|Jew-hating imam to be speaker|
|THE imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, who has called for the annihilation of Jews, is scheduled to give an|
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Jew-hating imam to be speaker THE OZ TODAY
The attendance of Abdul Rahman al-Sudais will come despite calls from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and several Christian groups for the imam to be denied entry to Australia.
Sheik Sudais, who has called for violent jihad, has been denied entry to the US and Canada after describing Jews as "the scum of humanity" and "pigs and monkeys". The 53-year-old's name and face do not appear on the event leaflets, which were posted on the conference Facebook page on Sunday evening.
Instead, they denote him as "Imam of Makkah" and show the Saudi in profile, with a cloth obstructing his facial features.
They also note that conference guests "are subject to visa approval as well as their personal circumstances". Federation of Islamic Councils assistant secretary Keysar Trad said there was no comparison to be made between calls for Dutch anti-Islam activist Geert Wilders to be denied a visa on his recent visit to Australia, and similar calls regarding Sheik Sudais.
"One person may have made comments in anger. The other has made it his personal mission to go around the world telling lies about Muslims," Mr Trad said.
An Immigration Department spokesman was unable to confirm whether or not Sheik Sudais had been granted a visa for privacy reasons, but he said anyone who wished to enter Australia must be assessed against character and health requirements.
"It is not illegal to hold radical views, but visitors to Australia should be aware we do have laws against inciting violence and racial vilification," he said.
Other invited conference guests include Australian Sheik Abu Hamza, who ridiculed laws that prohibit rape within marriage, and Sheik Assim al-Hakeem, from the United Arab Emirates, who has called for homosexuality to be punished by death and on his website compares gay people to "animals that seek only their sexual satisfaction through their weird ways".
Sheik Sudais is not listed among the speakers on the conference website, which touts the occasion as the "largest, biggest and best ever Islamic event in the history of Australia" and says it aims to build links with other faiths and the broader Australian society.
Conference organiser Waseem Rizvi, of the Islamic Research and Educational Academy, had previously been recorded boasting that Julia Gillard was among guests who had accepted invitations to speak at the conference.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister yesterday confirmed she had received an invitation, but conference organisers had been advised she was unable to attend.
Ms Gillard will be in Melbourne on Saturday morning, attending an event at Essendon Airport, two suburbs away from the three-day conference. Conference organisers have declined repeated requests for comment from several media organisations including The Australian.
Mr Trad said Sheik Sudais was renowned for his recitations of the Koran.
"People can change and sometimes they say comments out of anger which they would retract when they calm down," he said.
"I would hope he would retract these comments and reconcile with the people he may have offended."
Posted by Geoff Seidner at 10:19 am