Feiz Mohammad

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Feiz Mohammad
Born 1970[1]
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Residence Sydney, Australia
Alma mater Islamic University of Medinah (Saudi Arabia)
Known for Islamic fundamentalism
Religion Muslim

Feiz Mohammad (born 1970) is an Australian Muslim preacher of Lebanese descent, noted for his Islamic fundamentalism. He has given lectures in which he blamed women who were rape victims for the fact that they were raped, urged young Muslims to kill infidel non-believers, called on Muslim parents to have their children die as a jihadist martyrs, called the word "Kafir" [non-Muslim], and called Jews "pigs" while laughing about killing them. He also called for the beheading of Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Mohammad was formerly the head of the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Liverpool, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. He was featured on a 2007 British television documentary called Undercover Mosque. He has been referred to as a Wahhabi.[2]

Former United States Senator Joseph Lieberman, in his book Ticking Time Bomb: Counter-Terrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government's Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack (2011), wrote that Feiz Mohammad was an example of a "virtual spiritual sanctioner" who over the internet provides a level of religious justification for Islamist terrorist violence, along the lines of Anwar al-Awlaki, Abdullah el-Faisal, and Samir Khan.[3]

Biography[edit]

Mohammad is of Lebanese origin, and was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1970.[1][4] His father is from Lebanon.[5] He is a former boxer, bodybuilder.[1][6][7] His hardline sermons, in which Mohammad denounced other religions and encouraged Muslim children to choose martyrdom, have sparked outrage from political leaders in Australia, and Europe.[8] He is a member of Sunni sect.[9]

Mohammad spent four years studying Islamic law at the Islamic University of Medinah in Saudi Arabia, and then returned to Australia.[1][10]

On 12 June 2000, Jack Roche used a video camera that he had borrowed from Mohammad to film the Israeli embassy in Canberra, Australia.[11] Roche was later convicted of conspiring to destroy the Israeli Embassy.[12]

Mohammad fled to Tripoli, Lebanon, in November 2005 to escape constant Australian Security Intelligence Organisation surveillance, and was believed to still be living there in 2007 and through at least December 2008.[1][13][14][15][16][17] He relocated to Malaysia to continue Islamic studies. He completed his studies in Malaysia, returned to Australia (in 2010, it was believed) to open a new prayer hall in Auburn.[8][18][19][20]

In July 2007, the father of Ahmad Elomar, a Muslim Australian featherweight boxer and follower of Mohammad arrested in Lebanon the prior month for alleged terrorist links, accused Mohammad of brainwashing young Muslims with a hardline version of Islam.[13][14] He said: "Sheiks like Feiz ruin people. He is not a sheik; he is brainwashing all these children. I know my religion, so I can tell him when he is wrong, but these kids believe everything he says and think it's their religion. Someone needs to stop him."[14]

Also in 2007, he established the Dawah Central centre in Auburn.[6] In 2010, it became the ASWJ Auburn; it now has a number of other locations in Sydney and elsewhere in Australia.[6]

In 2007, Australian security sources identified Mohammad as a hardliner who was preaching fundamentalist Wahabi ideology in Australia, as espoused by al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.[16] Opposition foreign spokesman Kevin Rudd said: "I would say this to Sheik Mohammed: Do not return to Australia, you are not welcome here."[4][21] The Dutch intelligence service, AIVD, said Mohammad is considered on a par with Anwar al-Awlaki.[16] By December 2008, he had been linked to convicted terrorist Australian "Jihad" Jack Roche and a number of other terror suspects.[15]

In March 2011, Mohammad returned to Australia after a six-year absence.[22] He delivered sermons at the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah centre in Auburn, on Auburn Road behind the Bakhiri Book Store, which sell religious texts.[4][23]

In July 2011, a follower of his named Wassim Fayad, a Muslim Australian, allegedly lashed a Sydney man 40 times under the name of Muslim Sharia law, as punishment for drinking alcohol.[22][24]

He is associated with and supported by the Islamic organization Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah.[8][22] He holds classes on Sharia law in a musallah behind Auburn's Bukhari House bookstore, in a building purchased in January 2011 by the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah Association, which made Mohammed its full-time Amir.[8] His Facebook page links to pages that include the "Flag of Islamic Khilafah", which advocates setting up a "caliphate" or Islamic state of Sharia law.[8] He is residing in Sydney; his last known residence as of September 2012 was a $575,000 rural retreat in the Southern Highlands with a "fish-filled" dam, inground pool, and games room with bar.[6][8][18][19][20]

Global Islamic Youth Centre[edit]

In Australia, Mohammad and others founded the Global Islamic Youth Centre in the Sydney suburb of Liverpool in 2000 to "cater for the physical, social, educational and religious needs, especially for the youth and the children, in accordance with the teachings of the Quran".[15] He was its head in 2005, and in 2008 was still the most significant spiritual leader of the Centre, which on its homepage had a direct email link to him so that students can "seek Islamic knowledge" from him.[15][16][25] Even after he left Australia for Lebanon, he continued to direct the centre from abroad.[26]

In January 2007, two Australian Federal Police raided the Centre and removed hate Death Series DVDs from it in which Mohammad urged children to die for Allah.[27]

In December 2008, the Global Islamic Youth Centre was trying to raise over $6 million to build a giant "prayer, learning and sporting" facility in Liverpool, and had raised $700,000.[15] Mohammad's books and DVDs, which included calls for "jihad martyrdom", were slated to be available at the new facility.[15] A Centre spokesman said that the Centre was "for all those kids out there who are lost," and would "encourage them to try to follow the right path."[15]

Liverpool Residents Action Group president John Anderson said Mohammad's extremist version of Islam would not be welcome.[15] Opposition education spokesman Andrew Stoner said the NSW government must closely watch the school and what it may teach, to ensure that it would not teach the "extremist views" and "messages of hate" of Mohammad to young school children.[28]

Controversy[edit]

Saying women rape victims have themselves to blame[edit]

In March 2005, Mohammad gained notoriety for blaming women themselves for being rape victims, in a speech that he gave at the Bankstown Town Hall.[16][29][30] At a $15-a-head lecture to more than 1,000 people, he said:

A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one to blame but herself. She displayed her beauty to the entire world...

Strapless, backless, sleeveless, showing their legs, nothing but satanic skirts, slit skirts, translucent blouses, miniskirts, tight jeans: all this to tease man and appeal to his carnal nature.

Would you put this sheep that you adore in the middle of hungry wolves? No... It would be devoured. It's the same situation here. You're putting this precious girl in front of lustful, satanic eyes of hungry wolves. What is the consequence? Catastrophic devastation, sexual harassment, perversion, promiscuity.[7][31]

Death Series DVD lectures[edit]

In 2007, a box set of 16 DVDs of Mohammed's sermons, called the Death Series, became the focus of the Attorney-General of Australia.[2][32] The DVDs urge young Muslims to kill infidel non-believers, call on Muslim parents to offer their children as soldiers to defend Islam and sacrifice their lives for Allah, says the children should be taught that there is "nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a Muhajid [holy warrior]," and that the parents should "put in their soft, tender heart the zeal of jihad and the love of martyrdom", preach jihad. He said: "Kaffir (non-Muslim) is the worst word ever written, a sign of infidelity, disbelief, filth, a sign of dirt".[15][25] He also calls Jews "pigs," and laughs about killing them, as he makes snorting noises.[16][17][25][33][34]

The DVDs came to public attention when they were featured in the documentary Undercover Mosque, which aired on Britain's Channel 4.[17][34] The DVDs were being sold by children in the parking lot of a Birmingham mosque.[17][34]

The Australian Federal Police and Australia's Attorney-General investigated whether Mohammed's sermons broke laws against sedition, racial vilification, and inciting violence and terrorism.[2][32] Australian Acting Attorney-General Kevin Andrews called the DVDs "offensive, unacceptable and outrageous" and "importations of hatred".[34] The Australian Federal Government condemned his comments. NSW Premier Morris Iemma said the DVD preachings were "reprehensible and offensive" and that "The sort of incitement that the DVD encourages is incitement to acts of violence and acts of terror."[35] The Opposition called for him to be charged with inciting terrorism, and Federal Opposition leader Kevin Rudd said the comments were obscene and an incitement to terrorism, and that he wanted the government to act, and that Mohammad "has no place in our society".[17]

In July 2007, federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, referring to the DVDs, said that Australia needed better laws to deal with items that encourage people to commit terrorist attacks, and that "Waiting for a terrorist attack to happen is unacceptable."[36] He added: "People who may be susceptible to carrying out a terrorist act ought not to be instructed in how to do it, how to use household products to produce a bomb, or be encouraged to think about violent jihad and taking their own life."[36]

In September 2012, he said he would not retract his past comments.[33]

Vic Alhadeff, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO, said:

He has a significant number of followers and ... it is inevitable that there will be some who will be influenced by these grotesque remarks.[34]

Other lectures[edit]

He says of non-Muslims, in his 'Signs of the Hour' speech', that children should be encouraged to become jihadists:

"We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam... Teach them this: there is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid. Put in their soft, tender hearts the zeal of jihad and a love of martyrdom."[2]

Elsewhere, he said:

"Jews are pigs that will be killed at the end of the world".[20] He also said concerning Jews, "They have got the most extreme racial pride in them. They say that every single non-Jew is a slave created to serve the Jews ... Their time will come like every other evil person's time will come."[37][38]

In late 2008, a student of his posted one lecture he gave at the Global Islamic Youth Centre on YouTube. In it he tells a story of the monk Barsisa[39] from the children of Israel deflowering and impregnating a virgin given under his care, and then killing her and the baby. While the monk was previously a pious believer, he ends up renouncing his religion in a deal with Satan who deludes him gradually from piety, to sinning to disbelief. The monk eventually prostrates to Satan. In the end, the monk is killed. The moralle of the story are many, but includes being cautious of the traps of the devil. This story with its morals is well known in the Islamic world.[40] Mohammad then compares modern Western society to a stinking toilet.[25]

In late 2008 a site he created called Faith Over Fear had links to the Centre.[25] Its primary video showed Mohammad calling on Muslims to sacrifice their lives to wage war against the West.[25]

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared that because of his inflammatory remarks, Mohammed was "not welcome".[8]

Mohammed later apologized in an interview for referring to Jews as pigs, and said that his reference to jihad was misunderstood.[32] In September 2012, speaking of his record controversial statements, Mohammad said: "So, not that I retract what I have said in the past, but I now am wiser than I was in the past."[41]

Call for beheading of Dutch politician[edit]

In an internet chat room, Mohammad incited Muslim followers to behead Dutch politician Geert Wilders, it became known in September 2010.[16] His rationale was his accusation that Wilders had "denigrat[ed]" Islam, and that that anyone who "mocks, laughs or degrades Islam" as Wilders had must be killed "by chopping off his head".[16][18][30][42][43] The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf released an excerpt of the talk, after Dutch intelligence officials received a tip about the threat.[18][44]

Sheikh Fedaa Majzoub, the vice president of the NSW branch of the National Imams Council, said that the comments were "completely rejected by us as Islamic authorities".[18] Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly, former mufti of Australia and imam of the Lakemba mosque, said the comments were stupid and idiotic.[18]

After the 2013 Boston marathon bombings, Wilders wrote:

Three years ago, Feiz Mohammed issued an internet video in which he called for my beheading. I was, he said, "evil filth". "Chop his head off," he told his followers. I am threatened for the simple reason that I am an Islam critic. But, make no mistake, I am not the only one who is in danger. The Tsarnaev brothers drew inspiration from Feiz Mohammed's internet rants and decided to kill innocent onlookers at a marathon. Everyone is in danger.[45]

Denouncement by Taj El-Din Hilaly[edit]

In March 2011, Australia's most senior Islamic leader, Imam Sheikh Taj El-Din Hilaly of Australia's largest mosque at Lakemba, denounced Feiz Mohammad.[8] He called Feiz Mohammad dangerous, and insisted that he be banned from delivering sermons to young Muslims.[8] He said his preaching "can lead young people to move away from their family and community [and] to distance and isolate themselves."[46] He added, "If religion had something like the Australian Medical Association, or a trade authority, they would not allow him to be preaching, they wouldn't give him a licence ... I haven't seen a change in him."[47]

Feiz Mohammad had responded to requests from Australian authorities to remove videos by al-Qa'ida spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki from his website.[8][46][47][48]

Denied connection with Boston marathon bombing suspects[edit]

It was reported in April 2013 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a suspect in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, had a YouTube page featuring videos of four lectures recorded by Feiz Mohammad, gave his sermons a Facebook 'like', and shared links to his videos on his Facebook site.[1][49] Mohammad volunteered to NSW police that he had no connection with the suspects.[1][50][51][52][53][54] Attorney-General of Australia Mark Dreyfus said that Mohammad "condemned the use of violence" and has "changed his attitude", supporting a community program to prevent the radicalisation of Australian youth.[55] Dutch politician Geert Wilders wrote: "Dreyfus has great faith in the conversion of the hate-preacher. But I do not share this optimism.... I have not heard the sheik recall his demand for my beheading. Nor did the Tsarnaev brothers hear Sheik Mohammed declare that the Islam he preached earlier is not the true Islam."[45] Professor Clive Williams, who teaches at Macquarie University's Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, believes Mohammad's extremist videos should be taken off the internet.[49]

References[edit]

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