Mufti’s Past About To Return To Haunt Him
...and it's all his own doing!
Paul Zanetti is a Walkley award winning syndicated cartoonist with over 30 years in the media. He blogs at www.zanettisview.com
When you choose to sue someone - or an organisation - be very sure you know what you’re doing.
Defamation law in Australia can be tricky. A false move, misjudgement, forgetful memory or sloppy lawyer could lose you your house.
Plenty have been rendered homeless through ego driven legal cases based on nothing more than bluff and wind.
An understanding of the Defamation Act (2005) is helpful.
There are a range of defences to defamation.
Just because your feelings are hurt isn’t enough to sue for defamation if what was said about you is substantially true and reported in the public interest, which can trigger the defence of 'qualified privilege', which simply means the publisher (defendant) has a moral, social or legal duty to alert the recipient, or the public to information they need to know.
Most defamation actions cost around a quarter of a million or so each side. Lose, and costs could be awarded against you. Legal cases can turn on a technicality you never anticipated, or via a little known quirk in common law, so you should budget to lose upward of $half a million plus reputational loss before you even start.
Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric, the Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammad is suing News Corp for a story in The Daily Telegraph after the Paris Islamic terror attack last November.
Without going into the minutiae of the case, the Mufti alleges the News Corp tabloid suggested, among other things, he was “a supporter of violent Islamic holy war”.
The problem with suing a major news organisation for claiming you are a supporter of violent Islamic holy war, is you had better be very sure there is nothing in your past that might confirm that.
In December 2012 the Mufti visited the hierarchy of Hamas and in particular, Ismail Haniyeh, former Palestinian Prime Minister.
Dr Ibrahim made several very alarming statements to the local Middle East media.
The Mufti could be excused for thinking he was exclusively addressing the local crowd, not expecting his statements to be widely reported back in Australia.
But reported, they were, sounding alarms in the Australian Jewish community and the wider Australian and political community.
Statements to the local Mid East media by the Australian Mufti included,
“I am pleased to stand on the land of Jihad to learn from its sons,”
"We came here in order to learn from Gaza. We will make the stones, trees, and people of Gaza talk.”
This last statement is particularly sinister because it comes straight from the Sahi Muslim Hadith (recordings of deeds and sayings attributed to Muhammad) adopted by Hamas, calling for death to the Jews.
The Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim is an Islamic scholar so there can be no mistaking to what he was referring. Dr Ibrahim made it very clear what he believes.
Derived from the Muslim Hadith and implanted into the Hamas Charter:
Article Seven: The Universality of Hamas
The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!
Then there’s this one from the land of Jihad.
Article Eight: The Slogan of the Hamas
Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief.
If that doesn’t sound like supporting violent Islamic holy war, I don’t know what is. The Mufti couldn’t be clearer.
Then there’s this lesson from the land of Jihad, from which the Mufti seems to be keen to ‘learn’.
Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences
Peace initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.
There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste oftime, an exercise in futility.
The Hypocrites among them are forbidden from vanquishing the true believers, and they will die in anxiety and sorrow.
We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.
Or this one:
The Call to Jihad: (Article 33)
'The day the enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In the face of the Jews' usurpation, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.
Ranks will close, fighters joining other fighters, and masses everywhere in the Islamic world will come forward in response to the call of duty, loudly proclaiming: 'Hail to Jihad!'.
This cry will reach the heavens and will go on being resounded until liberation is achieved, the invaders vanquished and Allah's victory comes about.’
After the Grand Mufti’s meeting with Hamas, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) executive director Colin Rubenstein said, offering open support for Hamas profoundly contradicted the core values of Australian multiculturalism, such as tolerance, non violence, mutual respect and the rule of law.
“Hamas is a terrorist organisation, subject to Australian financial sanctions,which is engaged in terrorism and war crimes, is rife with extreme anti-Semitism, and is dedicated, in word and deed, to the violent destruction of a friendly state,”
“It is incomprehensible that anyone with pretensions of moral authority would hold up Hamas-led Gaza as a model from which Australians can learn.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim said there was nothing Dr Mohamed could learn from Gaza and its Hamas rulers that could possibly have any legitimate application in Australia.
“His visit and his comments undermine Australia’s efforts to build a peaceful, inclusive and democratic multicultural society.”
Bob Carr, the Australian Foreign Minister at the time, through a spokesperson, distanced the government from the Mufti’s trip and comments.
"It's up to them to explain their own views and travel plans. We have no diplomatic engagement with Hamas."
That would most likely be because Hamas is proscribed by the Australian government as a terrorist organisation, as Colin Rubenstein rightly pointed out.
According to the Australian Federal Government’s National Security Website (click):
Basis for listing a terrorist organisation
Division 102 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the Attorney General must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:
- is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act;
- advocates the doing of a terrorist act.
Details of the organisation
Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist organisation and political party founded in 1987 during the uprising known as the first intifada.
Hamas began as a branch of, and retains an ideological affinity with, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brigades seek to establish a Palestinian Islamist state comprising Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, destroying Israel as a political entity in the process. Due to the disparity in the military capabilities of the Brigades and Israel, the Brigades have adopted terrorist tactics in their efforts to defeat Israel, including indiscriminate rocket attacks, suicide bombings and kidnappings. The Brigades have never demonstrated intent to conduct attacks outside of Israel and the PalestinianTerritories or to target interests of countries other than Israel.
ASIO assesses the Brigades continue to directly and/or indirectly engage in, prepare, plan, assist, foster or advocate the doing of terrorist acts involving threats to life and serious property damage. This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources.
- In the course of pursuing its objectives, the Brigades are known to have committed or threatened actions that:
- 1. cause serious damage to property, or the death of persons or endanger a person’s life;
- 2. are intended to have those effects;
- 3. are done with the intention of advancing the Brigades’ political, religious or ideological causes;
- 4. are done with the intention of coercing or influencing by intimidation the government of a foreign country; and,
- 5. are done with the intention of intimidating the public and sections of the public.
Nice company the Australian Grand Mufti keeps.
After the Paris attacks the Mufti released a statement on behalf of his Muslim community. It’s nothing less than a piece of blame shifting, pointing at all of us, not where the real issue lies - in Islamic teachings.
This is an excerpt from the Grand Mufti’s statement:
'These recent incidents highlight the fact that current strategies to deal with the threat of terrorism are not working. It is therefore imperative that all causative factors such as racism, Islamophobia curtailing freedoms through securitisation, duplicitous foreign policies, and military intervention must be comprehensively addressed.’
If the Grand Mufti wants to see real racism and bigotry, he could well take a good look at the Qur’an and the Hamas Charter where he’ll find more than enough ‘Jew-phobia’ and ‘kufar-phobia’, both which he supports and quotes - and from which he longs 'to learn'.
Islamic slaughter, conquest, banditry, raids, sex slavery, bigotry and hatred for unbelievers are not recent inventions in response to Australian foreign policy, these are cultural practices of the past 1400 years practiced, promoted and commanded by the Islamic prophet.
The Mufti takes no responsibility for the actions from, or beliefs of, his religion.
He takes no responsibility for the passages and verses in the Qur’an which drives Islamic terrorism. (e.g. Verse 8:12 : "Strike terror in the hearts of the unbelievers, cut heir neck and cut off all their fingers").
Instead he points away, to those who have no blame - us!
The other little trick pulled by the grand Mufti is to condemn terror attacks while referring to the Qu’ran, by misquoting Qur’anic verses to mislead the Australian public into believing Islam calls for peace, or to not harm humans.
For example, after the recent Brussels airport bombing two months ago, the Grand Mufti and his fellow Muslims from the Australian National Imams Council released a statement.
That statement includes the following excerpt:
“The Noble Qur’an severely censures the taking of innocent lives stating that the killing of one human being unjustly is like killing all of humanity.”
Let’s take a closer read.
“For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty), but afterwards lo! Many of them become prodigals of the earth.”
The Mufti and his fellow Muslims paraphrase a cherry-picked excerpt from the Qur’an slicing up the full verse. What’s always conveniently left out is that this command is to the Jews (Children of Israel), not to Muslims. It's in the first line of the verse.
If a Jew kills a single human being…it's wrong.
This verse is followed by,
“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.”
There are no other passages of peace ever quoted after a terrorist attack, but the one that’s most commonly quoted by the Mufti and his fellow Muslims, is misquoted from a command that the Jews must behave themselves or be killed, crucified, and that their hands and feet be cut off.
It’s easy to assume the Mufti believes we won’t look too closely at his earlier statements and belief in Jihad.
The Grand Mufti would do well to have a quiet chat to his fellow Muslim and litigant, Keysar Trad, who recently lost a defamation case against 2GB for comments by then drive time host, Jason Morrison, now Channel 7 News Director after the 2005 Cronulla riots.
This legal stoush started after a Hyde Park ‘peace rally’, a few days after the riots when Trad addressed a crowd and part blamed 2GB and its presenters for the riots.
The next day, Morrison, broadcast a lengthy commentary about Trad, calling Trad a ‘disgraceful' and 'dangerous individual', and of being 'widely perceived as a pest'.
Trad sued for defamation. And lost.
2GB defended the proceedings by relying on the defence of 'qualified privilege’. What was broadcast was essentially true and 2GB had a duty to broadcast the information.
Legal costs were awarded against Trad, leaving him with a bill of $550,000 which, according to Trad would leave him homeless. Some would say he should have thought of that.
Suing for defamation is no free ticket to easy money.
Trad lamented after the case,
“If I’d known the system was stacked so much against a plaintiff such as myself, then in hindsight I would not recommend to anyone to instigate court proceedings because there are so many elements that are against the ordinary Australian battler, such as me.”
“All up, the orders as they stand now say that I have to pay $550,000 to 2GB.
“This means homelessness for myself and my family.”
Above: Keysar Trad says he will be left homeless after losing a defamation case to 2GB
The judge said Keysar Trad was “dangerous” and “encouraged hostility between Muslims and non-Muslims,” and ordered him to pay costs, finding that Morrison acted responsibly in his broadcast.
Trad took the case to the Court of Appeal, it then reached the High Court, which flicked it back to the Court of Appeal, which ultimately determined that Morrison’s claims were substantially true and ordered costs to be paid to 2GB.
Trad came unstuck for the same reason the Mufti risks coming unstuck - based on his past statements. Hob-knobbing with terrorists to learn from them doesn’t help the Mufti’s case.
During this trial, the Mufti’s beliefs will be on show for all the world to see in both the court of law and the court of public opinion.
Rather than learning form the land of Jihadi terrorists, a smart Mufti would be better off studying the Defamation Act, then take a good look at Trad’s hopeless case before deciding to sue.
But that would first require learning English.