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Biting the Hand that Feeds Him

Sheik “Catweazle” Taj al-Din al-Hilali is at it again.

Controversial Islamic cleric Taj al-Din al-Hilali has reportedly claimed Muslims have more right to be in Australia than people of Anglo-Saxon descent because their ancestors were not convicts.

Channel 7 said Sheik Hilali made the comments in an appearance on Egyptian television.

He also defended remarks he made last year in which he compared immodestly-dressed women to pieces of meat.

The sheik’s comments, if confirmed, are likely to be greeted with outrage in Australia, where ethnic tensions have been simmering since the Cronulla riots in 2005.

So much for those “I’m a good Aussie, mate” PR efforts.

I just wish a cat would get his tongue. Literally.

In any event, I can’t wait to see the hilarity (or should that be hilality) that will no doubt ensue.

Update: The news.com.au article has since been updated with more information.

Speaking in Arabic on Egyptian television Sheik al-Hilali said, according to a Seven Network translation, that white Australians arrived in the country shackled as convicts.

“We (Muslims) came as free people. We bought our own tickets. We are entitled to Australia more than they are,” he said.

The mufti was on the Egyptian chat show explaining the controversy last year over his comments likening immodestly-dressed women to uncovered meat.

But according to the translation, he said the controversy was a white conspiracy aimed at terrorising Australian Muslims.

Mr Howard laughed off the spiritual leader’s convict comments.

<"I think it will bring a wry smile to the face of Australians who don't actually feel the least bit offended that many of our ancestors came here as convicts,'' Mr Howard said. "It's almost a badge of honour for many Australians.'' But while the convict jibes might be forgiven by some, as they are when levelled by English cricket fans, the sheik's comments are expected to cause outrage in some quarters - especially the claim that white Australians “are the biggest liars”. 

The mufti told Egyptian television that outrage over his controversial meat sermon was “a calculated conspiracy”, that started with him, “in order to bring the Islamic community to its knees”.

He also said “Australian law guarantees freedoms up to a crazy level”, when reportedly referring to anti-Muslim courts and the harsh sentencing of a Muslim gang rapist in Sydney.

Pray tell, how will Hilali’s spokesperson spin this?

Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad today criticised and defended his close friend, saying some of his comments were “ill-advised”.

“I believe his intention was to indicate that we choose to be in Australia because we love Australia, because his Egyptian interviewers were asking him why he stays and puts up with the controversy here,” Mr Trad said.

“He was defending Australia, but saying sometimes democracy fails, and the reaction to his comments put a lie to the democratic principle of free speech.

“But I, as a Muslim Australian, do feel the need to apologise for anyone who is offended by these comments.”

Mr Trad also questioned the accuracy of the translation, saying the mufti’s opponents were waiting with malicious intent to misrepresent his comments.

“It’s evident by the controversy that has erupted again that there are people out there watching every comment he makes,” Mr Trad said.

So which is it, Keysar? Did Hilali make the “ill-advised comments”? Or was the translation faulty?

I am sure I know the answer.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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