Australian Sheikh: conspiracies & antisemitism

An Australian sheikh is circulating conspiracy theories and antisemitism online. Born in Algeria, but now based in Perth, Sunni preacher Sheikh Sufyaan Khalifa was associated until 2018 with the Dawa Association of Western Australia in Cannington, which is no longer active.

Khalifa on the other hand remains very active. In a series of dozens of Arabic-language videos called “Wakafat plus” (“Moments to pause plus”) published on his YouTube channel over the last few months, Khalifa has been distributing to thousands of followers wild coronavirus-related accusations mixed with a variety of conspiracy theories. The result is a confusing mishmash of fables and misinformation, which –  as my previous investigations of this topic indicate – generally arrives hand in hand with antisemitic tropes.

The Satanic “Plandemic”

The main idea advanced by Khalifa with respect to the coronavirus is that the pandemic is one part of a chain of events constituting a Satanic grand historical plan. The leaders involved in this evil scheme in Australia, according to Khalifa, include the Victorian state authorities (which he calls a “Government of dictators”) – particularly Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who Khalifa labels “a dictator”, “a virus” and a fascist who will be punished in the afterlife. Also involved is Prime Minister Scott Morrison – “the head of the snake”, who along with Andrews, are “the faces of the devil,” Khalifa says.

Sufyaan Khalifa’s facebook page (screenshot)

Both are part of a global “satanic cult” of “Nazi government” led by the illuminati, implementing the evil UN’s Agenda 2030 program devised by the antichrist, the Dajjal (devil) in Arabic. The aim of this scheme is to set up “a new world order” to enslave all humanity by using the media, the police and other forces (such as the extreme left movement Antifa) to create ethnic and social strife (Khalifa gives as examples of this strife the civil unrest in the US following the killing of George Floyd and the 9/11 terror attacks).

Homosexuality, which Khalifa labels as the work of “Satan” aimed at destroying humanity, is also part of the evil plan and hence, Khalifa calls on Muslims to reject LGBTQ community members because they will end up in hell.

Khalifa is a believer in the conspiracy theory that the virus is a made-up pandemic, a “Plandemic”, designed only to sell fake vaccines created by the “Bill Gates foundation.” He staunchly objects to practising social distancing, the closure of mosques, wearing masks and even testing for coronavirus.

Official data about the number of infected people is a fabrication, says Khalifa, while he alleges that the Australian government ordered aged care facilities to tamper with the data about coronavirus-related deaths among residents in exchange for funds for their sector. He also expresses support for the conspiracy theorist Karen Brewer, whom he calls a “great lady”. Brewer was fined almost $1 million for a series of defamatory allegations, and banned from social media because of what Khalifa calls “her truthful stand against the masonic cult.”

Victoria’s “fascist communist Zionist government”

Khalifa works hard to create a positive image of himself by citing the alleged similarities amongst all religions – Judaism included – and calling on all faiths to unite with “Love, compassion and sacrifice” to “defeat Satan.”

Yet this ecumenical spirit does not stop Khalifa from sharing antisemitic and Holocaust denial sources on his Facebook page.

For example, he advocates his followers “Educate yourself and be ready for the truth” by reading the contents of https://worldundercover.webs.com/. This website teaches, for example, about “Zevite Satanist Jews”, arguing that “Hitler’s main target was not the Jews but rather the Zevite Satanists who had infiltrated the legal system of Germany.” The website also claims that Sigmund Freud’s psychological theory is based on “[Talmudic writings which are] a compendium of insanity. Freudian Psychology is actually directed at the Talmudic mentality and NOT the Gentile mentality because most of Freud’s patients were coming out of this insane asylum and were victims of it.” Finally, it refers its readers to notorious antisemitic texts such as the The Khazar Jewish Messiah & Occult Agenda of Zion and The Protocols of [the elders of] Zion.

Worse, any message of peace and harmony evaporates when it comes to the Jewish State and is immediately replaced with antisemitic conspiracy theories. In mid-September Khalifa posted a video in Arabic in which he blamed “global Zionism” and Israel for the creation of coronavirus, the 9/11 terror attacks and other negative events: “The 9/11 events, Covid-19, ISIS, Boko Haram [African Jihadist terror organisation] and other bad events ravaging in the world – they are the results of the leaders of one element – global Zionism that controls the world and their many friends, that are igniting conflicts in several areas across the world.”

After presenting a pyramid of world control headed by the illuminati, which is in fact “the devil” (Dajjal), which manages the UN, all governments etc., Khalifa states that “Masonic” Israel, “which controls the world,” created COVID-19: “Global Zionism and the Freemasons are behind all the crimes happening in all countries, specifically in the Arab states. Its headquarters is in the hated Israel, the Zionist entity.”

Similarly, Khalifa’s interpretation of the protests against the lockdown in Melbourne was to suggest that demonstrators were conveying the message; “No to tyranny, no to lockdowns, free Victoria, no to pedophiles, no to Zionists, no to free masons!”. He also said all these forces are “networking” together to destroy Australia.

This video finished with a segment from a clip created by an extremist Brisbane activist named Max Igan (pseudonym) – who is infamous for his conspiracy theories, anti-Israel views and using antisemitic and Holocaust denial sources as references.

In the August 16 segment of his “Australia Wake Up” series, Khalifa tried to tie alleged heavy-handed police tactics towards people in Melbourne refusing to wear masks to what is happening in Israel. “Is it the same Zionist movement that the Palestinians are suffering from in Palestine by the Zionist government of Netanyahu?” he said of the Melbourne police tactics. He later repeated this comparison: “How dare we see a typical fascist communist Zionist government in Victoria taking over our liberty, locking down our fellow Australians and crushing down any type of democracy?”

Teach Muslim children: The Jews will be killed on Judgement Day

In a May 2020 video, Khalifa warned Muslims of the coming of a “Big Israel” stage of the supposed malicious grand plan to erect the new world order – in which Israel will control Lebanon, Syria, parts of Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula, and most Arabs will be killed.

Khalifa’s Youtube video – Israel is behind 9.11 and Covid-19 (screenshot)

Conspiracies tying Israel to the August 4 Beirut blast are commonplace in the Arab world, as well as among extremist in Australia. Khalifa added his own voice to the mix of lies by arguing that the explosion is (again) part of secret preparations for the upcoming World War III, and was actually the result of an Israeli missile or a bomb planted in the port: “There is no doubt that Israel has the weapons and the capabilities to do it […] The truth is that Israel is behind this attack”. His proof? A well-known fake news source – the Russian website Veterans Today – which falsely alleged Israel struck Beirut with a sea-to-land Gabriel missile and then with a Delilah “nuclear missile” fired from an F-16 jet.

Unsurprisingly, Khalifa is a fan of antisemitic conspiracy theorist David Icke. In line with some of Icke’s tropes, on one occasion (July 2020), Khalifa lists the reasons why “the Arabs are being attacked” and includes among them “because they are the dam at the port against the Zionists and the global [Free] Masons [organisation]”

In his “I will not forget you Palestine” video, Khalifa concludes that: “Palestine is not for sale, and will never be [for sale]. Palestine belongs to her sons, and to the families of Muslims, Christians and other denominations” that were displaced and removed from it by “the Zionists occupiers”.

Stating that the Arab world will not be free until “Palestine is freed and returns into the Muslims’ possession”, he calls on all Arabs to teach their children the controversial Islamic Hadith (stories and sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammed and/or his companions) which claims that Muslims will kill the Jews on Judgement Day (Sahih Muslim): “The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.”

Khalifa’s “Al-Quds [belongs] to us” video (Feb 2020) was a response to the US Trump Administration peace plan released in January. In it, Khalifa unleashes a series of curses on the “criminal Zionists” and the “lying conqueror oppressor” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. US President, Donald Trump is Netanyahu’s “wild friend from the monkeys and pigs” and both of them are “murderers”, Khalifa says.

Worryingly, Khalifa has succeeded in scoring a crowd of followers in Australia. Judging from their social media posts, at least some of his Melbournian friends on Facebook follow his ideas, share his conspiratorial beliefs, and were involved in illegal protests in the city and/or voiced antisemitic views.

No wonder Khalifa was reprimanded by the Australian Muslim Times (AMUST) in the August 2020 edition for spreading his COVID-19 related conspiracies. Sadly, the justified rejection of this extremist sheikh by AMUST did not include a critically-needed condemnation of his blatant antisemitism.

In any case, this extreme preacher should not be allowed to continue spreading hate and lies unabated without exposure and scrutiny. At a time when social media multinationals such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are increasingly seeking to limit access to disinformation and racist content, Khalifa’s false claims, danger to public health, and open antisemitism, should make him an obvious candidate for exclusion.

About the Author
A Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, teaching about the Middle East and Israel at Melbourne Uni and Monash University. A published analyst on the Middle East and Israel, he is a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzliya Israel and a research Associate at Future Directions International Research Institute, Western Australia.
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