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.