Clerics still preaching hatred of West - pt 3

nov 05 the Aus

After Mr Howard singled out Sheik Omran earlier this year for not doing enough to denounce terrorism, the cleric wrote to The Australian: "We consider ourselves Australians working for the betterment of Australia. Those of us who came from other countries appreciate how the people of this country have accepted us with open arms.

"Islam teaches us to appreciate kindness, and we wouldn't do anything to betray this gesture."

However, during the Ramadan prayer meeting last month, he ridiculed the US's botched handling of the hurricane and floods that destroyed New Orleans: "If they couldn't stop a tiny wave, then they cannot stop us uniting. If you don't unite, your faces will be smeared in dirt."

Sheik Omran's message, delivered just days after suicide bombers launched the second major attack on tourists in Bali, was received enthusiastically by the group of 150 men, predominantly in their early 20s and 30s, during a Friday sermon at Brunswick's Michael Street prayer centre in Melbourne's inner north.

Sheik Omran gloated over the fears held by Westerners towards the festival of Ramadan, saying history had shown an increase of militant insurgencies and attacks around the world at that time of the year.

"The West knows the meaning of Ramadan more than we do, it seems," said the Sheik, who was previously accused by the Spanish authorities of having links to an al-Qa'ida suspect in Europe.

"They fear the worst - unity. So what are we doing to unite and defeat evil?"