Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

News Brief


Police will question Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric about his support for Hezbollah.

Sheik Fehmi Naji El-Imam, the mufti of Australia, publicly declared his support for the Iranian-backed terrorists during Israel’s war against them in southern Lebanon last year.

Victoria Police counterterrorism agents, who are trying to crack an apparent Hezbollah cell in Melbourne, will interview Fehmi and many other Muslims suspected of being connected to the outlawed Shia group, according to The Australian newspaper.

Hezbollah’s military wing is outlawed in Australia, but support for its political wing is not illegal.

Authorities have not yet quizzed Fehmi, 79, who took over in June as mufti from the controversial Sheik Tajeddin al-Hilaly, because he has been unwell. Hilaly lauded suicide bombers during a visit to Lebanon several years ago.

Hilaly also was accused of sending funds to Hezbollah fighters during the conflict in the summer of 2006.

Recommended from JTA