Abdelrahman (left) and Abdulla Hamam deny their Muslim imam
father is an advocate for jihad. Photo / Greg Bowker
The sons of a Muslim imam who was barred from his own
mosque for allegedly teaching extreme Islam have denied their
father is an advocate for jihad, or holy war.
Abdulla Hamam, 22, and Abdelrahman Hamam, 16, were given
trespass notices banning them and their father Abu Abdulla
from entering any of the mosques run by the New Zealand
Muslim Association (NZMA) in Avondale, Birkenhead, Ranui and
Ponsonby for two years.
Mr Abdulla Hamam said his father was "just a normal person"
but was being targeted by some leaders from the association
who were "bullies".
"I did nothing so it's just totally unfair to ban us," he
"The mosque is where I used to go every day to seek peace and
pray, I haven't been there for a week and it's been tough."
Mr Hamam said he had been told that they were "a threat to
Those supporting the ban say Mr Abdulla had used DVDs on
jihad against the Americans to teach religious classes and
had trained men to fight in Syria - including two who were
last year stopped from boarding flights at the Auckland
He was also said to have turned the mosque on Blockhouse Bay
Rd into a "boarding house", taking in the homeless and
destitute, and converting them to Islam through "extremist
Mr Hamam said he was friends with the two men but contrary to
what had been alleged, Mr Abdulla had in fact tried to stop
them from going to Syria.
Mr Abdulla had agreed to meet the Herald for an interview but
did not show and left his two sons to front on his behalf.
In a written statement for the Herald, Mr Abdulla described
the allegations against him as "numerous, unsubstantiated and
bold" but simply "scandalous rumours".
"I as well as other members of the community have on more
than one occasion been trespassed for no apparent reason from
praying and attending the centre by NZMA," he wrote.
"The work I do is purely for my own benefit. My purpose is
for self purification and for the pleasure of God, the all
mighty," he wrote.
"I am in need of God, He is not in need of me."
Mr Abdulla said he was a scholar of Islam and "versed in the
teachings of the Koran and Sunnah, or the way of life of
"I hold classes to educate people about Islam and attempt to
provide guidance," he said.
"On occasion destitute and homeless Muslims have stayed at
the mosque as they have nowhere else to turn.
"Muslims do not want the assistance of the Salvation Army or
the Auckland City Mission. As a learned person of Islam, I
cannot in good faith allow them to sacrifice their beliefs."
Mr Abdulla, who has been leading prayers at the mosque for
four years, said the decision to ban him was "laced with
prejudice and ignorance".
Firoz Patel, association chairman and named as the issuing
person on the trespass notice, could not be reached for
Sheikh Abu Abdulla:
- Imam, or Muslim priest, at the Avondale Islamic Centre who
follows the Salafi strain of the faith.
- First banned from the mosque in 2012 after claims of
- Arrested and jailed for trespass after he breached the
notice and prayed at the mosque.
- Reinstated as imam following police intervention.
- Trespassed again last week, together with his sons, after
NZ Muslim Association deem them to be a "threat to the
- Rejects accusations that he is extremist or that he
promotes jihad during religious classes.
- Supporters want him to return as leader of the mosque.
- Lincoln Tan of the NZ Herald