Oct 272006

Now some of the cleric’s fellow Muslims, including the Islamic Council of New South Wales, are calling his comments comparing immodestly dressed women to “uncovered meat” as “unIslamic, unAustralian and unacceptable.”

Far from building bridges with the wider community, he seems to have dug himself an almighty hole.

Full story reported here: BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Australia’s Muslims fear backlash.

 So, is the muslim cleric inciting rape by inferring that Australian women who don’t cover in accordance with muslim tradition, are akin to meat left out where animals can get to it? I don’t believe so. I believe he is a devout Islamic preacher and was drawing an analogy in terms that he understands and that his congregation might understand. For the likes of Pru Goward to demand his immediate deportation on the grounds of incitement to rape is clearly over the top. But then we all know that Pru has political aspirations, don’t we.

It’s amazing the vehemence of opinion which has arisen over this faux pas by Hilali, especially from media pundits and Islamic community representatives. Claims that because the cleric’s english is poor, he shouldn’t be allowed to preach and then claim to have been taken out of context. To me, there is a clear disconnect between Australiana in general, and it’s perception of what Islam is and requires of its adherents. I seriously don’t believe Hilali deliberately intended to be incitful to anything, especially rape.

At the risk of appearing critical, I’d suggest that Hilali is an old man, fixed in his world view, doing his best to espouse his beliefs to his flock as he believes he ought. Are we, as Australians, so close-minded, so opinionated, so afraid of this minor ethnic section of our 21 million population that we decry their every word or deed? I’m much more inclined to adopt the view of this visiting Muslim cleric.

Don’t doubt for a moment though, the liklihood of some in this country to use this circumstance as an other opportunity to kick the Muslim community yet again. Thanks to the climate of fear fostered by our federal government, the Islamic community in this country is treated with a very jaundiced view by some sectors of Australian society. Conservatism has much to answer for in it’s destruction of our once egalitarian ethos.




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