We won’t miss him: Sydney-based leader of Islamist group who called for Sharia law in Australia is detained in the Middle East with his wife
The Sydney-based leader of an Islamist group campaigning for Sharia law has been detained in Jordan.
Ismail al-Wahwah, a former taxi driver who is now the spiritual leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia, was detained at Amman Airport on Wednesday while travelling to the Arab nation in the Middle East with his wife.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia announced the Condell Park man, from south-west Sydney, was arrested upon arrival in the country and taken into custody by Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate without access to a lawyer.
‘It is unclear at this stage as to the basis of his detainment, but sources close to the family indicate he is likely to be formally charged and/or prosecuted over the coming days,’ the Islamist group said in a statement.
His family will be seeking Australian consular assistance in Jordan and Australia.
‘We pray Allah protects the health and well being of Ismail Alwahwah and secures his immediate release,’ Hizb ut-Tahrir said.
‘We ask you to extend a sincere prayer in his support too inshaAllah.’
Daily Mail Australia has sought confirmation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The Islamist preacher, known in the Muslim community as Abu Anas al-Wahwah, has previously been deported from Indonesia and travelled to Syria in 2013 in support of an Islamic caliphate.
His arrest this week occurred two years after he told a ‘caliphate conference’ at Ankara in Turkey that Muslims needed to lead‘the armies of jihad that will conquer Europe and America’ where their enemies have ‘black hearts’.
A video from March 2016, translated and shared by the Middle East Research Institute, showed him ranting about the need to restore an Islamic caliphate.
He called on the attendees at the Ankara conference to pledge ‘before Allah to restore the caliphate, to raise the banner, to restore the Sharia, to unite the Islamic nation and to lead the armies of jihad that will conquer Europe and America so that the word of Allah will reign supreme’.
In his speech, al-Wahwah also warned attendants not to trust their ‘enemies’ in America, Europe and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
‘They are all enemies. Their hearts are black. They hate you, your religion, your Muhammad, and your Quran,’ he said.
‘Start dealing with them, before they start dealing with you. Cut of their hands before they sow corruption on the land. You in Turkey are able to do that, Allah willing.’
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been linked to the 2015 shooting in Parramatta of accountant Curtis Cheng, following revelations it radicalised 15-year-old who shot the father-of-two dead.
Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad reportedly listened to a talk by Hizb ut-Tahrir at Parramatta mosque in Sydney’s west and changed into a black robe before he headed to the nearby New South Wales Police headquarters and shot Mr Cheng in the back of the head in September 2015.
The fundamentalist group he leads opposes democracy.
Daily Mail Australia last year filmed a senior leader Uthman Badar declaring that ex-Muslims, also known as apostates, deserved death.
Al-Wahwah has previously called Jews ‘the most evil creatures of Allah’.
In February 2016, mosques began banning the preacher who then resorted to renting halls and private spaces.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation reportedly visited a western Sydney mosque several times and caretaker Mohammed Elzamtar asked Al-Wahwah to ‘tone down’ his sermons.
‘I felt that our community is under a lot of pressure and I didn’t want him to get into trouble,’ he said.
Lindt cafe shooter Man Haron Monis attended a Hizb ut-Tahrir presentation at their Lakemba headquarters in June 2014 and was photographed with their leaders.