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Taxation office to probe Muslim cleric on Saudi cash

ICC Note: We have been writing in our newsletter and press releases for the last number of years about this problem. It’s great to see it making into the mainstream news. While the Iranians are the main problem in radicalizing the Muslims of the Middle East (territories in Israel , Iraq , Lebanon ) the Saudi’s are the main source of Islamic radicalism around the world via funding of clerics, mosques, and maddrassas. Their spread of Wahabbi Islamic hatred and intolerance is the main source of Christian persecution in the world today.
Taxation office to probe Muslim cleric on Saudi cash
Richard Kerbaj

3/20/2007 Australia/Islam (for the full story, go to The Herald Sun) A SENIOR Muslim cleric working for the tax office in Canberra ( Australia ) is being investigated over accusations he failed to pay income tax on thousands of dollars he allegedly received from the Saudi embassy.

An ACT Islamic organisation has also accused the Palestinian-born imam Mohammad Swaiti of being "radical", anti-Western in his religious teachings, and failing to declare payments he received from officiating at wedding ceremonies.

Documents obtained by The Australian reveal an Australian Tax Office investigation into Sheik Swaiti over allegations by senior Muslim community leaders that he failed to declare his clerical allowances of up to $US30,000 ($37,700) a year, which were paid to him by the Saudi Government.

The claims come after The Australian last week revealed that hardline Islamic clerics were encouraging their followers not to pay income tax because they considered it contrary to sharia law.

Sheik Swaiti refused to answer The Australian's questions regarding the ATO investigation and accusations levelled at him by sections of his community, saying God would deal with them.

"God is watching but let them do what they want," he said in Arabic. "Even if they accuse me of murder, I will not comment. You should not take any rubbish from anyone."

Mr Poskovic - whose organisation runs Canberra 's Abu Bakr Mosque at which Sheik Swaiti is employed part-time - said the tax office refused to give him any details of the investigation, saying it was restricted by privacy issues.

"I ring them and they said to me we put (the investigation) in a proper hand and channel but we can't give any information on what we're doing," he said.

A tax office spokeswoman would not comment on the matter.

Mr Poskovic accused the Saudi Embassy of bankrolling the annual salaries of up to 20 imams around Australia, including Sheik Swaiti, through its Islamic donations (Daawa) office.

A letter understood to be sent on behalf of Mr Poskovic claims the Saudis pay the imams "mukafa", which is regarded a "reward compensation payment". It also alleges that Sheik Swaiti had been on the Saudi payroll for 12 years.

The Australian could not contact the Saudi embassy, which has previously declined to provide details on whether Islamic religious organizations receive funding from the Saudi Government. On January 9, the embassy expressed shock over Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's concerns about the funding of Adelaide 's mosque.

Mr Poskovic said the Saudi Embassy was dividing the community by paying some imams to propagate the hardline Wahabbi ideology, a claim he has put to the Department of Foreign Affairs. In a letter to DFAT dated March 6, Mr Poskovic warns that community tensions "will escalate to physical violence in the near future" if the Saudi embassy does not stop its "interference" in community affairs.

Mr Poskovic said while his organisation ran Canberra 's only mosque, it was powerless to have Sheik Swaiti thrown out because of his strong community support.

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