Spent shells found at the suspected terrorist training camp.
On 27 September 2001, a combined force of approximately 70 law enforcement and intelligence personnel seized passports, financial records and documents during a search of a home in Lakemba, NSW.
Yet these police operations were a decade late.
In 1993, the trial in the US of Islamic extremists linked to the 1993 WTC bombing revealed there had been numerous telephone contacts contact with supporters in New South Wales, Australia from late 1992 to early 1993, prior and immediately after the 1993 WTC attack.
Significantly, the FBI and CIA traced the phone calls made in America by some of the convicted trade centre bombers to addresses in New South Wales. The terrorists (and many more who could not be convicted or identified) were: El-Gabrowny (charged with conspiracy in relation to the 1993 WTC bombing and later convicted of accessory to the murder of Rabbi Kahane in NY) who made 2 phone calls for a period of 19 and 9 minutes to a business in Dean Park (NSW) Aust on 24 1992, and two more phone calls to Yagoona (NSW) 20 and 21 March 1993; and Mahmud Aboulahami charged for involvement in the 1993 WTC bombings.
The monitoring of the development of a terrorist infrastructure in New South Wales from the 1980s to the 1990s was virtually ‘off limits’ for law enforcement and Australian security intelligence. Operational cover was available to terrorists of all persuasions, especially ethnic-based and Islamic terrorism. Terrorists have been shielded by the State and Federal policy of multiculturalism and a plethora of State and Federal anti discrimination laws (reinforced by vociferous ethnic lobbies, radical academics and lawyers) who promise or threaten withdrawal of the prize of the ethnic vote; a specially potent threat in marginal and tightly contested electorates.
Investigators have been restrained by fears of being accused of racial and ethnic discrimination by ethnic ‘spokesmen’, academics and civil libertarians.
They are too quickly criticised for engaging in ‘harassment of religious freedom’, ’racism’, ‘stereotyping’ and labelling of ‘minorities’. They also face the threat of legal action by ethnic complainants and investigations from State and Federal departments.
The Australian Muslim population comprises 64 distinct ethnic groups with over 55 languages. Approximately 37 ethnic backgrounds are represented in the Australian Muslim Community. The political, policy, and operational problems of monitoring and investigating such a diverse number of linguistic and religious and cultural groupings are daunting and ominous.
Taj El Din Al Hilaly: The multicultural Mufti
The career of the Sheikh and the development of politically motivated crime and violence in Lakemba and surrounding districts is a graphic case of the relationship between multiculturalism and the development of pre terrorist attitude formation in Islamic communities.
Egyptian born Taj El Din Al Hilaly, the Imam of Lakemba and the first and only Mufti leader of Australia’s 300,000 Muslims arrived in Australia from Egypt, on a three month visitor’s visa in 1982. He was sponsored into Australia by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and has dual citizenship: Egyptian and Australian.
Hilally is a mufti of many masks; Anti-Semite, jihad supporter and extremist, and occasional virulent critic of Australian and western society. He has been especially feted by Australian Labor politicians at State and Federal levels who value his political influence over his religious followers and voters.
Far from being a force for social and religious integration, Hilaly has been a divisive figure since his arrival in Australia. From 1982-88 Hilaly was the central figure in conflict within Sydney’s Muslim community over his status as Imam. A High Court decision installed him to his former position. However, he continued to issue controversial statements denouncing the ‘moral climate of Australia’ and called on Islamic nations to intervene in defence of oppressed Muslims in Australia.
Failed deportation attempts: the power of political patronage
During 1986 Hilaly was involved in a series of incidents, including ‘incitement to racial hatred’. Attempts to deport Halaly from Australia, by Chris Hurford (then Immigration minister in the Labor Government) failed after political intervention by Federal and State Labor party identities and politicians, including Leo Mc Leay, former speaker of the House of Representatives. Hilaly’s mosque was located in Mc Leays’s electorate.
The Sheikh became a symbol of multiculturalism – a source of much valued electoral support, to many leading labour politicians including then Treasurer Paul Keating.
Halily is a committed political activist, as he has pointed out:
‘The Muslim community here in Australia is not isolated from the issues affecting the global Muslim community. It has fulfilled its fraternal role towards its brethren in Lebanon and has given generously in support of projects and charitable associations. Our community also gave support to the Afghan people as it did to the Bosnians, Chechyens, the Kossovars and the Iraqi people. Our community also continues to take a solid stance with respect to the Palestine issue having participated in large scale demonstrations in order to support these issues’.
His views of immigration were also clearly stated:
‘I have said and continue to affirm that taking up residence in Western migrant society is not permissible for a Muslim unless he has the intention of calling to Allah-Exalted and Elevated.’
In 2000, Hilaly bitterly attacked NSW premier Bob Carr for allegedly failing to preselect a Muslim candidate.
Hilaly’s anti-semitic manifesto: 1988
Further controversy erupted in 1988 when it was publicly disclosed that Hilaly delivered a ten page political speech or lecture to a religious group of young Muslims (Senior Usrah or Family) entitled, ‘The Disposition of Jews in the light of the Qumran’ at Sydney University in which he defensively quoted the Quran as it had been taught to him at the old University of Al -Axhar, a famed theological college in Cairo.
Hilaly’s lecture pursued the oldest anti-Semitic theme: that the Jews are source of all the worlds’ misfortune. Specifically he referred to:
‘Heroic children of the intifada…’
‘The Jews struggle with humanity is as old as history itself; the present continuing struggle with the Islam nation is a natural continuation of the Jews enmity towards the human race as a whole.’
‘Judaism controls the world by…secret movements as the destructive doctrines and groups, such as communism, libertinism, Free Masons, Baha’ism, the Rotary clubs, the nationalistic and racist doctrines.’
‘The Jews try to control the world through sex, then sexual perversion, then the promotion of espionage, traitory, and economic hording.’
‘The most significant results has been the intifada of the stone children in the occupied land which intifada has thrown the Israeli and international plans into disarray…and concluded ‘I ask Allah Almighty who has gathered here us here…to liberate Palestine under a pure, clean, pious Islamic banner’.
Characteristically, Halily pleaded misunderstanding and provided an official inquiry with a revised translation of his speech, after complaints from the Jewish community. In 1987, Opposition Immigration Spokesmen, Alan Cadman, called on Immigration minister Ray, to terminate Hilaly’s visa as “soon as possible’. He claimed that Hurford’s deportation order had been revoked to placate Sydney’s Islamic community, prior to the July 1987 election. He claimed: ‘the Labor Party has jeopardised the national well being for short term political goal’.
In 1989, the Hawke government Labor Minister, Senator Robert Ray deferred application for permanent residency. The Sheikh had privately travelled to Canberra for a meeting with the then Treasurer Paul Keating and House of representative speaker, Leo Mc Cleay. After Ray learned of the meeting he deferred the application for a year on the grounds of collusion.
In 1989, Immigration Minister Senator Robert Ray stated; ‘Key issues in considering the application involve allegations against Imam Hilaly that (i) he was a divisive influence in the Lebanese community, (ii) he made a racist and defamatory attack on Jews and (3) he is associated with the Libyan regime. He concluded there was some evidence of the first, overwhelming evidence of the second and unsubstantial evidence of the third.Ray extended Hilaly’s ‘temporary entry permit’ for an additional year to ‘test his commitment to play a positive role in promoting religious harmony’.
However, in 1990, Hilaly was granted permanent residency in Australia by Labour Socialist left immigration Minister Gerry Hand.
In 1998, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan addressed the Lakemba mosque and stated that the US was the ‘merchant of death’ and urged that Australia reverse its decision to support military action against Iraq over the issue of UN weapons inspections. He also ridiculed claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Forsook Hadid, President of the Lebanese Muslim Association claimed that Farrakhan had been invited to Australia as Australians need to hear his views ‘first hand’.
A prominent Labor party identity recently stated; ‘The Muslim vote in the inner west and south east of Sydney is always vital to the ALP. He (Hilaly) has a good support base’.
Hilaly’s reported involvement in smuggling
In 1999, Hilaly was the centre of allegations concerning his involvement in the smuggling of antiquities into Australia. He was arrested on 17 February 1999, in the town of Qena Egypt, 640 km south of Cairo, a town rich in antiquities and a favoured target for smugglers, after allegedly paying $A 192,000 to buy pharaonic antiquities from a smuggling ring of ten. Four of the ten had been involved in the murder of an Egyptian police officer and subsequently received life sentences.
The prosecution alleged that Hilaly had conspired with an Egyptian priest, Nassid Elias Michael, his son Bassem Michael to purchase archaeological artefacts and engage in covert digs in remote locations in Egypt. The court in Qena Egypt sentenced Hilaly to twelve months hard labour but a subsequent appeal found the judgement invalid. An appeal was lodged by prosecutors in Egypt.
The Sheikh reportedly claims to have poor English speaking skills; however observers point to his use of English as a second language, his timely use of a translator during political controversies and his reportedly masterly use of tactical deafness.
The Multicultural Mufti is a man of many masks; the climate of enforced tolerance induced by multicultural policies enables him to take them off and put them on, at will. The career of Hilaly demonstrates that if counter terrorist policy is conducted within the mist and fog of multiculturalism policy, Islamic extremism may develop from a localised phenomenon to an integral element in the developing covert militant Islamic networks throughout Asia.
The final word belongs to the anti-semitic multicutural sheik:
June 2001 – The Mufti of Muslims in Australia, Sheikh, Tajuddin Hamid Al-Hilaly, has said that the number of mosques in the country has reached 310, including prayer sections of Islamic centers. There has also been a corresponding increase in the number of private Islamic schools, while the Muslim youths of Australia have formed their own organization, known as the Muslim Youth Parliament. Furthermore, work is now being carried out in setting up the first College of Islamic Daawa, and the first sports and cultural club.
Sheikh Tajuddin said the number of new Muslims in Australia continues to increase by the day.
He said Australia was a country that has adopted a policy of multi-culturalism, and is a country that is fertile for Islamic Daawa (call).
Click below for Hilaly’s 1988 ten page political speech to a group of young Muslims at Sydney University entitled, ‘The Disposition of Jews in the light of the Qumran’