And all with government approval.
Can you imagine if you were white, religious or not, and called for the slaughter of Hindus, Buddhists, blacks, Asians – whatever. Bet there would be quick movement from the police to file charges. But if you are a Muslimit’s part of your religion to be hateful and perfectly fine.
Adelaide-based Shiekh Sharif Hussein free to preach race hate
Sheikh Sharif Hussein during his videotaped sermon.
POLICE say they will not act against a radical preacher who publicly prayed for the slaughter of Hindus and Buddhists, leaving him free to spread his messages of hatred.
A sermon videotaped in South Australia last year also showed Sheikh Sharif Hussein accusing Australian troops, whom he called “crusader pigs”, of helping to rape tens of thousands of women in Iraq, but SA police say he has broken no laws.
This has prompted outspoken SA conservative senator Cory Bernardi to demand changes to race-hate laws, or the way they are enforced.
He says the police decision proves that Australian freedoms are “being used against us” and claims that any similar attack on the sheik’s fundamentalist Muslim ideologies would be met with outrage.
Buddhists and Hindus have expressed shock at the police decision and say the sheik will lash out again.
According to a translation of the Arabic video, published by the US-based Middle East Media Research Institute, the sheikh publicly prayed: “Oh Allah, count the Buddhists and the Hindus one by one. Oh Allah, count them and kill them to the very last one”.
A police investigation was launched after The Advertiser last year revealed details of one lecture recording, believed to have been delivered, in part, at the Islamic Da’wah Centre of SA, in Torrensville.
In the video clip, posted online in August last year by the research institute, the preacher also attacked Jews, former prime minister John Howard and US President Barack Obama, speaking in Arabic.
Senator Bernardi said the fact Sheikh Hussein had not been prosecuted showed that Australia’s freedoms were “being used against us to further a dangerous cause”.
“I can only imagine the political and legal repercussions if similar statements were made about adherents to Mr Hussein’s ideology,” he said.
“Frankly, the Australian public have had enough of the double standards that seem to apply to people like Sharif Hussein. They appear free to spread their poison, while those who challenge their world view are condemned as bigots or racists.”
A South Australia Police spokesman said the matter had been investigated and that “in this instance, no criminal offending occurred and no charges (were) laid. No further comment will be made on this matter.”
The controversial Senator Bernardi has previously come under fire for his views on banning the burqa and what he calls the “totalitarian” ideology of Islam, as well for as his views on abortion and “traditional families”.
His comments come as debate rages over free speech. The Government wants to repeal part of the Racial Discrimination Act that makes it illegal to insult, offend or humiliate people based on their race. It says protections against racial vilification would still be strong enough.
Senator Bernardi said that if South Australian vilification laws, or the way they were enforced, did not stop Sheikh Hussein, they need to change.
“We are now faced with a challenge for law makers and law enforcers alike,” he said.
“If our anti-vilification laws can’t or won’t be upheld against someone who encourages the killing of those who don’t subscribe to a particular religious and political system, I can only conclude things need to change.”
State Attorney-General John Rau pointed to the Government’s policy on the Racial Discrimination Act.
“Presumably Mr Bernardi is outraged that (federal Attorney-General) Mr Brandis proposes to water down relevant federal laws further,” Mr Rau said.
Sheik Hussein, who in the video singled out Mr Howard and Mr Obama, had preached at the Islamic Da’wahCentre of SA and was previously connected to the Marion mosque in Park Holme.
He has previously been under surveillance by the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Federal Police.
In 2007, the Federal Government blocked $250,000 in funding from Saudi Arabia for the Park Holme mosque, amid “security concerns”.
It is not known if Sheik Hussein has preached in SA since the video went public last year. His friends have claimed the video was heavily edited and misrepresented him, while he has declined to comment.
“I have told you many times before I don’t want to do any interviews,” he told The Advertiser. The Islamic Society of SA has condemned his comments in the past but declined to comment when approached by The Advertiser.
Australian Buddhist Councils Federation president Kim Hollow was flabbergasted that Sheikh Hussein could “get away with” his comments.
“It is disappointing … because they would have had to look at the video,” he said.
“I personally thought it was abhorrent. How someone could get away with it is beyond me. Chances are he will lash out again, I would be surprised if he doesn’t.
“It just beggars belief. It is just horrible to have people make these sorts of statements in this day and age. It is just ridiculous. Words escape me.”
Mr Hollow has previously said that Tunisian-born Mr Hussein should be deported.
Hindu council spokesman Himanshu Pota urged the sheik to attend mediation.
“We don’t know the letter of the law, so we leave it to the police and the courts to enforce it the way they consider it proper,” he said.
“But we do understand the spirit of the law and we are confident that once that it is communicated to the Sheikh, he will change his views.” he said.
Balesh Singh Dhankhar, the president of the Overseas Friends of BJP Australia, an Indian group whose membership is mainly Hindu, said he took the sermon as a “very serious threat”.
“I would like to very strongly condemn the dropping of charges into this matter and urge the law enforcement agencies and South Australian leader of community to take strong stand against Mr Hussein.”