Keysar Trad

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Keysar Trad is a spokesperson for a section of the Australian Muslim community.

Background[edit]

Trad was born in Lebanon and came to Australia at the age of thirteen under the Australian government's family reunion program. He met and married his wife, Hanifeh, when he was in his early twenties. They live in south-west Sydney and have nine children.[1]

After a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1987, Trad decided to become a much stricter Muslim, rather than to follow the more liberal form of Islam that he observed around him in Lebanon and Australia. Trad began to take an active role at the Lakemba Mosque in Sydney shortly thereafter.[1]

Career[edit]

Trad is well known for his former role as an interpreter and spokesperson for Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly.[2]

He is also an author, having released several books.

After leaving the Lebanese Muslim Association, Trad founded his own organisation, the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia Inc (IFAA).

Following the actions of an Australian suicide bomber, who had killed at least five people and injured up to 90, Trad said, "I have always been opposed to suicide bombing. I’m opposed to any form of senseless taking of human life".[3]

Trad has entertained the possibility of becoming a candidate for both the Labor Party and for the Liberal Party. Because of his background Senator Bernardi has raised concerns saying, "Mr Keysar Trad is wholly unsuitable to be a member of parliament".[4]

Controversy[edit]

Trad has become a highly controversial figure in Australia due to many of his activities, comments and views on matters relating to Islam:

  • He once translated some articles for "Nidal ul Islam", the magazine of an Australian-based group called the 'Islamic Youth Movement', of which Bilal Khazal was once a member.[5] The group has since been investigated for alleged terrorism-related offences.
  • In 1995 he said, "The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country and...the descendents of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us." [6]
  • Trad was accused by the mainstream media of supporting "terrorism". They used his refusal to condemn organisations such as Hezbollah as an example, when in fact the only part of Hizbollah banned in Australia is the "The Hezbollah External Security Organization". In addition, his frequent criticism of Israel has been used by the media to portray him as anti-Semitic. Moreover, in August 2006, shortly after a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah was agreed to in order to end conflict, Trad and Hilaly wrote to the Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, urging him to reject Australian peacekeepers.[7]
  • He offended many moderate Muslims, as well as some Australians of Turkish background, when he alleged "Atatürk was in fact an opponent of the practice of Islam" [8] when responding to Australian Treasurer Peter Costello's speech [9] suggesting Attaturk as a model for Muslims.
  • Throughout his years as Hilaly's spokesperson, Trad has been heavily criticised - and satirised - for continually defending Hilaly with his insistence that Hilaly has been taken out of context or misunderstood. For example, following the comments made by Hilaly in October 2006 which said that if a woman is raped it is usually her own fault, Trad said that Hilaly was talking about adultery, not rape.[10] Sydney Morning Herald Columnist Paul Sheehan accused him of lying.[11]
  • In response to comments made by Sheik Hilaly on Egyptian TV, Trad once again suggested he was being quoted out of context.
  • Trad succeeded in bringing a defamation claim against a Sydney radio station which described him as racist and offensive. A three judge panel in the Court of Appeal found that the Supreme Court Judge did not have a basis for describing Trad racist or offensive. However, the court ordered that only half of Trad's appeal costs be paid as some of the imputations fell under the technicality "reply to attack".[12]
  • In 2010, Trad advocated Shari'ah courts for Muslims to deal with matters relating to divorce and inheritance. He has also supported polygamy as an alternative to extramarital relations.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cameron, Deborah (2 October 2002). "Islam's man of a million comments". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  2. ^ "Mufti Mixes Motives" by Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun 11 May 2005.
  3. ^ Benson, Simon; Mullany, Ashley (19 July 2014). "Sydney teen kills five in suicide bombing on crowded Iraqi market". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "Hansard - Trad, Mr Keysar". APH. 2014. 
  5. ^ Smiles, Sarah (9 November 2003). "Khazal gave money to bomber suspect". Sun Herald. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  6. ^ Bolt, Andrew (14 December 2005). "It’s time to think". Herald Sun (copy on ICJS research web site). Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  7. ^ "Lebanon asked to reject Australian troops". Herald Sun. 12 August 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-05. [dead link]
  8. ^ Koutsoukis, Jason (24 September 2006). "Costello a 'fool' over Turkey speech". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  9. ^ Maiden, Samantha (23 September 2006). "Turkey a Muslim model: Costello". The Australian. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  10. ^ "Community leaders condemn Al Hilaly's comments". ABC. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  11. ^ Sheehan, Paul (30 October 2006). "Sheik tries to lie his way out of trouble". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  12. ^ "Trad wins radio defamation appeal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 27 March 2011. 

External links[edit]