Watch the tabloid TV shows after the 6pm news for another big Hilaly scoop.
The insider was right. As one prominent Muslim e-mailed me last night:
I think HT owe Sheik Taj a big bouquet of flowers.
Within 2 hours, I’d received a call from the producer of a TV breakfast program. The conversation went something like this:
SHE: Irfan, I guess you know why I’m calling. What do you make of Hilaly’s latest?
ME: Well funny you should mention that because ... [I then told her pretty much what I have written here]
SHE: That’s fine, Irfan. Unfortunately what we are looking for is someone who agrees with Hilaly. You don’t happen to know anyone, do you?
Later last night, I spoke to one of Hilaly’s die-hard supporters (no prizes for guessing who). He provided me with a few things to chew on …
* The Hilaly interview lasted some 30 minutes and largely concerned the recent furore over his cat-meat remarks.
* The interview, shown on a program called “Cairo Morning”, could be viewed on satellite TV and was seen in Australia .
* One of those interviewing Hilaly was himself a qualified Islamic religious scholar.
* Much of what Hilaly said was light-hearted and in a chatty manner and to an Arabic-speaking audience.
* At least one of Hilaly’s interviewers couldn’t understand what all the furore was about concerning the link between women’s dress and sexual assault.
That all may be true. But how do we explain the claim that a gang of thugs found guilty of rape engaged in consensual sex with their victims? What about statements calling Europeans liars?
The debate on the Muslim Village and Aussie Muslims forums has been heated, with Hilaly copping plenty of flack. Ironically, many of those supporting him (or claiming he is again victim of some conspiracy) are known to be HT activists or supporters.
As for the jibe at our convict heritage, I agree with the PM. All of us (Muslim or otherwise) should wear our convict past with pride.
And to those still wishing to make an uproar, I trust they will also be screaming the next time a columnist, shock jock or politician bags our indigenous cultural heritage.
© Irfan Yusuf 2006