We very rarely name people whose hate we document unless they are public figures. Waseem Razvi, the Founder and President of Islamic Research & Educational Academy (IREA) has been a controversial figure previously covered by the media.
Waseem Razvi also including in a news.com.au article on “Hate preachers in Australia” published in 2014. It described a conference he ran in 2013 as “a controversial event that was allegedly just a roll call of bigots and extremists”.
In 2015 he was in the news for meeting with (and we will quote the Sydney Morning Herald article directly here) “a sheikh who supported jihad in Syria and the use of suicide bombers against Israelis”. The person he met, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi was banned from entering the US and UK and was subject to an Interpol arrest warrant for incitement and assistance to commit murder, helping prisoners to escape, arson, vandalism and theft. The article notes how at the time Razvi was about to hold a second “peace conference” and describes his 2013 one as being criticised for promoting antisemitism and sexism. The article notes that the advertised star speaker in 2013 was Dr Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, a person who described Jews as “scum of humanity”, “rats of the world”, “prophet killers” and “pigs and monkeys”, and called for their annihilation. After his views were exposed, the star speaker didn’t show for the conference.
Waseem Razvi is someone we have met at interfaith activities and spoken with during our efforts to tackle Islamophobia. We have visited their offices. The support for terrorism and antisemitism appearing on his page since the Hamas terrorist attack deserves attention. He has been engaging in exactly the sort of radicalised speech seen by others he previously tried to normalise. This includes comments describing Jews as “pigs and monkeys” and as “prophet killers”, just like his star speaker who didn’t show in 2013.
What particularly concerning is that he has been delivering the sermon accompanying Friday. Today it is Federation Square, last week it was at La Trobe University. Waseem describes himself on Facebook as a “Student of Knowledge (Islamic sciences & Comparative religion studies), Promoter of Peace” but his social media posts, particularly recently, tell another story. His organisation’s website says “Some use religion to divide, At IREA we use religion to unite.” Read the posts below and judge for yourself. We note that IREA is funded through donations, but its charity status was revoked in 2019 for failing to report to the regulator for two years running and it has never sought reinstatement.
We note that this person alone is responsible for his hate. We will not tolerate any Islamophobia in response to this article. You can critisize him for these comments, but please don’t make generalisations about others. This person is not typical of the Muslim community. We have shared some of what this preacher posted with former elected leaders of the Muslim community in Victoria, strong Palestinian activists themselves, and they too were disgusted by this. This person’s actions are their own.
Support for Hamas / excusing terrorism
Shortly after the Hamas Terrorist attack Australia’s Prime Minister expressed solidarity with Israel and condemned the “indiscriminate and abhorrent attacks by Hamas on Israel, its cities and civilians”. This is similar to the messages given by Australian leaders to other countries who have experienced devistating terrorist attacks. Waseem strongly rejected the message calling the Prime Minister a “child-killer sympathiser” for expressing solidarity with Israel after the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history.
The same day he compares the Hamas terrorist attack to Ukraine’s resistance against Russia. The attempt at comparison is beyond belief. Hamas left the territory they control; launched an infiltration into Israeli territory; targeted civilians at a music festival; went house to house shooting or burning alive children, women and men; and took other civilians hostage, which is a war crime even when they don’t, as in this case, include many young children. Urkainians by contrast initiated nothing, are resisting Russian soldiers (not going out to commit a massacre of Russian civilans in Russia). His claim of hypocrisy is hypocrisy. He does this to try and reframe the image of Hamas, despite their actions clashing with Islamic beliefs, a point he resolves this by adding at the bottom: “Note: Killing civilians shouldn’t be justified by anyone in any country against any people – Human life is the most precious gift according to Islamic belief”.
On the morning of October 10th he celebrates the Hamas attack by calling for victory over Israel and for the Al-Aqsa mosque (in Jerusalem) again being in Muslim controlled land.
In another post he again rejects calling Hamas terrorists speaking out against people “calling Palestinians as terrorists”. He tries to claim that the focus should be on Israel and the last 15 years. This is an attempt to shut down discussion about the Hamas terrorist attack targeting civlians and give it a free pass.
He speaks our again against Hamas be condemned. His words need to be read in full, including the closing remark, “when there’s no justice, there may never be peace!” a justification for continued violence and for war until victory. At one point he says “As for violence against civilians, no Muslim would ever condone such acts” but for the rest he seeks to justify, deflect, and ultimately reject the idea of condemning Hamas.
Do you condemn the violence committed by HAMAS???
The war didn’t begin nor ends on 7th October, if you have the audacity to whitewash the crimes of Israel for last 75 years (including the current massacre being perpetrated in Gaza), what makes you think others would dance to your tune of condemnation!
The morality & humanity doesn’t start and end on Muslims alone, you too are answerable – probably lot more than us
As for violence against civilians, no Muslim would ever condone such acts. However, Muslims had enough of this game of naked ‘condemnation’, we say no more
If Palestinians are to be called terrorists for killing any innocent Israelis,
then by that definition Israelis would be the biggest Terrorists of all time for killing 100 times more Palestinians
Peace demands Justice;
when there’s no justice, there may never be peace!
He engages in a “Jews control the media” antisemitic comspiracy rant where he refers to the media as a “propaganda machine” that is “fully activated by the Zionist Israeli handlers”. He dismisses the news that Hamas has killed women and children, the claims of rape against women by Hamas, the abductions, and the deaths. He seems to claim that contrary to what the media shows, Hamas engaged compassionately with Israelis.
He cited scriptural verses which appears to be glorifying the terrorism of Hamas.
He claims it is racist to demand people condemn the terrorist attacks, which he describes as “Palestinian resistance”, if they don’t also condemn Israeli war crimes.
He opposes those rejecting Hamas’ terrorism writing, “So those demanding to condemn Palestine resistance should first condemn Israel atleast 100 times, then talk to us!” He is not speaking of Israeli actions in the current conflict, but claiming the Hamas terrorist attack (which he describes as “Palestinian resistance”) is justified in light previous Palestinian deaths resulting from Israel’s actions in past conflicts. This is promoting both the tactic of terrorism and the on-going cycles of violence.
To be fair to Waseem Razvi there was one post he made, on October 8th (Australian time) shortly after the attack, in which he stated “Note: Innocent civilians, women & children should never be attacked on either side. May Allah protect the innocents”. Even in this post he seems to be gloating over what he describes as “Perhaps, A day of embarrassment for the State of Terror!”
Even that, however, came minutes after another post in which he stated “Israel the real Perpetrator – the Terrorist State” and posted a YouTube video from two years earlier. The video says it answers the question “Are Both sides Israel & Hamas to be blamed?” It starts with a statement that Hamas was always responsing to something. That logic doesn’t work in the current circumstance where the only thing Israel was doing was discussing a normalisation of relations with Saudi Arabia.
Yesterday he engaged in Holocaust distortion, describing Gaza as an Israeli concentration camp.
Earlier he used the Warsaw Ghetto.
And before that he wrote “Gaza is the new Gas Chamber!”
He also sought to draw analogies between Israel and Nazis.
Ealier he was even more direct in his Holocaust inversion stating “Benjamin Netanyahu is The Hitler for Palestinians”.
Use of scripture to promote hate
On Monday he posted “Now we understand why some were transformed into pigs and monkeys!” This is a direct dehumanisation of Jews. As Islam Questions and Answers explains, “Allaah has told us in more than one place in the Qur’aan that He transformed some of the Children of Israel into monkeys as a punishment for their disobedience towards Allaah.” It cites passages such as “those (Jews) who incurred the Curse of Allaah and His Wrath, and those of whom (some) He transformed into monkeys and swines” [al-Maa’idah 5:59-60].
A day before that he engaged in both dehumanisation and the adoption of an old trope of Christian antisemitism, that of deicide (claiming the Jews killed Jesus).
On October 19 he engages in demonisation, not only of Israel but also of those whose say they support Israel, which defacto woudl cover most of the Jewish community.
Support for War
The self-declared “Promoter of Peace” shared Hamas propoganda and debrated Muslim countries for not expanding the conflict into a new world war.
Today he delivered a sermon at Federation Square in Melbourne. His colleage from his organisation IREA posting about it on Facebook writing “From the River to the Sea palestin will be free inshAllah”. In the video Razvi says, “he has mentioned every detail in this book. So for the solution, for the problem that we are facing today, what is it we can look into it? There are several aspects that we need to look into, one, yes, we need to do certain action that challenge the status quo that is out there” – then the video cuts off without recording what these things are.