Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Australian extremist in NZ to wage war on Islam

RAM - Residents Action Movement
Media release on Voices of Peace
24 July 2007

Australian extremist in NZ
to wage war on Islam

Anti-war MP GEORGE GALLOWAY was recently suspended for 18 days from the British Parliament by pro-war politicians he has been fighting for decades. In the longest investigation in its history, a Westminster parliamentary committee found that Mr Galloway was innocent of any corruption, contrary to the smears of Tony Blair and George Bush, but suspended him anyway. The 10-person committee of pro-war, anti-Palestinian politicians were upset that "proper respect" was not shown to them as they hounded the one British MP who has all along opposed the unjust and murderous occupation of Iraq.

Mr Galloway has all along linked George Bush's so-called "War on Terror" with the global spread of Islamophobia, saying that Muslims and their faith are being demonised in a bid to legitimise the US state's crusade for oil and power. The British MP shot to world fame in 2005 when he testified before the US Senate and in effect put George Bush and his cronies "on trial" for war crimes.

Mr Galloway will be speaking against Islamophobia in Auckland on 27-29 July at Voices of Peace meetings hosted by RAM, the Residents Action Movement. (Meeting details below.)

"Voices of Peace is being held to counter the first stirrings of organised Islamophobia in New Zealand," said RAM organiser Grant Morgan.

"A group of right-wing Christian extremists from Australia are now in New Zealand to spread a message of hatred towards Muslims and Islam. They claim that Islam is the 'anti-Christ' and that Muslims are 'on the march' to take control of New Zealand. They allege that Muslims will destroy democracy here and force everyone to 'submit' to Islam, or else be enslaved or killed. They call for the 'mother' of all 'spiritual wars' to be waged against 'evil' Islam."

"The purpose of their closed-door 'Mosques and Miracles' conferences in Auckland and Wellington is to incite hundreds of people into forming the core of a racist campaign against New Zealand Muslims and their faith," said Grant Morgan.

One of the main "Mosques and Miracles" speakers is Daniel Shayesteh, an extreme right Christian preacher from Sydney. His ministry in Australia, called "Exodus from Darkness", seeks to convert Muslims to his version of fundamentalist Christianity through a lurid depiction of Islam as the satanic force of darkness.

Shayesteh claims to be a convert from an Islamic revolutionary organisation in Iran. He was elected to Khomeini's government in 1981, but after political disagreements with the Iranian regime he fled to Turkey in 1988. From there he entered Australia with the help of fundamentalist Christians. He taught business at the University of Technology in Sydney for eight years, but was fired after complaints about his extremist Christian harassment of others. He then began a new career: the demonisation of Islam.

In a letter to New Zealand's "Investigate" magazine (July 2007), Shayesteh wrote that he is "speaking out" to people in the West about the "dangers of Islam". Since 2003, he said, "I have been travelling worldwide, including NZ, to spread awareness [about Islam]."

Shayesteh is funded by several extreme right Christian groups, including The Christian & Missionary Alliance (a US-based evangelical coalition which is antagonistic to Islam) and Open Doors (a closed-door organisation which sees Christianity as a "persecuted church"). The New Zealand chapter of Open Doors is organising the "Mosques and Miracles" conferences in Wellington (25-26 July) and Auckland (27-28 July). The phone number of Open Doors is (09) 620 4200.

In New Zealand, Shayesteh is uncritically supported by "Challenge Weekly" newspaper which circulates widely inside right-wing Baptist and fundamentalist churches.

"[The Qur'an] is a book of war, which turns Muslims against the world," alleges Syahesteh on his website. "Jihad is the Arabic word for 'war' against non-Muslims... It's very important for people in the West to understand that Islam is not a religion of peace. Any Muslim who doesn't get involved in Jihad is sinning. That's the doctrine of Islam."

Another Shayesteh quote: "...Muslims want you to accept Islam as your religion; otherwise, they are not going to stop terrorism. To stop fighting against infidels is a sin in Islam."

And another: "Islam is the only religion that decrees the demolishing of other religions even to the cost of killing their followers unless they follow Muhammad."

Shayesteh's website (www.ministryblue.com/exodus) is full of similar quotes. More quotes appear below.

Shayesteh is closely linked to the reverend Fred Nile, national president of Australia's ultra-conservative Christian Democratic Party who was elected to the New South Wales parliament. Nile has advocated a moratorium on Muslim immigration into Australia and a ban on Muslims being elected to the NSW parliament. Shayesteh, on his website, praises Nile for being "a heart for this nation" and for his "support of what I am doing".

"The alliance between Syahesteh and Nile points to the political agenda of the Australian Islamophobes now touring New Zealand," said Grant Morgan. "They aim to incite non-Muslim communities into a war against our own Muslim community. But this is not the sort of New Zealand that the vast majority of our citizens want."

"RAM is organising Voices of Peace as a positive alternative to their racism against Muslims. RAM supports the values of social inclusion, equal rights for all and world peace. We are heartened by the groundswell of support that Voices of Peace is receiving from grassroots people. And we are proud to have such a powerful voice for world peace as George Galloway on our platform," said Grant Morgan.


  • "All my talks were about... the way to combat the threat of Islam..."

  • "Both the Qura'an and the Sharia commands Muslims to prepare themselves for terrorizing... Christians and non-Muslims."

  • "Islam is not a peaceful religion... We see that Islam is fighting all nations... It's the holy war of Islam..."

  • "Muslim ideology is cloaked in violence... The Muslim holy book seeps with violence... Osama bin Laden is the servant of Islam. Islam is the enemy of this country... Osama bin Laden can be changed, but Islam cannot. Osama bin Laden is just a tool in the hand of Islam."

  • "[Muslims] have to terrorize Christians and Jews by frightening them. By killing them, [Muslims] can take Islam... to the rest of the world."

  • "Islam does not believe in freedom and democracy... If you criticize Islam and Muhammad, your fingers should be chopped [off] first and then your head."

  • "It was Jesus who said love your enemy and fight against evil [Islam]... It is impossible to change Islam."

  • "The Kingdom of Allah on earth would mean the elimination of all other religions. At the top of the list are Judaism and Christianity."

  • "[Shayesteh] urged people to avoid a passive approach to multiculturalism unless they wanted to see Judeo-Christian and democratic values indiscriminately uprooted from their communities and nation [by Islam]."

  • "Islam teaches lying, deceiving, etc as legitimate tools for the sake and progress of religion."

  • "Muslims... will not compromise with the West, but they are delighted if the West chooses to compromise with Islam."

  • "...Radical Islam... acted as suicide bombers because of their own spiritual imprisonment... Nothing could change the heart of a hostile Muslim except Jesus. If we introduce radical Muslims to Jesus, Jesus will transform them from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light... Their problem is fundamentally spiritual..."


GEORGE GALLOWAY will be addressing these two meetings:


7.30pm, Saturday 28 July.
Auckland Girls Grammar School Theatre.
16 Howe St (off Karangahape Rd).
The three other speakers are:
  • JAVED KHAN, president of Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ.
  • PAUL BUCHANAN, international security analyst & director of the Working Group on Alternative Security Perspectives.
  • GRANT MORGAN, organiser of RAM - Residents Action Movement.
Limit of 800 seats, so those interested are being advised to get there early. NO DOOR CHARGE. Donations will be accepted. Off street car parks available.


6.30pm, Friday 27 July.
[NOTE: Meeting starts a half-hour later than first advertised.]
Library Basement, University of Auckland, Alfred St, central city (opposite Maidment Theatre).
The three other speakers are:
  • NIBRAS KARDAMAN, young Muslim woman & representative of the Working Together Group.
  • HANNAH SPIERER co-leader of Greens on Campus.
  • GRANT MORGAN, organiser of RAM - Residents Action Movement.
NO DOOR CHARGE. Donations will be accepted.

Both meetings OPEN TO THE MEDIA.


There will also be Voices of Peace workshops where the nature of Islamophobia will be examined by Muslims and non-Muslims and moves made towards forming a broad activist network which will campaign against racism and other social injustices. George Galloway will give the introduction.
2-5pm, Sunday 29 July.
Fickling Convention Centre, 546 Mt Albert Rd, Three Kings.
Limit of 250 participants, so those interested are being advised to get there early. Plenty of off street parking. NO DOOR CHARGE. Donations will be accepted.

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