Saturday 24 October 2015

On Saturday 17th October 2015, The Weekend Australian published an article by Rebecca Weisser titled “Guess who’s coming to Bendigo”, both in print and online, in which the writer made a number of serious allegations against the Australian Islamic Mission (AIM). Rebecca Weisser’s article was littered with mistakes, inaccuracies, misrepresentations and false allegations. The report was nothing more than an attempt to draw tenuous links between the mission (AIM), deception, extremism and terrorism. In the article, Rebecca Weisser described Yvonne Ridley, a speaker previously invited to AIM’s conference, as “an activist with the UK Respect party.” As one of the founders and a former leader of The Respect Party, to give it the grammatically correct title, the label ‘activist’ is inaccurate. In addition, Ms Ridley quit the party three years ago as leader and ended her membership at the same time. She no longer has any links with Respect and had Rebecca Weisser dug a little she would have discovered this.

She also alleged that Zachariah Matthews, a former president of AIM, promoted the principle that “deception is necessary.” Rebecca Weisser selectively quoted from his original 2001 speech to support an alarmist agenda. She relied on the hatchet job by Jim Ball in which he willfully omitted a crucial basis for the comments, viz., the presence of severe persecution and oppression by the Prophet and his followers in Mecca fourteen hundred years ago. A context that is not dissimilar to the “deception” rightly used to escape Nazi persecution during the Holocaust.

Rebecca Weisser also targeted Dr Anas Altikriti from the UK who is scheduled to speak at AIM’s 2015 conference in Sydney, and wrote: “In August 2009, the Cordoba Foundation sponsored an event with Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, a senior recruiter for Al-Qaeda who was killed in a drone strike in 2011″. The event in question was an annual fundraising dinner for the British NGO Cage, in which The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) had reserved a single table. There was no question of TCF ‘sponsoring the event’ as Weisser claimed.

Furthermore, at the time of TCF making the reservation several weeks prior to the event, Anwar Al-Awlaki was never mentioned as having been invited to speak. When his name was announced as one of the speakers via a satellite link a few days prior to the event, TCF approached the organisers and expressed its unequivocal refusal to be part of the function if this went ahead. As such, there was no contribution from Anwar Al-Awlaki whatsoever. Considering that this information is well-known, widely publicised and a statement to this effect has been posted on The Cordoba Foundation’s website for many years, it is astonishing that Rebecca Weisser chose to ignore the facts in favour of fantasy.

AIM rejects the allegations and has written to The Australian seeking redress for the damages caused.


Media Contacts: – Dr Seyed Sherriffdeen, AIM Victoria Secretary, – Siddiq Buckley, AIM NSW Secretary,