Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock on Tuesday welcomed a government agency's decision to ban two books that encourage young Muslims to become suicide bombers in Afghanistan.
"Freedom of expression is one of the underlying principles of Australian society, but it should not protect circulation of material that urges or advocates acts of terrorism against that society," Ruddock said in a statement.
The two books -_Defense of the Muslim Lands and Join the Caravan - can no longer be sold or imported to Australia after the federal Classification Review Board ruled Monday that they promoted illegal activities.
The federal government "has outlawed terrorist acts and one of those acts is to incite or encourage people to perform violence against governments overseas," board chairwoman Maureen Shelley told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Tuesday. "And these two books specifically promote martyrdom operations which include suicide bombings."
Both books were written by Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, whom the classification board described in its rulings as the "Godfather of Jihad" and a known "mentor to Osama bin Laden." The review board's seven members ruled unanimously that both books violated Australian laws by promoting, inciting or instructing in matters of violence or crime.
While some Muslim groups supported the ban, others said it violated Australians' fundamental rights. "We understand that the literature is demonstrably unsavoury, but that's different from saying that it necessarily causes a threat," Waleed Ali, a spokesman for the Islamic Council of Victoria, told the ABC.