A tearful Muslim imam blamed Islam on Tuesday for radicalizing an Australian doctor who is known as “Dr. Jihad.”
“I can’t blame him — it’s my religion. I can’t blame it on education, because he’s had the best education. So I have to blame it on religion,” imam Mohammed Tawhidi told Australia’s 7 News of Tareq Kamleh, a doctor who fled to Syria in 2015 and has since joined the Islamic State.
Tawhidi’s comments came on the heels of a new ISIS propaganda video featuring Kamleh. In the video, the radicalized doctor claims “we love death more than you love life” and asserted that Muslims who don’t join the Islamic State “have no self respect.”
After seeing the video, the imam was moved to tears when he was asked if he had a message for Kamleh. At that moment, Tawhidi said he has to “blame” the young pediatrician’s radicalization “on religion.” The imam, still emotional, told the broadcaster he was “shocked” by the question.
Since joining the Islamic State, Kamleh has assumed the Islamic name Abu Yousef al-Australi. He addressed President Donald Trump in the video, too, saying the radicals are happy U.S. troops are near Syria because they are “really eagerly awaiting your attempt to enter our cities.”
Because of his willingness to speak out against radicalized Islam, Tawhidi has become a target.
According to a report from Daily Mail Australia, Tawhidi, who has denounced Sharia law, has requested $30,000 to pay for security guards to keep him safe.
“I've been assaulted by Muslim leaders, ambushed and spat on in the streets,” he said.
Tawhidi is no stranger to controversy. He sparked criticism earlier this year when he reportedly said he moved to Australia “because it was a non-Muslim country.”
“If we knew after 30 years we are going to have burqas running around and mosques being erected on every corner and people proposing Sharia law against democracy in this country,” Tawhidi said, “we wouldn’t have come.”