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Rape-Supporting Sheikh: No One Can Sack Me

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The Muslim community of Sydney has rallied around Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly and his vile misogynistic statements, and the highest Islamic leader in Australia is refusing to back down. Yesterday he issued a grudging forced apology, but today he demonstrated that the apology was another lie, saying he won’t quit until the world is “clean of the White House.” (Hat tip: sr_soph.)

THE NSW Opposition has denounced Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly’s claim to quit only when the world is “clean of the White House” and has called on him to leave the country.

A day after begrudgingly apologising for causing offence to women, Sheik Hilaly drew cries of support during a fiery speech at Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque on Friday night, defending his contentious sermon and dismissing the controversy with a joke to two visiting overseas imams.

“It is a storm in a cup … no worry, mate, in Australian,” he told British Muslim Council chairman Abdul Jalil Sajid and Lebanese imam Sheikh Abdul Ghaffar al-Zoabi.

The NSW Opposition Leader, Peter Debnam, has called for funding to the Mufti’s Lakemba mosque to be cut. Mr Debnam said the Sheik’s anti-American statement was an attack on western society. “The entire community is rightly horrified and repulsed by the Sheik’s comments about women and Western society,” Mr Debnam said.

“The Sheik’s refusal to apologise makes it completely inappropriate, while he remains in his current position, for his mosque or any groups associated with it to continue to receive any public funding.”

After delivering the short speech to 5000 worshippers amid shouts of “Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!”, Sheik Hilaly shrugged off the widespread condemnation - including from large sections of the Muslim community - and said when asked by reporters he would only resign when the world is “clean of the White House” a salvo aimed squarely at US President George W. Bush.

Directly addressing calls for him to be stripped of his title as the nation’s Muslim leader, Sheik Hilaly declared: “My name is Taj, my job is a sheik, my tools are my turban, and I am a servant serving the religion of God. I pray to God … and I will die attesting to the religion of God. I don’t belong to any establishment or to any government. And whoever wants to terminate my wages, let them terminate it.”

This followed him telling a meeting on Thursday night: “Only God can sack me”.

Despite The Australian’s interpretation of the original sermon being strongly backed by two independent interpreters and Arabic-speaking Muslim leaders across the nation, yesterday Sheik Hilaly told his adoring worshippers the account of the sermon was wrong and insisted Islam is strongly opposed to rape.

“Islam does not instruct rape,” the Egyptian-born Islamic leader said. “I will say it briefly and very clearly. As one would say, first of all: Let me clearly state for the record, for the history, that rape in our religion … is considered a crime whose punishment is execution.”

In the Ramadan sermon last month, Sheik Hilaly likened uncovered women to “meat” and was widely interpreted as blaming them for inciting rape.

But yesterday he further refined his message. “Australia is a multicultural society. Whoever wants to, let them take their clothes off. Whoever wants to go naked, let them go naked. Whoever wants to get drunk, let them get drunk. Whoever wants to smoke hashish, let them smoke hashish. It’s a free country, it’s none of our business. But it is our right to tell our women (that they dress appropriately).”

The official English mouthpiece of the Saudi government is also defending the rape-supporting Mufti, and somehow tying his comments to the Danish Mohammed cartoons: Hilali Message Lost in Translation.

The defenders of the imam, and their numbers are legion, say he should not be persecuted for something taken out of context.

“We’re certainly not going to pass judgment on the basis of one comment in which we know his intentions were completely different,” said Keysar Trad, the president of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia.

Long-time Jeddah resident Zaheer Iqbal said, “Only yesterday, a Danish court rejected the plea of Muslims to punish a newspaper that offended Muslims by lampooning the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in a series of caricatures.”

“The court decided that the purpose of the drawings was not to belittle Muslims. While the Danish court was delivering a license to offend Muslims, in another culturally Western country an imam, who was simply trying to preach to his congregation the virtues of decency, was being forced to apologize for something taken completely out of context,” he said.

“The example was in Arabic and in the Orient such examples definitely do not seem as outlandish as they do in the West. The Western media need to understand that its perception and understanding of speech is not the status quo. Certain actions and ways of saying things in the West can equally be misunderstood in an Eastern context. The difference is people in the East never make an issue out of such things,” Iqbal added.

Here’s the Mufti’s full speech; the claims that his comments were “taken out of context” are just laughable: Revealed: the Mufti uncut.

There’s a reason why Saudi Arabia’s ArabNews is defending Hilaly; they support his efforts to bring Dark Ages misogyny to Western society.

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