Exclusive Geoff Chambers
The Daily Telegraph
A SENIOR leader of radical Sydney-based Islamic organisation al-Risalah has denounced the Australian flag, as the group’s supporters posted Facebook messages about beheading “non-believers”.
Wissam Haddad, the head of the al-Risalah Islamic Centre in Sydney’s southwest, yesterday told The Daily Telegraph he followed the “flag of Allah” rather than the flag of Australia.
The flag, called the Shahada, is the same as the one used by Islamic State terrorists who have been spreading death and terror across the Middle East.
“I’m not comfortable personally holding the (Australian) flag because this flag does not represent me as a Muslim. My flag is the flag of Allah. That’s my flag.
“For me to have the Shahada flag, as it’s called, that’s a flag that I stand and live and die for and I don’t stand and live and die for the Australian flag.”
Mr Haddad’s comments came just hours after Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Ray Hadley on 2GB radio that “the only flag that should be flying is the Australian national flag”.
He said his group was entitled to fly the ancient symbol.
He cited the “genocide of Aboriginals” and the use of their flag as justification for supporting the Shahada.
Mr Haddad, who was not invited to join a group of Muslims for talks with Mr Abbott yesterday, has had eight social media accounts shut down, forcing him to rename his profile. He claims Muslims are being unfairly targeted both by Facebook and Twitter.
“I know a lot of people (who have had to shut down and restart their accounts),” he said. “Pretty much anyone very outspoken is getting their accounts shut down.”
In the past week, al-Risalah followers have posted messages about beheading, in the wake of the shocking image of Sydney terrorist Khaled Sharrouf’s son holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier.
This followed fellow terrorist and former Sydney boxer Mohamed Elomar posting similar photographs on Twitter. Al-Risalah members wear black supporter vests, which sell for $65.
The al-Risalah centre has hosted radical preachers, and Mr Haddad is a supporter of the Islamic State’s “Jizyah” protection tax on Christians and Jews in Syria and Iraq.
Also yesterday, teenage Muslim extremist Sulyman Khalid, who was arrested for an alleged hate crime against a Bankstown cleaner, has been released on bail. Mr Khalid, who calls himself Abu Bakr, will front Bankstown Local Court on September