Investigations into alleged hate speech by Islamic clerics against the Jewish population have been dropped completely by state and federal investigators.
NSW Police confirmed on Wednesday that the investigation into two Sydney clerics who had called for jihad against Jews had ended due to not meeting the threshold for incitement.
Despite the Australian Federal Police referring one of the sermons – delivered by ‘Brother Ismail’ – to its terror squad for assessment in early November, investigators found that he had not committed any crimes.
Another cleric, Abu Ousayd, had also been accused of anti-Semitism after reciting parables which called for Jews to be killed.
Members of the Jewish community slammed the decision, including the former ambassador to Israel, Senator Dave Sharma, who feared ‘anti-Semitism will continue’.
NSW Police confirmed on Wednesday that they had ended their investigations into two Sydney clerics, ‘Brother Ismail’ (pictured) and Abu Ousayd, who were accused of anti-Semitism in sermons to followers
Abu Ousayd (pictured) said that ‘if all the Muslims in [the Middle East] spat on Israel, the people of Israel would drown, the Jews would drown’ during a sermon on October 21
Police confirmed to The Australian that the investigations into complaints made against the clerics were stopped and would not continue.
‘The content of the speeches were reviewed, with legal advice from parties independent of the investigators obtained,’ a NSW Police spokesman said.
‘The NSW Police Force understands it does not meet the threshold of any criminal offence. There will be no further investigation into the matter.’
A spokesperson from the AFP similarly confirmed that ‘no Commonwealth criminal offences had been identified’.
Investigations into incitement have a notoriously high threshold in both state-based and Commonwealth terror legislation, but many believed that bar had been met by the clerics.
Ousayd claimed during an October 21 sermon that ‘if all the Muslims in [the Middle East] spat on Israel, the people of Israel would drown, the Jews would drown’.
The cleric made the remarks during a sermon which was uploaded to the YouTube channel of his Bankstown Al Madina Dawah Centre.
It was previously revealed that Ousayd’s real name was Wissam Haddad, 43, who had vocally supported terrorist groups in the past.
Terrorists Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar frequently visited his defunct al-Risalah Islamic Centre before they went on to perform atrocities in Syria.
Mr Haddad also claimed in a speech on November 6 that Jews were ‘scheming’ to pit Muslim against Muslim because it was ‘good for their business’.
In another video uploaded to the same YouTube channel ‘Brother Ismail’ claimed that ‘jihad is the solution’ whether the ‘Australian government likes it or not’ and compared claims of Hamas terrorism to white colonialism in Australia.
NSW Liberal senator Dave Sharma questioned how the clerics had escaped prosecution and urged police to ‘enforce the law, make arrests and lay charges’.
‘Until the wider community understands that such hateful speech and incitement to violence against our Jewish community is not only unacceptable, but also unlawful, this disgusting spike in anti-Semitism will continue,’ he told The Australian.
Senator Michaelia Cash and NSW MP Rod Roberts also condemned the actions of the clerics and pressed the need to penalise anti-Semites.
Former ambassador to Dave Sharma, who is now a NSW Liberals Senator, said that ‘anti-Semitism will continue’ so long as it goes unpunished
A spokesperson for NSW Police Minister, Yasmin Catley (pictured), said that the minister was not involved in the investigation and that she condemned anti-Semitism
Senator Cash said that Australians ‘rightly expect’ an investigation into the comments ‘which could incite violence’.
She said that comments which incite violence of any kind have no place in Australia and that they need to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
Mr Roberts, who had spent 20 years as a police officer before running for office, criticised the ‘weak and unsubstantial’ response to the cleric’s comments.
The MP highlighted how the clerics had been offending others publicly and criticised any legislation that allowed people to make ‘threats with no ramifications.’
Former police minister and current NSW opposition police spokesman Paul Toole said that the response was another example proving that Labor was weak on crime.
‘They either work at a snail’s pace or bury their heads in the sand hoping the situation will go away,’ he said.
‘With no action being taken it sends the wrong message – that this behaviour is OK.’
Mr Toole urged police investigators to not be so lenient on pro-Palestine supporters that had allegedly chanted ‘gas the Jews’ at an impromptu rally at the Opera House on October 9.
Investigations into anti-Semitic chants at the Opera House are currently underway.
Australian Jewish Association CEO Robert Gregory echoed Mr Sharma’s opinion that ‘failure to act almost guarantees an escalation in anti-Jewish incidents’.
‘It seems that in NSW, there is no limit to the hatred and incitement that can be directed against Jews,’ he said.
A spokesperson for NSW Police Minister, Yasmin Catley, said that the minister had no role in the investigation and that she ‘condemns all religious and racially motivated speech that creates hostility’.