Tuesday, October 31, 2006

OPINION: Mufti of New Zealand?

Women who refuse to cover up to the level expected by Islamic teachings are comparable to meat. Men are comparable to cats that enjoy eating meat left out in the street. Women who appear in public dressed a certain way bring rape (or at least fornication) upon themselves.

You'd think these attitudes belong in the 19th century. Sadly, a Muslim prayer leader has been caught out delivering this message to some 500 Muslims at a Sydney mosque. The comments, made some weeks back during the sacred fasting month of Ramadan, are creating headlines across the world.

So why should any of this concern New Zealand readers? The prayer leader concerned, Sheik Tajeddine Hilaly, has been given the title of "Mufti of Australia, New Zealand & the South Pacific". And he has held this title for over a decade.

That means this latest case of "foot-in-mouth" disease from the Sheik may well reflect upon Muslims in New Zealand , many (if not most) of whom have probably never heard of him.

Across Australia, the Sheik's comments have been greeted with disgust and uproar by both Muslims and non-Muslims. The Chairman of the Islamic Council of Queensland has described the remarks as indefensible and that Sheik Hilaly should be “put in his place”. Waleed Aly from the Islamic Council of Victoria says the comments were “particularly inflammatory and really caused a lot of pain to a lot of people”.

Politicians have also stepped in, with Prime Minister John Howard calling upon Muslims to act decisively or risk harming relations between Muslims and the rest of Australia. The PM told ABC TV:

What I am saying to the Islamic community is this - that if they do not resolve this matter it could do lasting damage to the perceptions of that community within the broader Australian community, and that would be a tragedy.

That's all fine. But Australian Muslim leadership organisations are divided and seem powerless to act. The implications of their inaction could well be felt by Muslim communities across the Tasman and the Pacific.

New Zealand and South Pacific Muslims had little say in the appointment of Sheik Hilaly as their Mufti. The appointment was made during the late-1980's. At the time, Sheik Hilaly's immigration status was not finalised. He faced deportation after being caught out making grossly anti-Semitic remarks during a speech to students at the University of Sydney .

Paul Keating, Acting Prime Minister at the time, was keen to grant the Sheik permanent residency and so gain support from the Sheik's congregation who lived largely in Keating's electorate. Such a decision could only be made if Hilaly was given a special title. The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) decided to create the position of "Mufti" and appointed Hilaly to fill the post.

The term Mufti is frequently translated as spiritual leader or archbishop. Yet Islam knows no priesthood, and the Mufti is usually little more than a legal expert able to give authoritative but not binding opinions on the application of Islamic religious law to novel situations.

The appointment of Hilaly as Mufti was done without any meaningful consultation with Muslims on either side of the Tasman. No record seems to exist of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) or any peak Muslim body in the South Pacific endorsing the appointment.

Making matters worse, Hilaly is senior imam at a mosque managed by the Lebanese Moslems Association, a body which only allows males eligible for Lebanese citizenship to be members. So the Mufti of our region is imam at a mosque whose membership structure institutionalises racism and sexism.

Sheik Hilaly's recent remarks are the most recent instalment in a chequered career of offensive remarks. Some months back, just prior to the Lebanon conflict, Hilaly questioned the numbers of European Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Given that Australia 's Jewish communities have the largest concentration of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel , the remarks were particularly offensive.

Sadly, Sheik Hilaly's gaffes do remove focus from some of the good work he has done over the years. Ironically, Hilaly is among the more progressive imams when it comes to women's issues. As a founding member of the United Muslim Women's Association, Hilaly was instrumental in the establishment of Australia 's first Muslim women's refuge. He was also recognised by the Australian government as playing an instrumental role in the freeing of Australian hostage Douglas Wood from his Iraqi captors.

Even in relation to his recent comments, many Muslims felt Sheik Hilaly may have been misquoted by hostile elements in the Murdoch Press. Rupert Murdoch was quoted some months back as suggesting Muslim migrants had dual loyalties, and the flagship Murdoch broadsheet The Australian has allowed openly racist and xenophobic commentary about Muslims to be printed in its op-ed pages.

But on this occasion, the newspaper did its homework and released the recording of the Sheik's speech to other competing media outlets, all of whom came up with substantially the same translation.

Even worse is that Hilaly's words reflect attitudes not limited to some Muslims. AAP reported on October 27 a study showing two fifths of Australians surveyed believed men who rape do so as they are unable to control their urges. The Violence Against Women Community Attitudes Project survey also found one in four people believe domestic violence is OK as long as perpetrators genuinely regret it afterwards.

If the Hilaly incident illustrates anything, it is that society's attitudes toward violence against women need a major re-think on both sides of the Tasman.

An edited version of this article is to appear on 31 October 2006 in the Dominion-Post published in Wellington New Zealand.

Words © 2006 Irfan Yusuf

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22 comments:

Anonymous said...

1979 who let the lebs in?
Liberal Government
Up until then we didn't take just anybody. We didn't take EVERY Vietnamese boatperson. But then in 1979 Liberals ended White Australia Policy and took the real dregs of all the lebs who could get to Cyprus. Blame the Liberals. But at least the Liberals don't let Lebs into parliament unlike the race traitors of the Australian Labor Party. First we chuck out the Lebs. Then the Paki filth. Then the rest of the muslim scum and make Australia the Christian country that the founders intended it to be.

Anonymous said...

To those who have critised Sheik Tajeddine Hilaly's comments, but
refrained from condemning the man,I am respectful of your efforts.

To those who have taken the opportunity to embarrass themselves by sprouting nonsense I say:
"If a dog eats a cat which has eaten some meat and fouls the pavement and you step in it, then whose fault will it be, the dogs, or your fault."

Law Student said...

The Aborigines? Thats called Dreamtime, not Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Muslims Out of New Zealand and Australia!

Anonymous said...

Irfan won't be happy until he's the new sheik. Or until he's eaten himself to death. So I say let's replace Sheik Hilalykebabi with Irfan Useless.

They might have to knock down the mosque and rebuild it with bigger doors so that Irf the Black Turd can get his fat arse into it. Also have to get a crane put in to lift his corpse up off the floor after prayers. Will need to get rid of some of the prayer space to put in some more refrigerators. An actual kebab shop inside the mosque and we can have the beginnings of a muslim shopping mall. Follow it up with a shop that sells stolen and low quality law degrees and before too long we can fill the whole country with Irfan impersonators.

Build a psychiatric hospital next door - that way Irfan can be rolled out of the mosque and into the hospital for his weekly shock therapy treatment.

The more people see of the muslim leadership on TV and the more airtime they get the better. In this way the coming backlash against the muslims will be even stronger and more violent. Irfan has consistently been a positive asset for the anti-muslim backlash. He has created the facade of a pompous, arrogant and stupidly opinionated media whore to hide his alternating major delusional god-complex and his morbid depression and self-loathing.

No-one else believed it was possible to get infamy and public disapproval by pretending to be a muslim. But Irfan did it and that is his genius.

I salute you Irfan for helping to unite the white race and all thinking humans against you and against Islam.
Your brilliant efforts to destroy yourself would make any suicide-bomber jealous. It's only right that the government name a garbage tip or a sewerage system or a toxic waste dump after you. A 5'8" statue of a fat black turd would also be a fitting memorial.

Law Student said...

Irfan v. Anon 12.41pm

Irfan: Has a Law and Economics degree.
You: Probably dont even have a degree.

Irfan: Has a job.
You: Probably dont have.

Irfan: Writes for numerous newspapers.
You: In your dreams.

Irfan: Gets on the radio and telly.
You: Dont.

Irfan: People listen to what he has to say.
You: Nobody knows you.

Clearly Irfan is the better man. If Australia were to chose beteen you and Irfan, who would it be? Tell me.

Anonymous said...

Irfan demonstrates his sick mind on the radio and the telly, not to mention the occasional newspaper.

Anonymous said...

"If Australia were to chose between you and Irfan who would it be?"

Choose for what? A Nobel Peace Prize? Election to Parliament? A spot on the High Court? A TV program? As a sexual partner?

Australia would choose me because I am white and sane.

You must move in really pathetically insignificant circles if you think Irfan is anybody important. Even if Irfan represented the pinnacle of loud-mouth Paki liars he would still not be a member of the ruling classes in this country. He is good at what he does - being a laughing stock for all the serious observers of current affairs - and an object of dislike and a point of reference for everyone who naturally enough hates muslims.

I dare you to name two Australians personally known to you who expressly wanted you to come to this country.

Name two Australian taxpayers who are happy for you to be studying law at their expense.

I dare you to name two Australians who want you to stay.

I find your homoerotic attachment to Irfan amusing. I realise that as a muslim you don't get much opportunity for pre-marital sex [except by raping women leb-style]but I heavily advise you to forget your passionate love for Irfan. His obesity would give you major back injuries. Far better that you fantasize about one day getting a nice blond white woman. You won't. Irfan has two degrees and a public profile and no white woman would voluntarily sleep with him except to feed a drug habit. How many degrees do you think you need before white women stop laughing at you?

Law Student said...

A Nobel Peace Prize? Irfan would obviously be the better choice. Election to Parliament? Again, Irfan.
A spot on the High Court? Irfan.
A TV program? Irfan.
As a sexual partner? For you life rotates around sex. Go shove your bell end up an exhaust pipe. With the car on.


1. So fucking what if you're white and im olive. You can be as white as hitlers arse. Being white doesn't make you better than someone else. Hitler was better than Ghandi because Ghandi was brown and Hitler was white?

2. Im studying law at my own expense. My parents aren't couch potatoes who get wasted every friday night. I can buy the whole fucking street you're living on.

3. You may want me to leave, on the same note go back to wherever your great great grandfather came from. Pommy land. If i dont belong here, neither do you. Fuckwit.

Grow up.

Augustus said...

Hey Clown, ah I mean Law Student.

Let me point something out to you. When 4 Corners ran their fabricated hatchet job on the Liberal Party under the guise of exposing branch stacking, over 100 people, including myself were approached to make comment. 95 declined, 5 traitors accepted and Irf called them and begged them to interview him.

People listen to him? Give me a break. People listen to police sirens too but not because they have a choice.

For the record, Irf's degree is from Club Mac so its not a real or respected degree.

he doesn't have a job and has struggled to hold on to any job that he has had.

He writes articles yes and some times rags pick them up when they have space to fill.

He appears on TV and radio because he is a media whore and like Keysar Trad is prepared to make comment on anything and everything especially when he is uncredentialled to do so.

Most of us who post on this site actually know Irf personally. We can comment with some accuracy as to his personality and competency.

You, on the other hand are a sycophantic clown. And you have the hide to tell others to grow up.

Please.

Michael Hudson said...

I wonder what big, brave ANONYMOUS thinks of Mick Keelty's recent warning to the media that an anti-Islamic bias may incite an act of terrorism in Australia. It's racist morons like Anonymous who pose a threat to Australia, not moderate Muslims like Irfan. In fact, moderate Muslims like Irfan are our best hope of preventing a terrorist attack in Australia. More power to you, Irfan.

Anonymous said...

Muslims are not welcome in Australia. Muhammed never came here so what right do you think you have to come here causing visual pollution. You turned your own countries into sh**holes. Why would we want you here?

Nayeefa said...

I think this 'comment section' serves as a platform where we are to share our thoughts concerning the article, not the author.

I think perhaps it wouldn't be unfair to request everybody, including myself, to kindly refrain from personal attacks, please.

Peace.

Anonymous said...

Muslims out of western white countries!

Anonymous said...

Muslims out. Now.

Anonymous said...

Bring it on you muslim sub-humans.

You will be out of Australia one way or another before the next generation.

Anonymous said...

The best way to prevent a terrorist attack in Australia is to remove every single last muslim off Australian soil.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, moderate Muslims like Irfan are our best hope of preventing a terrorist attack in Australia"

How is Irfan going to help round up all the muslims, put them on ships and export them overseas?

If there isn't room on the ships for all of them then they will have to swim because into the ocean they will go.

THe muslims can have a homeland of their own - in Israel. The rest of the world is for non-muslims. The best bits are for white people.

Anonymous said...

There are more than enough reasons to deport every single Muslim from Australia and New Zealand.

kebabi said...

Anonymous said... "Muslims are not welcome in Australia. Muhammed never came here so what right do you think you have to come here causing visual pollution."

I say:

Christians are not welcome in Australia. Jesus never came here so what right do you think you have to come here causing visual pollution.

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