Monday, April 09, 2007

That Mufti & his supporters

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils seems again to have endorsed Sheik Hilali as Mufti of Australia.

This is the man who endorses Iraqi Jihadists fighting Australians. Who sees relations between the sexes in terms of cats chasing uncovered meat. Who gives Australian aid money to a Lebanese radio station with links to terrorism. Who urges Muslims to support the fanatical Mahmoud Government in Iran. And all the other usual stuff – hates Jews, supports young Lebanese Muslim rapists etc. etc.

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews has suggested Hilali find a new country to live in. He knows Australia cannot (legally) rid itself of him so he urges him to please relocate. While I think this is a sensible move, as I have argued, Hilali by himself is a bad joke rather than the serious threat. The difficulty really lies in the 5,000 or more supporters who back him and, indeed, the AFIC, who seem unable or unwilling to remove him. In the main, Hilali’s supporters are Lebanese and Egyptian Muslims who either came, ot their parents came, to Australia under the humanitarian and refugee program – they often have high unemployment or low-skilled jobs, high welfare dependency and poor future prospects. Hence the appeal of uneducated, religious fanaticism.

What price compassion? In this case it has proven to be expensive for Australia in terms of maintaining social cohesion and our civilized, tolerant values. We do not need immigrants who despise our way of life – there are plenty of struggling people around the world who would not have the problems this group have in establishing themselves here and being a part of the local community. The right of the ALP and Paul Keating have much to answer for generally in Australian politics. But their pressure to override the Department of Immigration and force the admission of Hilali is an outrage that has already involved huge implied costs with more to come. Australia should have made better refugee selections.

Many and probably Muslims do not see Hilali representing them at all and resent his ugly rhetoric. Some, however, have even more extreme views that Hilali. As JF Beck points out AFIC President Patel stated, when speaking of Hilali:

‘I will probably be scoffed at when I say this, but he's probably one of the most moderate of the imams in Australia, but he certainly doesn't bring that out in his approaches with the media.’
One of the most moderate? This amazing statement has frightening implications if true. Patel thinks he is defending the Mufti when he is merely showing the existencxe of a far greater problem. Moreover, if Hilali has at least 5,000 supporters this has frightening implications for counter-terrorism within Australia. The second sentence in the Pattel quote – his moderateness being not picked up by the media - is close to the standard evasion Australian Muslim leaders have resorted to whenever a clumbsy, monstrous statement is identified as having been made by one of their kin.

The issue of Hilali himself is trite but the problems stemming from the support he has in the community is non-trivial. It is a problem that Australia will have to learn to live with for decades.

5 comments:

Sir Henry Casingbroke said...

"... whereas Hilali was a Sunni and the leader of the Lakemba mosque." - The Australian

"Federal ministers call for Australia's controversial mufti to quit or be sacked, after he called on Muslims to support Iran's regime." - The Herald

Eh? Maybe he's shitstirrer or something.

hc said...

Sir Henry, I don't think Hilali has much up top beyond some Mufti-specific survival skills. Maybe he is confused.

rabee said...

Harry,

The press release by the AFIC basically says

* They haven't decided to renew paying this individual a stipend, which they suspended in 2006.

That's it. I can't tell where the Canberra times got their information.

They are waiting for a decision by Australian National Imams’ Council about this individual. My guess is that he will fade out of any role; and retire into a falafel shop.

hc said...

Rabee, The Australian makes the same error (if it is an error) today. Patel could make vhis position clear very easily.

I emphasise that I don't think it is Hilali that matters but his ignorant supporters.

Most Muslims I have met disown entirely the comments of the Sheik. The Iranian Shakira Hussein in The Australian today makes her feelings very clear in her article Not in My Name..

As she points out most Iranians are in Australia because they 'didn't want to stand in the trenches with the likes of Ahmadinejad'. The mad Mufti should make it his business to talk to some of them.

rabee said...

Harry,

Well here's the story (a Kalimna exclusive)

The Saudi's, upset about Hilali's comments supporting Iran, publish small articles in Saudi owned papers claiming that the AFIC has sacked Hilali. This I guess is a warning to him to back away from Iran. It became quickly apparent, to anyone who reads Arabic, that the Saudis fired a few warning shots.

My speculation is that Hilali's support for Iran (seems to me) to be an attempt to get some Iran funding given that Australian Sunni money has dried up. The guy is desperate for a wage.

The Australian got it wrong this time. It has been doing that often for some years now. Some of their Middle East experts can't even read Arabic. So as with other uniformed commentary they often sound like bigots though they are simply clueless.