'Hate Speech' Imam made a 'mistake' - FIANZ

Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib
Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib

An Islamic leader has condemned a Muslim cleric who made offensive comments about women and preached anti-Semitic views at an Auckland mosque.

Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib's comments, which were delivered at the At-Taqwa mosque in Manukau and subsequently posted online, took aim at Jews and gender relations.

"Christians are using the Jews, and the Jews are using everybody, because they think that their protocol is to rule the entire world," he said in a sermon filmed in November.

He also referred to Jewish community as "the enemy of Muslims", and has been filmed making offensive remarks about women.

"No woman can dare step out of her house without the permission of her husband," he has been recorded saying in another sermon.

Speaking on RadioLIVE, President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) Hazim Arafeh said Dr Sahib's views are incorrect.

"The honourable minister made a mistake," he says.

"We are in the process of clarifying this for the honourable minister and the wider New Zealand public that Dr Sahib is not secretary of FIANZ, he does not hold executive position within FIANZ."

Mr Arafeh also spoke out over Dr Sahib's comments on women.

"When it comes to women, I fully believe that the Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand has made it very, very clear where we stand on and the way FIANZ promotes the treatment of New Zealand," he said.

"The relationship between men and women in Islam is much much bigger than this."

However, he agreed that women should not leave the house without informing their husband.

"It is fair that the husband and wife should talk to each other before they make any movement," he said.

"The language that he's used could be a little bit aggressive."

Mr Arafeh said that without watching the full videos of Dr Sahib's speeches, he was unable to say whether his comments on Jews were hate speech.

"The relationship and Muslims and Jews is more than 1400 years and it's not easy to describe it," he says.

"FIANZ condemns unreservedly all forms of hate speech."

The Administration Council of the Islamic Women's Council (IWCNZ) has condemned Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib's remarks in a statement.

They say his comments on Jewish people are "totally inappropriate and we unequivocally condemn any divisive comments of a similar nature."

Furthermore, they say that IWCNZ is "particularly sensitive to the views represented by the comments towards women. The approach shown is a religious misinterpretation, in our opinion, and we are disappointed that certain religious leaders may encourage this damaging rhetoric."

Press Release Dr Sahib by NewshubNZ on Scribd