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Jewish community investigating legal action against hate preachers

Recent sermons include description of Jews as bloodthirsty monsters, denial of the Hamas massacre, and calls for jihad.
Deborah Stone
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Bearded man wearing white hat and white robe, gesturing

Sheikh Ahmad Zoud delivers a sermon at Masjid As-Sunnah Mosque in Sydney on 22 December (Masjid As-Sunnah)

Published: 8 January 2024

Last updated: 26 March 2024

Recent sermons from the radical imams include description of Jews as bloodthirsty monsters, denial of the Hamas massacre, and calls for jihad.

Australian authorities have failed to act to prevent Islamic preachers in Sydney from disseminating views which incite hatred against Jews.

ECAJ President Daniel Aghion says the Jewish community is “deeply disappointed and distressed” that no action had been taken in response to serious incidents of hate speech since October 7.

Aghion said if governments didn't act, the Jewish community will itself take legal action against the hate preachers. The ECAJ is currently taking legal advice on appropriate action to prevent further cases.

“Whilst we still have hope that the relevant authorities will act on these matters, our organisation will pursue the legal remedies that are available to us against those who have preached hate and promoted violence. We must protect our own community. In doing so, we will be protecting all Australians from racist behaviour,” Aghion said.

"The most important characteristic of the Jews is that they are bloodthirsty. They love to shed blood."

Imam Ahmed Zoud, in a sermon delivered at a Lakemba mosque

Several cases of incitement and hate speech have occurred since the October 7 Hamas massacre and the start of the subsequent Israel-Hamas War in Gaza. The incidents involve a small number of radical Islamic preachers in Sydney but neither the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils nor the Australian National Imams Council has spoken up against the offending imams.

In late December, Imam Ahmad Zoud delivered a Friday sermon at Masjid As-Sunnah Mosque in Lakemba entitled "The truth of the Jews and their characteristics". He described Jews as criminals, terrorists, and monsters.

"Who are these criminals who perpetrate these crimes? Who are the terrorists who act and behave this way? Who are these monsters from whose hearts mercy has been ripped out? My people, these are the Zionists. These are the Jews. However, not all of the Jews are like that; just most of them. The most important characteristic of the Jews is that they are bloodthirsty. They love to shed blood. From an early age, they raise their children on terrorism, violence, and killing," Zoud said, in the sermon which was streamed live on the mosque's Facebook page.

The Al Madina Dawah Centre in southwest Sydney has hosted several of the offending sermons, either live or online. Wissam Haddad, also known as Abu Ousayd, gave a sermon at the Centre in November where he described the end of times as a time when Muslims will kill Jews. "They will say ‘oh Muslim, there is a yahud (Arabic for Jew) behind me, come and kill him’,” said Haddad.

In other sermons, Haddad has described Jews as "descendants of pigs and monkeys" and declared "the sword is the only way to deal with people who reject Allah".

"This repeated hate-mongering against Jews over the last three months has elicited only a shameful silence from the Australian National Imams Council."

ECAJ President Daniel Aghion

A preacher identified only as "Brother Ismail" gave a sermon at the Centre describing jihad as the only solution for Muslims and saying of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, “Allah exposed his lies when he said Israel had the right to defend itself and labelled Hamas as terrorists”.

A preacher known as “Brother Muhammad” called for a Muslim army and an Islamic state with sharia law and for a "final solution" to the Israel-Palestine conflict, a phrase which echoes the Nazi final solution of the Holocaust.

“On any view, these statements are grossly antisemitic”, said ECAJ President Daniel Aghion. “One can only imagine the entirely justifiable outcry if any such rank vilification were expressed from a synagogue pulpit about Muslims.

"Yet this repeated hate-mongering against Jews over the last three months has elicited only a shameful silence from the Australian National Imams Council, many other faith community leaders, and from other parts of civil society. They should know better.

“The hate preaching must stop now,” Aghion said. “There are multiple ethnic and faith communities in Australia and the last thing we need is for our peaceful and cohesive society to be ruined by the importation into Australia of the hatreds and violence of overseas conflicts."

Aghion said if existing laws were not adequate to address these cases, there was an urgent need for law reform.

"Governments bear the primary responsibility of maintaining peace and security in the community by taking decisive action to stop anyone seeking to set Australian against Australian,” he said.


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About the author

Deborah Stone

Deborah Stone is Editor-in-Chief of TJI. She has more than 30 years experience as a journalist and editor, including as a reporter and feature writer on The Age and The Sunday Age, as Editor of the Australian Jewish News and as Editor of ArtsHub.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

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