Harun Mehicevic hits out at Australian values in Al-Furqan rants
HARUN Mehicevic, the leader of Al-Furqan Islamic Information Centre, appears to many to be a polite family man.
Since fleeing the Balkans war in the early 1990s he has carved out a life for himself in Melbourne’s Bosnian heartland of Noble Park.
But put a microphone in his hand, and 20 or 30 impressionable youths in front of him, and his deep-seated hatred of “Australian values” soon becomes apparent.
“Australian values are the values of the Kuffar (unbelievers). Your religion is not their values.
“They will not stop fighting you until you give up your religion or are martyred,” he told a gathering of his devout followers at his Springvale South bookshop.
In a recorded lecture after Australia Day — one in a series he gave in 2012 — Mr Mehicevic warned his followers not to take the oath of citizenship pledging allegiance to a “kuffar” government.
“Be careful what they ask us to say. There is no bayah (pledge) to Kuffar (unbeliever). We can only give a bayah to a Muslim leader,” Mr Mehicevic said.
“The (Australian) flag should be a warning to you that we do not belong here. It is a flag of the people of the Cross.”
He ended each lecture with a prayer that “Allah will help the mujahideen (holy warriors)” establish an Islamic State where Muslims can live with “dignity and honour”.
Now five of those with links to controversial clerics at Al-Furqan, and who may have listened to his lectures, have been arrested over an alleged plot to kill police officers.
Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright said police had concerns about Al-Furqan but “risks and opportunities” had to be balanced before any move was made to close it.
Premier Daniel Andrews said it was fair to say that the centre was well monitored.
In one of his rants, Mr Mehicevic spoke of his anger that one of his “brothers” had become a spy for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and told followers how to watch for secret informants, warning of “red flags” and the need to take “precautions”.
The cache of recordings was released just before September 2012, when Federal Police raided Al-Furqan and one of its members was charged with preparing an act of terrorism.
It has long been suspected that police rushed their 2012 raids after Al Furqan members discovered the identity of a police informant.
For a while, the firebrand cleric was part of the mainstream Noble Park Bosnian community.
But after a falling-out with the mosque’s committee, he left in a huff and became a follower of the hard line conservative and purist form of Islam known as Salafism.
Now he denounces mainstream Muslim leaders, branding them hypocrites who encourage Muslims to spy for authorities.
“If a Muslim is unemployed these imams will say there is great opportunity to get employed by ASIO to spy on the other Muslims in the Majid (mosque).”
“There are Muslims who try to please Allah and then there are Muslims who try to please the Kuffar,” he said.
“Allah created paradise for Muslims to be rewarded and hell for the Kuffar to be punished.”
He also claimed that Muslims who loved Christians and Jews were hypocrites who had more “numbers of the ASIO and federal police than they do of their (Muslim) brothers.”
Yesterday, Mr Mehicevic appeared relaxed as he entered the Springvale shop Al-Furqan calls home.
He asked photographers to take a “nice picture of him”.
He casually shrugged it off when men in a passing car screamed abuse at him.
Mr Mehicevic was briefly joined by two associates as he stood outside for about 20 minutes, saying he forgot his keys and was waiting for someone to let him in.