Self-proclaimed imam Mostafa Rashid during an interview in January 2016 – Youtube still from “Al-Azhar’s Mostafa Rashid: Alcohol is not forbidden! Part 2.”/ France 24 Arabic official channel.
CAIRO – 17 July 2018: The Egyptian Supreme Media Council received an official request from the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) Sunday to ban the appearance of a self-proclaimed imam named Mostafa Rashid in the Egyptian media under the title of Australia’s Mufti.
“Rashid is not a mufti of Australia; neither is he a member in our council nor an imam at any mosque or Islamic center in Australia. He does not practice any Islamic or social activity and no one from the Muslim community knows him or heard of him except from Egyptian satellite channels,” said ANIC’s letter, which was written in Arabic.
Egypt’s Al-Azhar also denied in 2016 that Rashid, who is usually seen in Al-Azhar traditional attire on T.V., belonged to the prestigious institution, emphasizing that he was not the Mufti of Australia either.
However, Egyptian and other media continued to interview Rashid either alone or in debates with other imams. His interviews are rather controversial, and the debates are usually heated and make outrageous headlines later on Youtube and other social media.
“We strongly demand the correction of this terrible mistake and that it is not repeated for its negative impact on Islam in general and the imams of Australia in particular,” ANIC’s letter added.
A scan of the Australian National Imams Council’s letter to the Egyptian Supreme Media Council
The imams of Australia also noted they have informed the Australian government of the issue, calling on the Egyptian Media Council to contact the Egyptian Embassy in Australia for further reassurance. The current Mufti of Australia is Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, according to the letter.
Rashid has claimed that Muslims should go on pilgrimage to Sinai, rather than the Kaaba in Mecca, are permitted to drink alcohol and eat pork, should not fast in Ramadan and that Muslim women should not cover their hair and are allowed to marry non-Muslims.
Safa Islamic satellite channel broadcast an audio that purports Rashid’s voice saying he “found Christ.” While some believe Rashid is not a Muslim, and his opinions attack Islam, it is his poor formal Arabic and lack of proper memorization of Quranic verses and hadiths that make viewers doubt he ever studied at Al-Azhar or has adequate religious education.
Rashid has been interviewed as an Al-Azhar imam and a mufti of Australia at Egyptian channels such as LTC, Al-Kahera Wal Nas and Al-Hadath Alyoum, as well as Arabic-language France 24, which introduced him as an imam of “Sydney Mosque” in Australia in January 2016.
He last appeared in February 2018 on Al-Hayah TV Network and ON Live as the Mufti of Australia and New Zealand. He also appeared on the Aramaic Broadcasting Network, an Arabic-language Christian channel that broadcasts from the U.S., in March 2018 with the same title.