Calls for Hizb-ut-Tahrir leader to be prosecuted over 'hate speech'

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Jewish community leaders are calling for the head of a controversial Islamic group to be prosecuted over a so-called "hate speech." They say the speech is an incitement to violence against Jews, and could inspire another Lindt Cafe-style siege.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies wants the leader of Muslim political group Hizb-ut-Tahrir to be prosecuted under anti-discrimination laws for allegedly inciting hatred against the Jewish community.

The calls for prosecution come after the emergence of a video showing a spokesman for Hizb-ut-Tahrir calling for Jihad against Jews.

The spiritual head of Hizb-ut-Tahrir Ismail al-Wahwah addressed a rally in Lakemba in Sydney on July 25, 2014.

The speech featured references to Israelis and Jews, with Mr al-Wahwah calling for the world to be set free from Jews.

He also referred to a seventh century massacre of Jews in what is now Saudi Arabia.

Quoting the Koran, Mr al-Wahwah added that Jews would no longer be safe.

This is far more serious than just hate speech’

The speech has been condemned by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, which has written to the state's Anti-Discrimination Board.

The Jewish Board of Deputies is calling for Mr al-Wahwah, and another speaker, to be prosecuted for allegedly inciting racial hatred.

Chief Executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Vic Alhadeff said he would like to see the two men prosecuted under Section 20D of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, which prevents publicly threatening physical harm towards any property person or group of persons on the ground of the race of the person or members of the group.

Mr Alhadeff told SBS that it seemed “inconceivable that people could so brazenly engage in hate speech” in Sydney.

“This was a speech in which the speaker openly called for violence against the Jewish people, encouraged others to engage in violence against the Jewish people,” he said.

“We are calling for the two speakers responsible to be prosecuted for hatred against the Jews and for encouraging violence against the Jewish people.”

Mr Alhadeff said there were also concerns that other speeches, also calling for violence, could be addressed without the knowledge of authorities.

“How many speeches are being made in which we are unaware,” he said.

“How many people are also being inspired to carry out another Lindt cafe siege, inspired by the sort of speeches we're talking about today?

“This is far more serious than just hate speech. This is encouraging people to engage in violence against a particular group.”

Hizb-ut-Tahrir says its members won’t be silenced

Hizb ut-Tahrir claims its words are being "falsely exploited" and said the complaint is an attempt to silence dissent.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the group stated that the group would not hesitate to continue engaging in public conversations.

“The comments in question were made at the time of the most recent offensive against the people of Gaza, an offensive that indiscriminately razed homes, schools, hospitals and mosques, killing thousands of men, women and children in the process,” it read.

“Any words expressed at that time must necessarily be viewed in the context of this aggression, and any references to Jews in this context must necessarily be viewed as reference to Jewish occupation.”

But any prosecution is by no means certain.

"When I receive a complaint about serious vilification, I have 28 days in which to get the attorney general's approval to initiate prosecution, through the public prosecutor," said NSW Anti-Discrimination Board President Stepan Kerkyasharian.

But no cases are known to have made it to court.

Source SBS

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