THE SPINE JANUARY 13, 2007
Sometimes I go to the English translation of Asharq Alawsat just to see what the world's largest and most open Arabic language newspaper is saying. I came across an incoherently rendered story but with salacious images of non-veiled women, referred to as "meat overdraft." In any case, I called a friend who reads Arabic (well), and he translated the article, which was written by Mohamed al-Shafei.
The story is about Sheik Taj Din Al Hilali, the Egyptian born Mufti of Australia and imam of the biggest mosque in Sydney. Coming back from the Haj (the pilgrimage to Mecca) on January 12, "he stirred a storm" speaking about Australian women as "exposed meat." There is a Demonstration planned for January 26 around the mosque at which women will wear bikinis.
Anyway, he is another comment the Mufti-imam made: "Muslims are more entitled to Australia than the Anglo-Saxons who came shackled as prisoners with no choice while the sons of Islam came to Australia in search of better opportunities in life." And another: "We came as free men. We bought our own tickets so we are more entitled to Australia than the white Australians."
This is the sheik who had previously denied the historicity of the
Holocaust and defended the deeds of September 11 as decreed by God. The sheik also blamed the Jews for all wars and problems that burden the world.
And back to exposed meat which justifies sexual transgressions.
Is this man not an utter nutcase, a dangerous nutcase. After all, he is the leader of a quarter of a million Muslims in Australia.
How did the Labor prime minister, John Howard, react? "He played down the seriousness of recent statements made by the clergymen, describing it as a mere joke." That's perfectly clear although it comes from the garbled translation.
Will some of you out there concoct of a negotiating plan for dealing with this man?