Anorak News | Oz & Them

Oz & Them

by | 27th, October 2006

“IF you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park…and the cats come and eat it…whose fault is it? The cats or the uncovered meat?”

While the UK debates veilzzzz and faith schools (as the Times reports, Education Secretary Alan Johnson now thinks it’s not such a good idea to make faith schools take a quarter of non-faith pupils), Australians talk about Muslims and rape.

As Mick Hume, writing in the Times asks: “Who needs Borat?” Says Borat: “In Kazakhstan the favourite hobbies are disco dancing, archery, rape, and table tennis.”

Now travel with the Telegraph to Sydney, where Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilali, “Australia’s most prominent Muslim cleric”, is addressing the believers.

Sheikh Hilali’s comments form the start of this article. And, as the Telegraph notes, his remarks are a “clear reference to the conviction of a group of Muslim teenagers who committed gang rapes in Sydney”.

As the Scotsman reports, Sheikh Hilali goes on to say: “If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab [headscarf], no problem would have occurred.”

No, this is not Borat, the comic creation. This is a Muslim cleric, a man who actually believes what he is saying.

And his key points seem to be that non-Muslim women are asking to be attacked. That all women are meat. That all men have the morals of alley cats. And that the Muslim headscarf operates like fabricated “Get Off My Lawn”, the pellets you can sprinkle on your pristine garden to keep cats off.

Of course, we have heard such things many times before, sometimes even from our own secular judiciary. And in 2005, an Amnesty International poll of 1,000 people found over 25% believe the rape victim is at least partly to blame if she has worn revealing clothing or been drunk.

Sheikh Hilali is one of those 25 per cent. He’s in a pretty big minority. He is also a Muslim cleric. And that means he makes headlines.

And he gets to say things like: “I unreservedly apologise to any woman who is offended by my comments.” And: “Women in our Australian society have the freedom and the right to dress as they choose.”

Yes, he apologised. His comments are revolting and stupid. But he seems sensitive to the criticism they have sparked and has apologised.

He has also been suspended for three months from preaching at his mosque.

But still, the Telegraph hears from the likes of Pru Goward, the Australian government’s sex discrimination commissioner. Says she: “It is an incitement to a crime. Young Muslim men who now rape women can cite this in court. It’s time we stopped saying he should apologise. It is time the Islamic community [in Australia] did more than say they were horrified. I think it is time he left."

But what should the Islamic community do? And why should they speak with one voice?
And why should the mad mullah leave? What is his crime? To say what 25 per cent of those polled in the Amnesty survey think? To echo of the words of people like Japan’s former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, who said in 2003: “There are women who look like they are saying ‘Do it to me’. Those who have that kind of appearance are at fault, because men are black panthers”?

Or should we draw a veil over Sheikh Hilali – a man who shames his religion, his sex and himself..?

Posted: 27th, October 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink