Hate books may be banned

Melbourne, Australia - THE Federal Government may ban the sale of "hate books" and outlaw the glorification of terrorism.

Islamic books that support violent jihad can be sold because sedition and incitement laws do not specifically ban them, according to legal advice to the Australian Federal Police.

But Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said yesterday the Government would consider strengthening legislation so as to outlaw the texts.

The availability of the books at Muslim bookshops in Melbourne and Sydney was established last year. The AFP assessed the content of publications available from a Brunswick store.

But the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions advised authorities could not stop sales of the publications.

Security analysts have said banning such books would do little, because the internet was a ready source of violent material.

The director of the Australia Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, Colin Rubenstein, welcomed Mr Ruddock's review, saying the books' availability was a serious concern.

One book found at a Sydney shop, Defence of the Muslim Lands, carried an endorsement from al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden on its back cover and promoted "wiring up one's body" with explosives.

The Islamic Council of Victoria has acknowledged the need to rid shelves of any books that use religion to call for violence.

The DPP's advice has raised questions over the toughness of federal sedition laws, which make it an offence to urge others to overthrow the Government or urge violence against other groups.

Mr Ruddock has asked the DPP to re-examine the matter, and indicated he supported British laws that make it an offence to glorify violence such as suicide bombings.

He said the material offended society, because it attacked the very values that enable people to enjoy freedom of speech. with agencies