Australian judge calls Islamic leader ‘racist’

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — An Australian judge branded an Islamic leader who holds views derogatory of Jews a “racist” in rejecting his defamation claim.

New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Peter McClellan on Friday rejected the defamation claim against a Sydney radio station brought by Keysar Trad, the founder of the Islamic Friendship Association.

“There is little doubt that many of the plaintiff’s remarks are offensive to Jewish persons and homosexuals,” McClellan said in his judgment. “I’m satisfied that the plaintiff does hold views which can properly be described as racist.

“I’m also satisfied that he encourages others to hold those views. In particular he holds views derogatory of Jewish people,” the judge said.

Trad had sued Sydney radio station 2GB for defamation in 2005 after its morning host called him a "disgraceful and dangerous individual who incited violence, hatred and racism" following a December 2005 rally. In 2007 a jury supported his claim, but McClelland effectively quashed the verdict, finding in favor of the radio station and ruling that the case should be dismissed.

Trad is the longstanding spokesman of the mufti of Australia, Sheik Tajeddin al-Hilaly, who has been considered antagonistic to the Jewish people since he delivered a speech at the University of Sydney in 1988 accusing Jews of being “the underlying cause of all wars threatening the peace and security of the whole inhabited earth.”

Since then, Trad has defended the Egyptian-born cleric, who has described the Holocaust as a “Zionist lie” and Israel as “a cancer.” In 2004, after a sermon at a mosque in Sidon, Lebanon, during which Hilaly lauded suicide bombers, Trad described him as “a voice of moderation.”

Trad intends to appeal Friday’s verdict, according to reports.
 

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