Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib speaks at the At-Taqwa mosque in south Auckland.
An Auckland Imam who was criticised for hate speech against Jews has been permanently stood down from the Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ.
Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib was the Secretary for the Ulama Board, the Federation’s religious advisory board.
His employment was terminated on Wednesday morning, effective immediately.
Federation president, Hazim Arafeh, said in a statement that FIANZ condemn and reject any form of anti-Semitic or hate speech and will also not tolerate any derogatory comments and speeches against women.
The announcement comes after videos of Sahib speaking at the At-Taqwa mosque in Manukau were shown to the Human Rights Commission.
“The Christians are using the Jews, and the Jews are using everybody,” Sahib said in the sermon filmed in November.
“Because they think that their protocol is to rule the entire world … “
Sahib said in a statement that he deserved an apology, saying the video had been a “cut-and-paste version” of his original sermons and did not reflect his views.
“I do not hate any human being regardless of their faith, place of origin, race, colour and political affiliation. As an individual and one of the FIANZ religious advisors, I have always preached for peace and harmony in the society.”
Sahib said his intention was “completely different from the reported distorted version”.
Human Rights Commission spokeswoman Christine Ammunson said it was initially made aware of the video by members of the New Zealand Jewish community, and Race Relations commissioner Dame Susan Devoy said such speeches had no place in New Zealand.
The Commission had received 17 complaints about Sahib – one more than it had received about Brian Tamaki’s comments that gay people caused earthquakes.
FIANZ said it wishes to reassure all New Zealanders that it “vehemently oppose[s] all teachings promoting intolerance, prejudice and discrimination against the followers of any faith, including Jewish”.
Arafeh said the association is aware of complaints made regarding Sahib to the Human Rights Commission following these speeches, and FIANZ extended its full cooperation to the Commission.
The New Zealand Jewish Council said it was pleased that FIANZ decided to stand Sahib down, but was still concerned he could continue to preach.
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