Jan 07: Hilali ridicules nation of convicts

January 12, 2007 the australian via winds of jihad

TAJ Din al-Hilali has ridiculed his adopted country on Egyptian television, dismissing the furore over his insults to women and defence of gang rapists while claiming Muslims had more right to live in Australia than the ancestors of convicts.

The latest outburst by Australia's chief Muslim cleric came during an interview as he enjoyed what was meant to be a self-imposed exile in the Middle East to duck the national outrage he sparked late last year.

But rather than douse the controversy, which divided Muslim Australia and further strained relations with the broader community, the imam of Sydney's Lakemba mosque has inflamed it.

"The Western people are the biggest liars and oppressors and especially the English race," the mufti of Australia said in Arabic during the extensive interview in Eqypt, his birthplace. "The Anglo-Saxons who arrived in Australia arrived in shackles. We paid for passports from our own pockets. We have a right in Australia more than they have."

Having last year suggested victims should share the blame for being sexually assaulted, Sheik Hilali used the interview to blame the September 11 attacks on the US for influencing lengthy sentences given to Sydney's notorious Lebanese Muslim gang rapists.

"Up until then the worst crime in Australia had received seven years' jail," he said.

He told the two interviewers during the wide-ranging discussion that his time in Australia since the early 1980s had given him a great insight into the Australian way of life and the Western mentality, which he labelled "oppressive".

But then, referring to gay unions, Sheik Hilali said: "I understand the mentality of the West and especially the Australian mentality and I understand that the Australian law guarantees freedoms to the point of insanity." ...

Sheik Hilali sparked the controversy by telling hundreds of worshippers about adultery: "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem."

Invited on to Egyptian television to explain his sermon, the mufti, who last year had repeatedly insisted that he was taken out of context, defended the remarks and blamed the media for the uproar.

"This is a calculated conspiracy aimed at terrorising our Islamic community, aimed at me first in order to bring the Islamic community to its knees," Sheik Hilali said.