Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Two Islamic books have been banned in Australia


Two Islamic books have been banned after the Classification Review Board found they incited terrorism.

The books, Defence of the Muslim Lands, and Join the Caravan, have been refused classification and can no longer be sold within Australia or imported into the country.

Last year, an Islamic book store at Lakemba, in Sydney's west, was accused of selling the now-banned books.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock sought the review last month after the classification board found the books and a film did not breach Australian law, and federal police could find no grounds to prosecute the booksellers.

Six other Islamic books and a film were reviewed and cleared for sale.

The review board said in a statement that Defence of the Muslim Lands "promotes and incites in matters of crime, specifically terrorism acts, including the plan, action and execution of martyrdom operations".

"The book is specific and explicit in its support for and encouragement of suicide bombing, including details for undertaking such crimes," the board said.

The second book, Join the Caravan, also "has the objective purpose of promoting and inciting acts of terrorism against disbelievers and is a real and genuine call to specific action by Muslims to fight for Allah and engage in acts of violence".

Board convenor Maureen Shelley said the board had sought advice from the Mufti of Australia, Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali, and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties in making its decision.

It also considered how current anti-terrorism laws applied.

Mr Ruddock said it was now up to state governments to follow through on the matter.

"I would urge state and territory attorneys-general and police to ensure that they enforce the laws available to them and keep offensive material of this nature off streets," Mr Ruddock said.

He is also seeking the support of state attorneys-general at a meeting later this month on whether changes to censorship laws are needed.

Islamic Council of Victoria spokesman Waleed Ali said the ban was not justified.

"We understand that the literature is demonstrably unsavoury but that's different from saying that it necessarily causes a threat," he told ABC Radio.

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