Muslims to seek restraining order on hardline cleric
Richard Kerbaj-The Australian
MUSLIM leaders in the nation’s capital will take out a restraining order against a hardline cleric who is accused of inciting violence and “anti-Western” sentiment among his followers.
The move by the Islamic society of ACT to ban Sheik Mohammed Swaiti from Canberra’s Abu Bakr Mosque comes after a Muslim leader was bashed by a group of the cleric’s supporters.
The council’s secretary, Kurt Kennedy, yesterday told The Australian he was set upon by nine men aged in their 20s, including Palestinian-born Sheik Swaiti’s son, at the mosque’s front entrance last Friday.
The bashing followed the council’s decision to remove the imam from his position as the mosque’s spiritual head. Mr Kennedy had announced Sheik Swaiti would no longer deliver Friday sermons.
Sheik Swaiti ‘will be Imam till he dies’
Shortly after the announcement Sheik Swaiti stood in front of his worshippers and screamed “I am the imam of the mosque, I will be here until the day I die”, Islamic Society of ACT vice-president Mohammed Berjaoui said yesterday.
* Sounds familiar? Recently Sheik al Hilali, otherwise know as ‘catmeat sheik’ was also ‘sacked’ from the Lakemba mosque but is not only still there, he recently proclaimed that ‘only Allah can sack him’…
Waiting for Allah…
Mr Kennedy, 35, who was pushed and threatened by Sheik Swaiti’s followers inside the mosque following his announcement, was beaten up while waiting for a lift home. He was treated for cuts on his face and head at Canberra Hospital.
“There was a lot of blood coming out of the cut across my left eye-brow,” said Mr Kennedy, who converted to Islam 11 years ago. “What sort of teaching (has Swaiti) been doing to raise young children like this?”
* What kind of teaching? Shurely nothing that’s not in the Koran and the Sunnah…
Mr Berjaoui yesterday said his organisation would this week seek a restraining order against Sheik Swaiti, who is being investigated over claims he failed to pay income tax on thousands of dollars he allegedly received from the Saudi embassy.
“We will ban the imam and his followers from coming to the mosque,” Mr Berjaoui said. “Our aim is to take out a restraining order, because he’s the one who is inciting violence.”
* “Kill the infidels, kill the Jews”- standard sermon in any mosque, why change now?
The Islamic council’s push to replace Sheik Swaiti with a full-time moderate Turkish-born imam, Yahya Atay, came after The Weekend Australian reported last month that Sheik Swaiti praised mujahideen (Muslim holy warriors) in his sermon.
A defiant Sheik Swaiti, who works full time at the Australian Tax Office, rejected the council’s notice to vacate his office by last Friday, Mr Berjaoui said.
The Pakistani embassy in Canberra backed Sheik Swaiti to stay on as spiritual leader in a letter obtained by The Australian.
* Is Sheik Swaiti an agent of Pakistan or of Saudi Arabia or is he a double agent?
The council wrote back to the Pakistani embassy advising it against meddling in community affairs. Council president Sabrija Poskovic wrote to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, urging action against the embassy.
Mr Berjaoui accused Sheik Swaiti of preventing Canberra’s Muslim community from integrating into the mainstream.
* He is a good muslim, no doubt… ‘don’t take unbelievers for friends or protectors’- sez the Koran…
Sheik Swaiti has been spiritual leader at Abu Bakr mosque, which is run by the Islamic Society of ACT, for 13 years.
* Actually, there is no spirituality in Islam. Check it out…
The tax office, which refused to comment on its inquiry into Sheik Swaiti, is investigating allegations that he failed to declare clerical allowances of up to $US30,000 ($36,000) a year, allegedly paid to him by the Saudi Government’s Dawah (donations) Office.
Sheik Swaiti could not be reached yesterday.