How bad is radicalisation and jihadism in NZ mosques?

The NZ Herald has a report about Egyptian imams being sent to take control of NZ Mosques.

Egypt’s Government is sending Cairo-educated imams to “take control” of New Zealand mosques and Islamic centres in a new drive to reduce radicalisation and counter jihadism.

The imams – trained at the ancient Al-Azhar University, regarded as the foremost institution in the Islamic world for the study of Sunni theology and sharia law – will spend up to three years working alongside local mosque leaders promoting moderate Islam and tolerance.

One imam is already working at a Wellington mosque and three more are applying for work visas, according to Egypt’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Tarek al-Wasimy.

Explaining true Islam and promoting its peaceful message was an important first, proactive step in protecting the world from militant Islam and terrorism, he said.

“We are all combating terrorism. It has no borders and nobody is immune,” he told the Herald yesterday.

“We don’t want anything to happen here like what has happened in Belgium, Paris, Madrid or London so we are sending imams to explain Islam and to take control of Islamic centres and mosques here.”

Mr al-Wasimy said the imams were funded by the Egyptian Government and Al-Azhar, which dates back to 970 and in recent years has embarked on a global initiative to improve the image of Islam, promote tolerance, and battle radicalisation and recruitment of young Muslims by extremist groups.

I see that the Herald has bought the spin.  

Let’s look at a few revealing details though from that short excerpt.

How bad is the radicalisation and jihadism in NZ mosques?

If imams are being sent to take control “in a new drive to reduce radicalisation and counter jihadism”, how bad is the radicalisation and jihadism in NZ mosques? It must be pretty bad if they need to take control.

Why only a reduction and not elimination?

The Egyptians want to take control to “reduce” radicalisation and jihadism. Does this mean that there is an acceptable level of radicalisation but NZ mosques have breached that threshold and so must now be controlled.

What are the KPIs?

If you are going to “reduce” something then you have to know how bad the problem is so that you can know that you are reducing it…but what is the acceptable level of radicalisation and jihadism in NZ mosques?

But there are also other important issues that aren’t raised by this article.

Are we seeing the start of a sectarian war to control mosques in New Zealand. The Egyptian Imams are Sunni, so they are obviously going to go head to head with Shiite imams…that hasn’t worked so well in the rest of the world. More importantly the Saudis have been funding mosques in New Zealand. They are Sunni, but Wahhabi Sunni, yet another sect of Islam. The Egyptians are clearly here to take control, are they going to oust Wahhabism from NZ mosques? I can’t imagine the Saudis will be happy about that development.

And a quick look at the Al-Azhar University should send shivers down anyone’s spine.

Al-Azhar has had an antagonistic relationship with Wahhabism and Salafism.

So they will go head to head with the Wahhabi influenced mosques. Then there is this:

Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy noted that among the priorities of Muslims are “to master all knowledge of the world and the hereafter, not least the technology of modern weapons to strengthen and defend the community and faith”. He added that “mastery over modern weaponry is important to prepare for any eventuality or prejudices of the others, although Islam is a religion of peace”.

Sheikh Tantawy also reasserted that his is the best faith to follow (a tenet common to proponents of many religions) and that Muslims have the duty of active da’wa. He has made declarations about Muslims interacting with non-Muslims who are not a threat to Muslims. There are non-Muslims living apart from Muslims and who are not enemies of Islam (“Muslims are allowed to undertake exchanges of interests with these non-Muslims so long as these ties do not tarnish the image of the faith”), and there are “the non-Muslims who live in the same country as the Muslims in cooperation and on friendly terms, and are not enemies of the faith” (“in this case, their rights and responsibilities are the same as the Muslims so long as they do not become enemies of Islam”).

And what are Al-Azhar University’s view of freedom of speech:

In October 2007, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy, then the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, drew allegations of stifling freedom of speech when he asked the Egyptian government to toughen its rules and punishments against journalists. During a Friday sermon in the presence of Egyptian Prime MinisterAhmed Nazif and a number of ministers, Tantawy was alleged to have stated that journalism which contributes to the spread of false rumours rather than true news deserved to be boycotted, and that it was tantamount to sinning for readers to purchase such newspapers. Tantawy, a supporter of then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, also called for a punishment of eighty lashes to “those who spread rumors” in an indictment of speculation by journalists over Mubarak’s ill health and possible death. This was not the first time that he had criticized the Egyptian press regarding its news coverage nor the first time he in return had been accused by the press of opposing freedom of speech. During a religious celebration in the same month, Tantawy had released comments alluding to “the arrogant and the pretenders who accuse others with the ugliest vice and unsubstantiated charges”. In response, Egypt’s press union issued a statement suggesting that Tantawy appeared to be involved in inciting and escalating a campaign against journalists and freedom of the press. Tantawy died in 2010 and was succeeded by Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb.

So these imams coming to “reduce” radicalisation and jihadism in NZ mosques aren’t that much different in their views. The Media party just laps it all up without becoming alarmed.

Then there is the stated aims of Al-Azhar University

They simply do not see the irony in statements like this:

Muslims, now about 1 per cent of the population, are New Zealand’s fastest-growing religious group.

We should be very concerned by that. At one per cent of the population Islam isn’t much of a problem, but once it starts growing the problems arise.

Expert Paul Buchanan is somewhat confused in that he says there isn’t any radicalisation or jihadism, but there is enough of a problem that the Egyptians are coming to take over. But then gets to the heart of the issue.

Egypt had also had little success combating extremism at home, so he was not sure what they expected to achieve here. They might be interested in countering the influence of Wahhabism – an ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim sect – in NZ, he said.

The imams could also be New Zealand-bound as part of an as-yet-unannounced trade deal, with their work aimed at “softening” the inevitable views from opposition parties to any deal with Egypt, he said.

“Otherwise [the Government] opens itself up to the charge that New Zealand is cosying up to a dictatorship,” Mr Buchanan said.

He doubted the gesture came without some kind of ulterior motive.

“There’s always more than meets the eye … why Egypt would choose New Zealand to export its anti-radicalisation views, you don’t have to be an international relations expert to see that’s unusual.”

New Zealand is the back door to Australia. They come here, gain permanent residency then off to Australia they go. So what you might say, but when you look at the stated aims of Al-Azhar University in proseltyzing Islam:

According to Muchlis, in the constitution of Egypt, Al-Azhar is an Islamic institution which is independent and has the authority to carry out all the activities of Islam.

Al-Azhar, he continued, was the main reference for religious sciences and Islamic affairs and was responsible for carrying out proselytizing activities.

Proseltyzing is defined as:

proselytize ‎(third-person singular simple presentproselytizes, present participleproselytizing, simple past and past participleproselytized)

  1. (intransitive) To encourage or induce people to join a religious movement, political party, or other cause or organization.
    It is illegal to proselytize in some countries
  2. (transitive) To convert (someone) to one’s own faith or beliefs.

So, far from being comfortable with this development of Egyptian imams coming to “reduce” radicalisation and jihadism, I am actually very concerned that we are letting in proselytizing imams intent on the spread of their sects view of Islam, which actually isn’t that much different from all the others.

They aren’t coming to help I can assure you.


– NZ Herald


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  • Second time around

    I suppose all Islamic sects will attend these courses, Sunni, Shi’ite alike, and put aside their differences. My limited understanding is that the Shi’ite side (the sort practised in Iran) is actually less literal in its interpretation of the faith, so perhaps more ready to adapt to a Western society.

  • R&BAvenger

    Good article again, much like the “Panama papers one. getting to the heart of the matter, thorough and reasoned writing and not just buying the spin.
    NZ must be wary and apply this wariness to whomever wants to immigrate to this country, especially those from the Middle East who adhere to the ‘religion of peace’. This genuine moderates are being murdered by their own, as evidenced by the recent death of the Muslim shopkeeper in Glasgow. Glasgow the bastion of thought control and canary in the mine for free speech in the UK and Europe.

  • Gazza

    Apart from the obvious in regards to what they want to do, who were the muppets that decided that this was a good reason to grant Work Visas, and by who I mean name names, not the department!

  • bristol

    There’s one glaring error with Ambassador Tarek al-Wasimy’s statement, “Explaining true Islam and promoting its peaceful message…” Islam is not a religion of peace, never has been, never will be, just ask Egypt’s Coptic Christian community.

    • OneTrack

      Just like the lefties and their language redefinition, when they say “peace” it doesn’t mean what westerners would expect it to mean.

      • bristol

        Yes, double speak is just one of the many common denominators. The
        Arabic term Islam is derived from aslama, which means “to surrender” or “resign oneself”. In their world, peace will only come when we all submit. Doesn’t take a genius to work it out does it?

    • KatB

      Yes, that sentence stuck out to me too. If you explain true Islam, I don’t think you will be able to promote a peaceful message.

  • kloyd0306

    Far simpler solutions:
    1) Close all mosques.
    2) Stop all future Muslim immigration.
    3) Put all resident Muslims on notice that they assimilate or be deported.

    • Charley jones

      That would be the correct solution. If you have a problem you do not add to that problem in order to erase the problem. Adding gasoline to the fire is insanity. Adding more trouble makers into your country just makes the problem worse. We know they are not coming to help Christian NZers or any other basic NZers. They will just inflame a situation that needs to be extinguished.

  • papagaya

    Expect to see NO in-depth analysis of this development in the mainstream media whatsoever.

  • Muffin

    Honestly, its like giving visas to the gestapo for the US during WW11 so that they can teach teh KKK to stop hating on black people

  • Orca

    I noted that the imams from Al-Alzhar are also supposed to be experts in sharia law. Why do we need to bring experts to teach a legal system that is in conflict with the law of this country?

  • One_step_beyond

    I agree that this ‘initiative’ needs to be treated with caution, although I can’t help sympathising with the Grand Imam’s view that bad reporting should incur 80 lashes!

  • Tiger

    Thank you to WO for shining some light on this matter. We can now forget about taking seriously any repeaters at once mighty news corporations from lapping up press releases without any investigation. This is disturbing. What is to be done about it? Which political party has the gonads to stand up and tell it like it is or do we have to wait for a boom in Queens Street before anyone takes this seriously?

    • johnandali

      I’m hopeful that Leighton will have read this article and the comments, and that he’ll talk about it tomorrow morning.

  • Jman

    As soon as I heard about this story my immediate thought was that they are coming here to proselytize and that the lines they feed to the media about coming to reduce radicalization is just taqiyya – deceiving the infidels so we don’t question their true intentions.

    I’m not surprised they have decided to start targeting New Zealand given what a soft touch we are. This is incredibly troubling.

  • veridian

    Hasn’t Egypt got more pressing concerns at home than to spend money sending its imams half way round to planet to New Zealand. What does the average Egyptian think about NZ?

    • kereru

      Nothing, but nothing, is more pressing than infiltrating ‘kufr’ nations – remember the Arab proverb about the camel’s nose under the tent?

  • Hard1

    Pity the Shia Muslims in NZ, then. These Sunni preachers revile Shiites.

    ” in Egypt, the small Shia population is harassed by the authorities and treated with suspicion, being arrested – ostensibly for security reasons – but then being subjected to torrents of abuse by state security officers for their religious beliefs. For decades, international organisations – including the UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – have documented instances in which Egyptian Shias have been targeted for their religious beliefs. A December 2012 report by UN refugee agency UNHCR highlighted the fact that Shias still cannot openly practice their religious rituals in Egypt. Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui told the UNHCR that many groups were being prosecuted for alleged ‘blasphemy.'”

    So they are only representing Sunni (read ISIS) Muslims.

    • Isherman

      Even worse for the Ahmadiyya community here. Islam is the state religion of Egypt (since 1980) and so these Imams will all be government approved, yet Egypt officially do not recognise or accept the Ahmadi as Muslim at all, so their status will be exactly zilch to these Imams…they are apostates.

      • johnandali

        And we all know the penalty for being an apostate.

    • johnandali

      You will also be aware that Christian communities are being decimated and destroyed by state-sanctioned Sunni extremists in Egypt. And do you ever hear a word from the United Nations condemning the murders and destruction? No. The UN only condemns Israel. These imams pose a threat to our stability, and once they are here, they will not be easy to deport.

  • shykiwibloke

    And how many Coptic Christians are they sending to help spread peace? I thought so.

  • Really?

    I’m a Muslim sharia law expert, I’m here to help.
    Yeah Right

  • oldmanNZ

    so to the layperson who read the Herald, would think ,
    ” this look good, we are having some decent people in to make sure the muslims are not radicals, we should go an have a happy Halal festival”

    this is what they want you to think (the inmans), as with the “refugees”, again, they playing on your emotions.
    I supsect the inmans make sure what Islam is.

  • LocalYokel

    I did not know that being an Imam was a preferred occupation. Maybe I could get my barred relatives to become Imams?

  • cows4me

    Why do you need to explain peace? I thought that would be a self evident truth. Explaining peace is in the same category as the government saying we are here to help.

  • Plantagenet

    Al Azhar University has previously acknowledged Isis as terrorists but they have refused to condemn them as heretics because Isis are following, to the letter, the tenets of Islam. Al Azhar also declared in a ruling on the Jordanian pilot that Isis burnt alive in a cage (remember that poor guy?) that the proper punishment for the Isis terrorists, according to Islamic teaching, was crucifixion or having their limbs cut off. And these are the purveyors of peace and moderation that are coming to this country to sort out the radicals even though we’re told they don’t exist here? Yeah right.

  • sandalwood789

    “…although Islam is a religion of peace”.

    Oh. That would explain the estimated 270 million (and counting) non-Muslims killed in the last 1400 years – all killed in the name of Islam.

    It would also explain the over 500 verses of hate towards non-Muslims in the Koran (and the over 100 calling on Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims).

  • Eddie

    Does our race relations commissioner and FIANZ spokesperson welcome this needed takeover of NZ mosques and, therefore, agree that a certain religion has a problem or does she oppose these Imams arrival on the basis that we have no problem?

  • one for the road

    If the Govt and immigration NZ give visas to these innam then there should be protests in the streets

  • J Ryan

    I read the NZH article, I seen the news. Nothing like the information offered here. That’s why I donate.

  • Wannabee

    I take it these are the same Egyptian Muslims that practice female genital mutilation. I hate to think what radical means if that is their idea of moderate.

  • LesleyNZ

    I have a Muslim friend whose parents will be very concerned about this very clever and subtle attempted/takeover by Egypt. We should all be worried and we will have problems in NZ because the Egyptian Imams will not consider the moderate Muslims who have been living here for years (and born here) to be proper Muslims. I can’t believe that Immigration NZ could be so naive and stupid to let these Egyptian Imams into NZ like this. I heard that Mt Roskill is now Muslim country and that non-Muslims living there feel very much like fish out of water. Is this true? If so trouble is brewing………

    • rexabus

      It’s not quite that bad yet but there are parts of mt Roskill which have changed pretty fast. I see the niqab pretty much every day now round here but was pretty rare to see it 7-8 yrs ago. Now they’ve got a foothold, the ones who are here will be active in bringing in more, many more.

  • johnandali

    Something smells here. The mosques have been paid for by Sunni Saudi Arabia. The Egyptian imams are also Sunni. ISIS are Sunni. And Sunni doctrines seem to support everything that is totally foreign and alien to our Christian-based culture. I wonder what would have happened if Shi-ite imams were on offer to preach in the Sunni-funded mosques in NZ? An uprising? The whole thing looks to have been very well concocted to me. All too much of a coincidence. Planned. I think that we should decline the offer.

  • rexabus

    Very good article. I felt the same, reading the herald piece on it. It’s all a bit too nice and easy. There’s got to be more to this than meets the eye. Just letting more wolves in but through another door I suspect. The few extremists we have here are just a sideshow off on the wrong tangent(for the time being)and probably detrimental to the bigger plan islam HQ would have which is getting big numbers in to our country and australia ,and keeping their heads down until that happens. The really serious stuff doesn’t happen until they’ve got weight of numbers