Australian police investigate ‘anti-Islamic website’

Federal police are investigating an anti-Islamic website that calls on supporters across Australia to oppose a mosque planned for North Cairns.

The “Winds of Jihad” website, created by a Cairns man who calls himself Sheik Yer’Mami, includes instructions to “do whatever it takes to stop them (Muslims) from spreading their tentacles”. It also urges opponents of a mosque being built at 31 Dunn St, opposite the Pioneer cemetery, to launch a public campaign against the development.

The Far North’s Muslim spiritual leader Imam Abdul Aziz labelled the website as “vulgar”, saying he contacted the Australian Federal Police yesterday to alert them to the website. He said the AFP was investigating the website because of its offensive and racist content.

“Islam has been in Cairns for more than 100 years and we’ve been practising our faith at this address for six-and-a-half years,” Mr Aziz said. “We don’t preach hatred or jihad against anybody. We’ve been a part of this community for a long time and all we’re interested in is preaching the word of God.

“I have contacted the federal police to alert them to this website and they told me they’ll look into it. We’ll leave this very vulgar website for the authorities to handle.”

An AFP spokeswoman yesterday said she was unable to comment on the matter.

The website urges opponents of the mosque to contact the Cairns City Council to raise concerns about planning issues such as parking, noise and negative impacts on tourism.

But it also warns: “A mosque in the area would, over time, attract many more adherents of the Muhammedan persuasion. It is more than likely that the area would gradually turn into a Muhammedan ghetto, a virtual no-go area.

“A ghetto where women are hijabbed or burka-clad and where aggressive, bearded men in Middle Eastern robes drive off other citizens, harass non-muslim citizens from coming through and prevent the police from doing their job.”

The website’s creator yesterday told The Cairns Post he had received more than 100 emails supporting his campaign. He refused to be identified because he feared for his safety and would not comment further because “everything I have to say is on my website”.

The Winds of Jihad website describes Sheik Yer’Mami as an accomplished musician, songwriter and poet who lives in a tree hut “somewhere in the rainforest”, sometimes on a boat and other times on a crocodile farm in Northern Australia.

Public submissions to council objecting to the mosque development application close tomorrow.

Dunn St resident Ian Haynes, who is not connected to the anti-Islamic group or website, said the mosque would create traffic chaos in the narrow street and devalue the price of homes in the area.

“I’ve spent a lot of money renovating my house and if I’d known there was going to be a mosque there when I bought my place three years ago I would’ve thought twice about making an offer,” Mr Haynes said. “The proposed height of the mosque worries me and it should stay low-key, the way it is now.”

Cairns Post, 8 March 2007