the stones will speak, and they will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh believer, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him'”.

Mr Zoud’s sermon on December 22 at Lakemba’s As-Sunnah mosque in southwest Sydney, accused Jewish people of raising children on “violence, terrorism and killing”.

“Who are these terrorists… these monsters… who have removed mercy from their hearts,” he said in Arabic.

“These (people) are the Jews, not all of them, but most of them.

“The most important characteristic of the Jews is that they are thirsty for bloodshed... another is betrayal and treachery.”


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