How the Defence imam got his job…

Australians were decidedly unhappy that Sheikh Mohammadu Nawas Saleem was appointed to be the Defence imam.

After all, this bloke had signed a petition publicly supporting Hizb ut Tahrir and had called for Sharia law in Australia. He was also a key member of the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) when it condemned Australia’s military activities against the Islamic State and complained to parliament that laws prohibiting the advocation of terrorism infringed the free speech of Islamic preachers.

Given this, it is likely that Australians will be completely outraged to learn how this person actually got his job.

There were no checks. There were no balances.

There was zero vetting.

Basically, ANIC approached the Defence Force and said they want in. And Defence said your wish is my command.

Documents obtained by this website via Freedom of Information (and shown below) reveal that Nawas Saleem was appointed on the recommendation of ANIC and that he was described in a briefing note sent to the then Assistant Minister for Defence ‘as an excellent representative for the RACS [Religious Advisory Committee to the Services]’.

All of this occurred as Saleem was acting like a typical imam and demonstrating his support for things that most Australians would hold great concern about.

Here is a timeline of his appointment and all the signs that Defence failed to notice:

  • 18 May 2011 – The Australian quotes Nawas Saleem calling for the introduction of Sharia law into Australia.
  • 2014 – ANIC requests the establishment of Islamic chaplaincy within Defence.
  • 3 September 2014 – ANIC issues a press release opposing ADF operations against Islamic State.
  • 6 October 2014 – ANIC lodges a submission to parliament opposes laws prohibiting the advocation of terrorism.
  • 19 December 2014 – the Chief of Defence Force writes to ANIC and asks for a nomination for Defence imam.
  • 12 February 2014 – ANIC recommends Nawas Saleem to be the Defence imam.
  • 19 February 2015 – Nawas Saleem signs petition supporting Hizb ut Tahrir.
  • 13 April 2015 – Nawas Saleem meets with Air Vice Marshal Tony Needham.
  • 27 April 2015 – The Acting Chief of Defence Force recommends the appointment of Nawas Saleem.
  • 11 May 2015 – The Assistant Minister notes the recommendation.
  • 21 May 2015 – The Assistant Minister for Defence gives the green light to Nawas Saleem’s appointment.
  • 21 May 2015 – The Assistant Minister for Defence writes to Nawas Saleem notifying him of his appointment to Defence’s Religious Advisory Committee to the Services.
  • 2 June 2015 – Nawas Saleem takes up his appointment.
  • 23 June 2017 – The Minister for Defence Personnel announces that the Defence imam has resigned.

During the FOI process I requested all briefs, reports or emails to or from the Minister for Defence and Assistant Minister for Defence in relation to the appointment of Nawas Saleem.

I was expecting the Minister would at least have received a briefing about Nawas Saleem’s views and support for Sharia law.

There was none.

As I said, this appointment was made with zero vetting and zero checking.

I have long warned that the politically-correct imperative to increase Islamic recruitment will lead to the reduction in standards and questionable vetting processes.

And now we have proof that when it came to Nawas Saleem, I was correct.

To make matters worse, the supposedly conservative Kevin Andrews was Minister for Defence at this time. He proved just as useful as the notoriously anti-conservative Stuart Roberts.

And the three service chiefs were also given briefings.

No one said anything. Except, that is, the Acting Chief of Defence Force.

He advised the Assistant Minister for Defence that the appointment of Saleem was an important step and that a communications strategy should be developed.

It was alright.

The day Nawas Saleem was appointed, Stuart Robert issued a press release linking him to increased recruitment of a ‘culturally and linguistically diverse workforce’.

Thank God, but it seems that the Islamic State has completely outperformed Defence in this area. It has had far more success in the recruitment of ‘culturally’ and ‘linguistically’ diverse Australians.

Nawas Saleem resigned earlier this year after pressure from this website.

But I will remain vigilante. I have recently been briefed that Defence is currently seekingto replace him with another imam.

I hope not.

But if another imam pops up, I’ll do a fifteen minute google search and go back into battle again.

And if Defence wants to go down this path, I suggest it do one as well.

It’s really not that hard…

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Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of eight children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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