Thursday 11 August 2005
Abdur Raheem Green "Refused Entry To Australia"
by Caroline Overington
Source: The Australian
Abdur Raheem Green, a radical Muslim convert from Britain who has said Muslims and Westerners "cannot live peaceably together", has been blocked from coming to Australia.
Mr Green - whose name appears on the Immigration Department's "movement alert list" - attempted to board a plane from Sri Lanka to Wellington on Monday. The plane was due to make a one-hour stop in Brisbane en route.
"I was told I could not board because the plane had to stop in Australia," Mr Green said yesterday.
"I was with my two teenage sons and they were free to go, but I was not."
Mr Green, a British citizen born Ashley Green, is due to make a series of speeches in Australia next week, including one at the Lakemba Mosque in western Sydney.
He has said conflict between Islam and the West is "ordered in the Koran", and "dying while fighting jihad is one of the surest ways to paradise and Allah's good pleasure".
He now claims to have moderated his views.
A spokeswoman for the Immigration Department said Mr Green had been prevented from boarding the plane because his name was on the movement alert list. "That doesn't mean he's been banned from Australia. The Australian Government has not come to any particular view about Mr Green," the spokeswoman said.
"But when he tried to check in, his name popped up on that list and he was not cleared for embarkation. That basically means he wasn't allowed to get on the plane.
"If he tries to board another plane to Australia, his name will pop up again and then we will consider his case and he may be allowed to enter."
Mr Green was invited to Australia by the Sydney-based Islamic Development Centre of Australia. It is not clear whether he will be cleared to enter the country in time for his planned lecture tour starting on August 17.
John Howard last week backed British plans to deport Islamic extremists who preached hate and terror. The Prime Minister said yesterday he saw merit in plans by his counterpart Tony Blair in the wake of the London bombings to expel extremists.
But Mr Green said he had changed his radical views about Islam over time.
"I was a bit younger then and maybe I was a bit passionate or whatever, and did say things I would never say now," he said.
"For the past five, six, seven years, my message to Muslim youth has been to condemn terror, to be good Muslims and show people the real face of Islam."
Mr Green said he was "devastated" by the London bombings.
"I hope Australia can understand I'm not a radical extremist," he said.
"If I was going to go around recruiting people for suicide bombings, I'd expect the Government to ban me, but that's absolutely not what I'm about. I've always been known as a moderate. I condemn terror. Killing women and children is against Islam."
Mr Green said he would visit the Australian embassy in Wellington tomorrow to try to sort out the problem in time to give his lectures in Sydney.
His New Zealand host, Javed Khan of the Federation of Islamic Association, said he was "very surprised" Mr Green was denied permission to board the plane to Australia.
"He was very surprised too," Mr Khan said. "I was with him last night, and I assure you he's very moderate. He has always promoted peace and harmony."
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