Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lebanese al-Ahbash representative defends sectarian study ...

Mustapha Kara-Ali, a representative of the Lebanese Sunni Muslim sect known as the al-Ahbash, has come out defending his report alleging "ideological sleeper cells" in Australia. After refusing to disclose the methodology of his study and those involved, Kara-Ali was forced by questions I raised in Crikey and the Canberra Times to reveal that he has other persons working with him

My criticisms of his report include the fact that he was unqualified to conduct the research due to his not having any requisite qualifications in sociology, demography or anthropology. Kara-Ali has now countered by telling the editors of Crikey and the Canberra Times that he also has received assistance from persons with qualifications in theology, education and political science as well as a counsellor.

Which I guess makes us all feel so much better about the study.

(So when you go to the Kara-Ali al-Ahbash Hospital for some heart surgery, you can be happy that you don't just have a engineer performing the surgery. You also have a priest, teacher and even a counsellor!)

Mr Kara-Ali, on Lateline, claimed that there were "there are over 15 general top-level preachers for this [Wahhabi] movement in Australia". Gee, tell us what we didn't know already.

What Kara-Ali won't say is that his own organisation is involved in terrorist activity. His own sect, the Lebanese al-Ahbash sect, has two of its senior leaders about to face trial in Lebanon. These two senior leaders were found by an independent UN Report to have been involved in a plot to assassinate former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. That plot involved the use of suicide bombing.

Kara-Ali is happy to point the finger at Lebanese groups his sect is fueding with. Yet he won't come clean on his own links to the two al-Ahbash leaders waiting to stand trial.

One wonders whether Mr Kara-Ali and the al-Ahbash sect recruiting young Lebanese youth to form sleeper cells to participate in terrorist activity to undermine other pro-Western and anti-Syrian government figures in Lebanon. Given the strong relations between the al-Ahbash and Syria, one wonders whether Mr Kara-Ali will come clea on his sect's links to other pro-Syria groups in Australia, including Hezbollah.

Like Kara-Ali, I have strong theological objections to Wahhabism. Unlike Kara-Ali, I don't try and bring overseas sectarian conflicts and impose them here in Sydney. know there are Wahhabis who are radical and who pose a threat I also know that Mr Kara-Ali's definition of Wahhabis is extremely broad and includes alot of Lebanese Sunni Muslims who refuse to join his sect and who refuse to support the Syrian government in the manner his sect does.

In any event, Mr Kara-Ali has no reason to hide his research methodology. He has no reason to hide who his researchers are, which tertiary institutions employ them and what their qualifications are. He also has no reason to hide why his research has taken so long and why he has therefore involved al-Amanah College in potential breaches of the original DIAC grant.

This will not be the first time Kara-Ali has created trouble for DIAC officers. Some months back, Kara-Ali accused DIAC staff of providing him with confidential information concerning another grant.

Kara-Ali is also known to have caused grave embarrassment to staff at the Australia-Malaysia Institute, the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur after his behaviour as part of an Australian Muslim delegation that visited Malaysia in June. Further details of that behaviour are still coming to hand, but I can reveal that his behaviour included the making of grossly sexist remarks toward female participants on the tour as well as remarks concerning female staff at the High Commission.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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