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Australia: Muslim Taxi Conversions


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mlTAXI authorities have condemned an Islamic recruiting drive by some of

Melbourne's Muslim cabbies using propaganda-style DVDs featuring radical

preacher Sheik Khalid Yasin.

Three DVDs, two featuring Sheik Yasin, have been handed to the Herald Sun by

an unwitting cab driver after a night trip.

The pro-Islamic discs were handed over in what appeared to be a sales pitch.

A controversial cleric, Sheik Yasin's past outspoken visits to Australia

have concerned security agencies and the Federal Government.

The DVDs given to the Herald Sun, with titles including Death . . . Your

Time Is Up! and What Do You Really Know About Islam? feature Sheik Yasin


The Victorian Taxi Directorate and police sources have condemned the

practice of cabbies handing religious material to passengers.

It contravenes regulations and police say it could lead to violence against


"The directorate is concerned with any driver conduct which may cause

offence to the public," a VTD spokesman said in a statement.

"The VTD will investigate all complaints lodged through our feedback and

complaints service, and strongly encourages passengers to lodge complaints

when they are unhappy or concerned with the service they have received."

Two of the three discs given to the Herald Sun name Sheik Yasin as executive

director of the Islamic Teaching Institute, dedicated to "conveying the


"In the past 10 years, the ITI has delivered more than 5000 persons to Islam

and an additional 1476 since the September 11 attacks," the DVDs say.

"Sheik Yasin delivered a lecture in Saudi Arabia in 1994, which resulted in

43 persons accepting Islam on that very night."

In one of the DVDs, Sheik Yasin says: "Let me for a moment introduce you to

death so you know his name, know his characteristics.

"You will feel him. You will smell him. You will taste him. You will touch


In another, the Malcolm X-inspired preacher says: "Many of you have heard or

you've been told that Muslims are terrorists, fanatics, heretics,

extremists, murderers and hostage takers.

"In some cases that is true . . . but let us be objective.

"Have not Jews and Christians also done those things, and are they not also

doing those things? Yes, they are."

The VTD spokesman said: "The directorate condemns any practices within taxi

operations not associated with the core practice of providing a public

transport option."

Victoria Police would not officially comment on the issue, saying unless the

DVDs were inciting violence it appeared no crime was being committed.

But one senior police officer said: "It's not the role of a taxi driver to

be pushing his religion on passengers.

"With all the drunks and drug-affected people in and around the city, these

sorts of DVDs could offend them and spark violence."

Sheik Yasin, a US-born preacher, has visited Australia on several occasions

and lectured Islamic community groups and universities.

He gained notoriety in Australia by announcing on TV it was God's will

homosexuals be executed, and husbands could beat their misbehaving wives.

In 2005, Sheik Yasin wanted to set up a TV channel to convert Aborigines to


He also claimed the September 11 attacks were not the work of al-Qaida, and

there was no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend.

Australian politicians have called for the cancellation of his visa so he

cannot come back.

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