Vic: Omran Preaching 'Hate'

the australian oct 07

MELBOURNE Islamic cleric Mohammed Omran has been accused by his estranged son-in-law of preaching extremism and hatred in a bitter war of words following his separation from Sheik Omran's daughter.

The accusations have been levelled by 26-year-old Ali Kassae, a former member of Sheik Omran's fundamentalist Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah association, who was married to Sheik Omran's daughter, Zaynab, until they separated in August last year.

Mr Kassae claims he has been prevented from seeing his children since the split, and has been threatened and abused by other members of Sheik Omran's group.

He also accuses Sheik Omran's organisation of inciting violent attacks on people who disagree with them.

Mr Kassae, who moved to Australia from his native Syria as a nine-year-old, blames the break-up of his seven-year marriage on the extremism of Sheik Omran and his group.

"I couldn't stand their attitude and beliefs," Mr Kassae said. "I had left that culture behind. I just wanted to live an Australian life. Then I was forced into the culture again."

Mr Kassae said he and other group members were "taught to hate" by being shown violent propaganda videos about conflicts involving Muslims in places such as Palestine. One DVD, shown to The Australian, which Mr Kassae said was distributed among members of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah, declares: "You should hate them as they hate you, invade them as they invade you, fight them as they fight you. Whoever dies will be granted the mercy of God and paradise. Jews have no place in Palestine. Jews shouldn't be there. Jews should die. We should proclaim jihad until they all die, until every single one of them is dead." ...

Sheik Omran's organisation has been under close scrutiny by ASIO for years and several of its members are known to have undergone training with the militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan.

In 2000, members of the group were raided by NSW and Australian Federal Police. Mr Kassae said he was visiting a fellow Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah member in Sydney's Wiley Park, when armed police burst in.

"There was an AK-47 loaded next to me with an 80-round magazine," Mr Kassae said. "The house was full of weapons. It was like they were preparing for war." The police seized an AK-47 assault rifle, handguns, shotguns and grenades, according to Mr Kassae ...

A group of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah members later physically attacked Mr Habib outside the association's Haldon Street prayer room. Mr Habib was treated at Bankstown hospital for cuts and bruising to his head ...

In February, Mr Kassae was attacked by two men in the southwest Sydney suburb of Belmore and stabbed in the back. He was treated in the acute care facility of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. A NSW police report on the incident said Mr Kassae had been accused by his assailants of spying for ASIO. No one has been charged over the incident.

"Since leaving (the organisation), I've committed an even bigger crime. I've been judged - I'm a disbeliever and I should be taken apart," Mr Kassae said.