heikh Taj Din al-Hilali, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils appointed mufti of Australia, who, it seems, is never far from controversy, has done it again.
In an interview on Egyptian television al-Hilali made statements to the effect,
The Western people are the biggest liars and oppressors and especially the English race.
The Anglo-Saxons, who arrived in Australia, arrived in shackles. We paid for passports from our own pockets. We have a right to live in Australia more than they have.
He also blamed the September 11 attacks on the USA, which he is reported to have accused of infl uencing the lengthy sentences handed down in Sydneys Lebanese gang rape cases.
Up until then the worst crime in Australia had received seven years jail, he is reported to have said. He also claimed great insight into the Australian way of life and oppressive Western mentality since arriving here in the early 1980s.
In a reference to homosexual unions, he is quoted as saying: I understand the mentality of the West and especially the Australian mentality and I understand that the Australian law guarantees freedom to the point of insanity. *1
Australias prime minister, John Howard, laughed off al-Hilalis comments about Australians being descendants of convicts, saying, the Sheikhs latest remarks would bring a wry smile to the face of Australians who dont actually feel the least bit offended that many of our ancestors came here as convicts. *2
Despite Mr Howard trying to play down the controversy and diffuse a potential war of words by making light of the muftis comments, there is an underlying, unresolved issue that needs addressing.
An issue which certainly is not hilarious. One can understand al-Hilalis criticism of Australia, the West and democracy, when one understands that:
1) he was born and raised in Egypt, a land in which Sharia *3 rules;
2) Sharia embraces society, government, law and religion;
3) in Sharia Muslims are regarded as superior to non- Muslims, and are accorded preferential privileges and freedoms;
4) under Sharia, non-Muslims are not accorded freedom of speech (though they may be able to practise their religion, if Jew or Christian);
5) non-Muslims are dhimmithe subjugated peoples of Islam, and taxed for the privilege;
6) in Sharia men are superior to and the masters of women, and
7) making the world Islamic is the goal of Islam. Understanding this, one can see from what perspective the mufti speaksand know that no matter what apology or defl ective comments he makeshis heart has truly spoken.
In retrospect, let us consider the Skaf brothers, who are serving 46 years and 24 jail years respectively for a series of gang rapes in Sydney in 2000 *4, and al-Hialis comments from October 2006.
Remember that the mufti, gained international attention
by saying that women are generally at fault if they are raped. Speaking to a Muslim audience in Sydney, he explained that rape (specifi cally, zina, sexual activity forbidden under Islamic lawa word mistranslated in published accounts of the sheikhs words as adultery) is 90 percent the womans responsibility.
Because a woman owns the weapon of seduction. Its she who takes off her clothes, shortens them, fl irts, puts on make-up and powder and takes to the streets, God protect us, dallying. Its she who shortens, raises and lowers.
Then, its a look, a smile, a conversation, a greeting, a talk, a date, a meeting, a crime, then Long Bay jail. Then you get a judge, who has no mercy, and he gives you 65 years. *5
Despite apologising and trying to explain away his comments, al-Hilali reiterates the same point of view. He holds to the belief that it is the womans fault, not the mans, and that racial prejudice played a role in the case.
On Egyptian television al-Hilali said, (transcribed from translators narrative),
... [Australian] standards are skewed, and the claims are fabricated. That there is no freedom or democracy for Muslims. ... I think we can say that Islam in Australia has grown out of this. It has advanced the call of Islam more than it was before. I dont want to talk about numbers, but I would like to say a young man can meet a woman, smile, arrange a rendezvous, and then end up in jail for 65 years.
This youth was from Lebanon and was charged with rape. But it was just after September 11 and he was judged in the name of Bin Laden. He deserved to be jailed, no question, but for 65 years?
And another youth for 45 years?
This took place in a public park, at about 2 or 3 in the morning; when, for the worst crime you can get seven years. This is not really about crime, it is about racial prejudice. *6
To al-Hilalis defence, following his October Ramadan sermon, came Kaysar Trad, of the Islamic Friendship Association. In a Sydney Morning Herald article (definitely worth reading) Paul Sheehan comes straight to the point, by calling al-Hilalis, and Trads spin doctoring translation, of the interview, absolute rubbish and that, There is a word for this: lying *7.
As a side issue, consider the Islamic Friendship Associations name, and the Quranic verse, O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliya), then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust). *8
(Surah 5:51 The Noble Quran)
I ask, therefore, who is the Islamic Friendship Association lying to: Australia or Allah? This question aside, let us address the issue of what crime Skaf and his accomplices actually committed, and the justness of the sentence. During sentencing, the judge stated,
The offender was the leader of a brutal gang of rapists who, on three occasions, raped four young women. His activity and those of his gang spread terror in Sydney in August 2000 just before the commencement of the Olympic Games.
The gang consisted of varying numbers of men, up to about fourteen. Not all of them have been caught. Those who have been caught and brought to justice were either identifi ed by the victims or pleaded guilty because evidence had been found to connect them with the offences.
The activities of the gang were organised by the use of mobile phones, and there was a considerable degree of planning and coordination involved in each set of attacks. As is common with rapists, the gang members treated each of their victims with callous indifference and considerable cruelty. *9
Let us be clear. This is not the case of a look, a smile, a conversation, a greeting, a talk, a date, a
*1 eBay Forums posting (from The Geelong Advertiser), Muslim leader slams nation of convicts. WWW page. < http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=2000 299734&tstart=40&mod=1168803018224> (13 Jan 2007, cited 17 Jan 2007).
*2 BBC News, Australia cleric in convicts jibe. WWW page. < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacifi c/6255287. stm> (12 Jan 2007, cited 17 Jan 2007)
*3 Sharia: Islamic Law
*4 Marie Scoutas, ABC Radio, Legal reforms proposed to enable retrial of Skaf brothers. WWW page. < http:// www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1296084. htm> (4 Feb 2005, cited 17 Jan 2007).
*5 Robert Spencer, FrontPage Magazine, Muslim Rape? They Were Asking for It. WWW page. < http://www. frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=25210> (31 Oct 2006, cited 17 Jan 2007)
*6 The Age, Mufti Savages Australia. WWW page. < http://media.theage.com.au/?rid=24927&sy=age& source=theage.com.au%2Fnews%2Fnational%2Fmessageto- sheikh-dont-like-it-dont-come-back%2F2007%2F01%2F1 2%2F1168105181163.html> (12 Jan 07, cited 17 Jan 07).
*7 Paul Sheehan, Sydney Morning Herald, Sheik tries to lie his way out of trouble. WWW page. < http://www.smh. com.au/news/opinion/sheik-tries-to-lie-his-way-out-oftrouble/ 2006/10/29/1162056864793.html?page=fullpage# contentSwap1> (30 Oct 2006, cited 17 Jan 2007).
*8 The Noble Quran: English Translation of the meanings and commentary, (Madinah, Kindgom of Saudi Arabia: King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran, 1996 (1417AH)), 152.
*9 Four Corners, ABC, Sentencing of Bilal Skaf. WWW page. <> (c. 2002, cited 17 Jan 2007).
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Appeared in Issue 13.1 CETF 39 MARCH 2007
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