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Outrage as Australian censor OKs Islamist hate film

world Updated: Apr 15, 2007 17:10 IST

AFP
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Australia's Attorney-General Philip Ruddock on Sunday urged state governments to tighten censorship laws after a film which calls for martyrdom and denigrates Jews was deemed suitable for children.

The "Death Series" DVDs made by Australian-born Sheik Feiz Mohammed encourages parents to foster a desire to be holy warriors in their children.

They also include preachings by the sheik in which he calls for the murder of infidels and compares Jewish people to pigs.
Ruddock called for the states to urgently approve changes to censorship laws after the films were given a parental guidance rating by the Office of Film and Literature Classification, which means they can be bought and viewed by children.

The attorney-general said that current laws were inadequate and that material which advocated terrorism should be refused classification. It should also be illegal to sell or distribute such material, he said.

"I have instructed my officials to see if they can gain the agreement of the states within two weeks with a view to settling this issue," he said.

Ruddock said if the states refused to change their laws he would be prepared to "go it alone" and make the relevant change to federal censorship laws.

The states and territories on Friday agreed to toughen laws on material that praised terrorism and Ruddock said there should be no delay in changing the censorship rules.

The DVDs' rating has been condemned by Jewish groups and politicians.

"I'm disgusted that any film calling for martyrdom and murder and describing anyone from any religion as a pig could be determined suitable for our children," New South Wales Deputy Premier John Watkins said.

New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said it was an outrage that such films could be allowed into the country.

"One has to seriously question the guidelines which allow such offensive material to be allowed into our country and be distributed," he said.

"For even one person to see this is one person too many, because of the race hate that it preaches and the damage that can flow from that."