Controversial sheik lecture cancelled
A lecture and meeting due to be held by controversial Sheik Feiz Mohammed in Sydney has been cancelled.
The Australian branch of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah (ASWJ) movement was due to stage the event on Wednesday night at the Bukhari House Islamic Book Store in Auburn to discuss Saturday's Muslim riots.
ASWJ said the lecture would also address the Innocence of Muslims, the short YouTube film that sparked the violent demonstrations, and "what our responsibilities are regarding this matter".
But ASWJ announced at about 2.30pm (AEST) on Wednesday that the meeting had been cancelled and said Sheik Mohammed would instead conduct media interviews to discuss the riots.
The movement gave no immediate reason for cancelling the event.
A NSW Police spokesman said they were aware the meeting had been cancelled but said no request had been made to call it off.
Sheik Mohammed has courted controversy in recent years, most notably in 2007 for his DVDs calling for the murder of "infidels" and describing Jews as "pigs".
He has reportedly also previously said in a speech that raped women only had themselves to blame.
Police had earlier refused to comment on whether or not they had planned to attend the lecture in Auburn.
Eight people have been arrested in relation to Saturday's riots, including on Tuesday night a 17-year-old male youth who's been charged with attacking two police officers.
The teenager is due to appear in court in October.
Several sources within the Muslim community told AAP the meeting was cancelled because of pressure on Sheik Mohammed.
Journalists and police officers are said to be camped outside the Auburn bookshop.
"I think they might have just thought they (Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah) were better off without the attention and decided to cancel the meeting," one source told AAP.
It remained unclear on Wednesday afternoon where or when Sheik Mohammed would conduct his media interviews.
In a statement on Wednesday, the sheik said he did not participate in the protest and did not encourage or advise anyone to take part.
"I do not accept the violent behaviour associated with the protest," he said in the statement reported by the Seven Network.