Disturbing footage of the sale is being shared among Australian teenagers, some of whom appear to have been radicalised by the extreme violence associated with the outlawed Islamic State, and its black and white flag featuring the Shahada.
One 15-year-old Muslim boy who posted footage of the auction to his Instagram account has since posted pictures with the black flag of jihad.
In a chilling reflection of the IS campaign in Syria, another image of himself in a headscarf has a caption directed at Syria’s president: “going to kill Bashar al Assad now”.
While a Muslim community leader claimed the Shahada symbol had largely been hijacked by IS militants, political leaders slammed the flag auction at Liverpool’s Markaz Imam Ahmad mosque and youth centre, led by Sheikh Abu Adnan Mohamad. A painting depicting the flag was also sold.
Premier Mike Baird said the state government would not tolerate any action that gave comfort to terrorists.
“I note Islamic State is listed by the Commonwealth government as a terrorist organisation and that it is against the law to provide it with any support,” he said. “We expect everyone in NSW to obey the law or face the consequences. All parents and all communities need to protect young people from the insidious and corrosive effects of the radical ideologies that are causing so much suffering around the world.”
NSW MLC Fred Nile called the auction “disgraceful” and said the flag used by the Islamic State should be banned in Australia. “They fly the flag as something to be proud of — they should be ashamed of beheading people and selling women into slavery,” he said.
NSW Police investigated and said the auction would only constitute an offence if the proceeds were funnelled to terror groups.
The stated objective of the auction was to raise money for the mosque.
Attorney-General George Brandis has signalled the government’s intention to introduce new laws making it illegal to incite and promote terrorism. IS is designated as a terrorist organisation under Commonwealth law.
While repeated attempts to contact the mosque for comment by phone and email went unanswered, Muslim community leader Keysar Trad last night defended the sale, saying the Islamic State had “hijacked” the black and white standard, which bears the Shahada — an ancient Islamic creed that reads: “There is no God except God and Mohammed is the messenger of God.”