Sunday, November 05, 2006

OPINION: Good & Bad News re Hilaly


I have some good news and some bad news in relation to Sheik Hilaly.

The bad news is that, thanks to an aggressive media and political campaign, Hilaly will probably survive as Senior Imam of the mosque in Lakemba managed by the Lebanese Moslems Association (LMA).

The good news isn't really news at all. Hilaly's status in the wider Muslim community is the same as it was when he first arrived in Australia . For most Muslims, Hilaly barely registers on their spiritual radar.

3 out of 4 Muslims don't speak Arabic. The vast majority of Muslims communicate in English. When I want to communicate with Muslims in Sydney , I don't go to the Arabic press or speak on Arabic radio. I write for this newspaper. More Muslims in Sydney read this newspaper than any foreign language paper.

Sheik Hilaly just isn't capable of writing in this newspaper without an interpreter. He isn't capable of communicating with most Muslims without an interpreter. Sydney has over 150 mosques and well over 200 imams. Quite a few (though sadly not most) imams speak English. The rest are largely irrelevant outside their small congregations.

Most Muslims, like most Christians, hardly go to the mosque more than once or twice a year. Some go every Friday for the congregational prayer. The LMA mosque where Hilaly preaches can hardly fit 5,000 people. Auburn Gallipoli Mosque fits around 6,000 people.

This Sunday, Sydney 's newest mosque in Bonnyrigg will be officially opened. Citizenship Minister Andrew Robb will be there for the event. So will be the most influential imam in Australia .

Am I talking about Hilaly? Nope. Australia 's most influential imam is a man who presides over the vast majority of imams in Australia . Most mosques are managed by Turks. Most Turkish mosques employ Turkish imams. Virtually all Turkish imams are trained in Turkey under the Presidency of Religious Affairs, a body run by the Turkish government.

So when the head of the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs, Dr Ali Bardakoglu, visits Australia over the next week or so, it should be an event the media will notice. It certainly is being noticed at most Australian mosques.

I rarely if attend Friday congregational prayers at the LMA mosque in Lakemba. The sermon is always in Arabic. Very rarely is any translation done. I learn nothing at the sermon. Frequently, sermons are known to take upto 2 hours. I have work to do. Lakemba is too far for me to travel to. I'd rather pray where the sermon is in English and I can budget for time on a busy Friday afternoon.

Hilaly may proclaim himself to be the Mufti. But to most Australian Muslims, he is at best irrelevant and at worst a complete embarrassment. Non-Lebanese Sydney Muslims and Muslims from other cities and states regard Hilaly as a Lebanese problem. Disputes between Hilaly and his opponents in the Lebanese community are seen as a Lebanese turf war.

So when Australian-Lebanese GP Dr Jamal Rifi predicted Hilaly's refusal to resign would lead to rioting in the streets, the e-mail lists were hot. No, not hot with plans for which streets to burn and which windows to smash. Instead, Muslims were cracking jokes about how the only riot would probably be one in Dr Rifi's backyard!

Thankfully, Hilaly called off any protest or rally. He went on SBS Arabic Radio and on the Voice of Islam (VOI) Radio to speak. VOI has only one English-language program which runs for half an hour. The rest is in Arabic. Sheik Hilaly's call wouldn't have been understood by most Muslims, and few would have been interested in attending a rally in which virtually all speeches would be in Arabic.

Perhaps it is a good thing Hilaly refuses to learn English. If his views on Jews and women and cats were anything to go by, he deserves the status of irrelevance he has with Australia 's overwhelmingly non-Arabic-speaking Muslim communities.

An edited version of this article was first published in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday 4 November 2006.

Words © 2006 Irfan Yusuf

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Go on, tell us who the two successful Muslims in Australia are, including a crazy phone salesman and a mad banker.

You are trying to say that Muslims are absolutely no threat to the Australian way of life, and their Islamic background has no effect on their behaviour.

The simple fact of the matter is that too much Australian blood has been shed in terrorist attacks by Muslims.

Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.

We must defend our nation from the aggressive attack on western white culture that Islam threatens.

Muslims Out!

Irfan said...

Gee, when did the Tamil Tigers and the Lord's Resistance Army change religion?

Maryam said...

Sheesh - the trolls love you eh!

Excellent article Irf!!! And your better half has me bowled over. I thought her analysis of women coming second place was absolutely top notch and I'm green I didn't perceive it myself.

Anonymous said...

Muslims Raus!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you confess the true reason you dislike Hilaly so - because he was unable to set you up with a single Muslima who could bear the sight of you.

Anonymous said...

Such an element of truth, 11:37 AM

so true......


Jamie Oliver has lost soo many to his multi-culti shithole.

When Jamie picks his white cousins, he will flourish, not only on televisiob, but also in his restaurant.....

Islam is death.

Anonymous said...

There were plenty of muslim scum prepared to rally and cause violence. Hilaly called them off because he knows that the whites just need one more excuse for the backlash to begin. The backlash will destroy every muslim friendly politician including the race-traitors of the Liberal and Labor Party. Irfan thinks that he as a Church of England private school boy lawyer is representative of moderate muslims. There are no moderate muslims. No-one else is criticising Hilaly apart from Irfan Yusuf. The poo coloured human turd Irfan Yusuf is actually the friendly face of Islam as revolting as he is. The real Islam is a religion of hatred against God and does the work of Satan spreading terror and death wherever it is allowed to exist. God so Loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ. He loves us so much that he has put in our hands the weapons to exterminate the muslim menace.

Anonymous said...

Here "Anonymous", are the Muslims your new Jews? It certainly seems like it - anti-semitism is soooo last century. Muslim bashing is the vogue these days. No self respecting neo-fascist would be seen doing anything else, daaarling.

Anonymous said...

Exterminate your mums arse.

garrilous said...

Anonymous said...
<< Exterminate your mums arse. >>


How about: exterminate Hitler's arse? Oh wait, the Russians already did that. It must be terrible having to live with the fact that those inferior Slavs forced your beloved leader to blow his own brains out like the coward he was. Are you as big a coward as your Fuhrer?