The Mad Mufti

Left and right are both calling for the manic Sheik Al Hilali to be deported from these fair lands. The left take offence at his comparing uncovered women to “raw meat”. The right take offense at his support for terrorists.

Listening to ABC radio this morning, I seemed to be getting the message that his offence was to compare women with an inanimate slab of steak. I would have thought that the Sheik was making a crude comparison of the primal urges for protein and procreation and suggesting that young men can control neither. Which is offensive to men rather than women.

Taken in isolation the comment would not be a problem – not to me at least. I have heard very similar metaphors in various Italian sayings. The problem for the Mufti of course is that his comments may embolden young Lebanese males in Bankstown to take even less responsibility for their actions. Many of these fellows do not need to be further emboldened. They already face precious little censure from their community.

Anyone who lived in Sydney in 2002 will know that there is a problem with Muslim attitudes to women. The problem is not exclusive to them. But it is concentrated and tolerated in that community. During that year, my wife worked at Bankstown Girls High for six months. It was the sentiment of the majority of the young Muslim girls there that the woman who got raped by a gang of Lebanese men was largely at fault and that the rapists were tempted beyond the point where they could be expected to show restraint. This was not a minority opinion at Bankstown Girls, despite what the ABC zealots and Keysar Trad might say. And if this is what the girls think, what do the boys think? And do we have any clues where they might have got such ideas?

As a professional statistician, I should presumably give little or no weight to such non-random anecdotal data. But in such matters, I think an informal “focus group” between teacher and students may reveal more than a formal survey where people are defensive. There was and is a huge problem in the Muslim community which became more apparent during 2002 as the rest of us waited in vain for some outpouring of regret and self-examination from Sydney Muslims, as the ethnic nature of the rapes were revealed.

The Right on the other hand want Sheik Al Hilali censured/silenced/deported because he expressed support for Islamic resistance fighters or terrorists, depending on your point of view. Have a look at this morning’s front page of the Australian

“TAJ Din al-Hilali has praised militant jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling them men of the highest order for fighting against coalition forces – which include Australian soldiers – to “liberate” their homelands!!!(my emphasis)”

and tell me it doesn’t resemble a tabloid. Does anybody really find it such a surprise that a leading Muslim cleric supports Iraqi’s and Afghani’s fighting against foreign coalition forces?

Fighting coalition forces is not morally wrong in itself. As they see it, they are fighting foreign uniformed soldiers occupying their lands. In my opinion, it is profoundly misguided for them to continue fighting when they have such a unique opportunity to rebuild their country and institutions in a manner that would have been impossible under Saddam or the Taliban. But it is not a crime. And supporting them should not constitute an offence. Moreover, there are not thousands of young Muslims men leaving our shores to fight a jihad. So, on balance, I think it is better to have the Sheik’s views aired.

On the other hand, a community leader who implicitly blames uncovered women for rape in an environment where women are being regularly assaulted and harassed is something that needs to be addressed. It is a public safety issue. And it would be a good signal to Muslims who support his views, who I suspect are the majority, if he could be removed from his position of authority.

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Lance Kelly
15 years ago

You totally fail to comprehend what needs to be happening here. This is an opportunity to show what Australia means as a society trying to develop and cultural wash of its own.
This IDIOT needs to be kicked out, he was put in Australia by one flaming idiot and he should be taken out by the present. If anyone needs kicking out of a country it is this fool. If Islamic people want this sort of person telling them how to live, then we don’t want Islamic people in our country it’s that bloody simple, if you become unpatriotic and and demean your country and its people then you should be accountable to the people who run it.
Get rid of the bastard I say once and for all. If Aussies leave this idiot to roam the streets then Australia isn’t worth much as a society. Its values are absolutely valueless if it does nothing.
Some form of patriotism is important for the well being of any country and if we cant make this fool accountable for his words and actions then we are the idiots and fools.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

Does anybody really find it such a surprise that a leading Muslim cleric supports Iraqi’s and Afghani’s fighting against foreign coalition forces?

Surprised? No.

But the fact is Chris, if he wants to remain in Australia he shouldn’t be barracking for Australia’s enemies. This is called treason.

The Australian Criminal Code defines treason as follows:

(e) engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist, an enemy:

(i) at war with the Commonwealth, whether or not the existence of a state of war has been declared; and

(ii) specified by Proclamation made for the purpose of this paragraph to be an enemy at war with the Commonwealth; or

(f) engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist:

(i) another country; or

(ii) an organisation;

that is engaged in armed hostilities against the Australian Defence Force; or

If he was a resident of Iraq, living in Iraq and praising or assisting Iraqi militants fighting Australian troops. Then he probably wouldn’t be doing anything wrong according to Iraqis.

But if he wants to live in Australia, he does not have the right to support foreign troops fighting against our defence forces. This is fairly common sense I would have thought.

Now it may or may not be true that Hilaly as actually helped rather than just praised said militants. But I think if he uses his sermons as a platform to encourage young Australian muslims to go over and join the fight then he crosses that line.

Of course this is only relevant because Hilaly is already an Australian citizen. If he wasn’t, he would be deported under the character act.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

Lance we can’t get rid of him, he is an Australian citizen. Australian citizenship cannot be revoked unless it is found that the person committed fraud when applying for citizenship.

Patrick
Patrick
15 years ago

The left take offence at his comparing uncovered women to “raw meat”

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
15 years ago

“If he uses his sermons as a platform to encourage young Australian muslims to go over and join the fight then he crosses that line.” I cannot see that he has crossed any line that I recognise as treason. If he believes that our troops are fighting an unjust war, then it is hardly treasonous to say so.

And Patrick, I did not mean the Right are sanguine about the fresh meat comment. I cannot really see how you got that sense. But there was certainly a difference of emphasis between the ABC and the Oz.
Anyway, the Mufti has just been admitted to hospital. You heard it first here at Troppo.

Rob
Rob
15 years ago

Chris, why do you think it’s the prerogative of the left to be offended by the ‘raw meat’ reference? As a rusted-on RWDB, I was fucking outraged.

Richard Phillipps
Richard Phillipps
15 years ago

The comments were disgusting.

They should not be permitted, and no woolly ideas of free speech should allow them to be made.

The idea of multiculturalism, or of total tolerance, always had the seed of its own destruction. How do (say) violent drunks and pacifists tolerate each other? The answer is they don’t and what we really should have said was that we tolerate all sorts of beliefs as long as they do not intrude unduly on our prevailing ethose – which is, I guess, some sort of judeo-christan cum liberal humanist sense of benevolent equality.

But what this means is that there has to be assimilation to the Australian community. Separate but equal could never work. Say again, assimilation.

And this is where the left always made the mistake of believing that being left meant you never had to say “no”. And you never had to say “must” or “should”. And this is where so many of us were wrong, and now that tolerance is being rubbished and degraded by editorials in the australian, we are likely to head back to the 50s and official intolerance.

Next time, can we do it right?

whyisitso
whyisitso
15 years ago

You’re talking abolute horse shit Chris. The right are not supporting his deportation at all and are in fact grossly offended by his insults to women. EDITED

Alhilaly’s an Australian citizen. He can’t be deported. He should be stripped of his position and his views vigorously disowned by Muslims. And pigs might fly.

Personally I find the most astounding claim of his is that “if I came across a rape crime, I would discipline the man and order that the woman be jailed for life.” – In other words he’s of the firm opinion (as are most Muslims) that women are to blame if they’re raped.

saint
15 years ago

Oh I think a lot of people are calling for his deportation whyisitso.

You can get your citizenship revoked if you weren’t born here yobbo, for serious criminal offences. And it has been used. Quite a bit by this government. They made some changes last year to extend revocation to include serious criminal offences for offences committed in the period between approval of an application and acquisition of Australian citizenship.

I don’t think that making foul comments about women, and supporting jihad is enough to convict him of anything much less get him deported. I am sure Ruddock would be trying if he could. Sheik has been here 20 years. That’s equal opportunity for trying.

saint
15 years ago

No let me correct one statement. Permanent residence definitely can be revoked and has been used often: incorrect information given to obtain PR, Minister decides you’re undesirable (criminal behaviour or associations, community discord).

And those amendments for revoking citizenship did go through.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

Permanent Residency and citizenship are two completely different things.

Citizens cannot be deported.

You can get your citizenship revoked if you weren’t born here yobbo, for serious criminal offences. And it has been used. Quite a bit by this government.

So (EDITED) make sure the few facts you stick to even check out.

As I have already said, citizenship can only be revoked due to fraud in the application process. And yes, if you committed a serious offence and didn’t admit to it on the citizenship application, that would count as fraud.

It is not possible to have citizenship revoked for crimes committed after citizenship is granted.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

The other relevant point is that if an Australian citizen committed an act of terrorism, revoking their citizenship probably isn’t the best course of action anyway.

The best course of action would be to sentence them to prison for the term of their natural lives. At that point it doesn’t really matter if they are an Australian citizen or not.

Andrew Wilkinson
Andrew Wilkinson
15 years ago

Yobbo says, “…if he wants to remain in Australia he shouldn’t be barracking for Australia’s enemies. This is called treason.”, and Richard adds, “They should not be permitted, and no woolly ideas of free speech should allow them to be made.”

Well and true but just because something is deemed to be treasonous under our law doesn’t mean we have to see such law as holy writ. If we were to take comfort in such simple remedies we may have to dig up Curtin and Chifley and give them a stern talking to. Remember a certain incident in Flanders and the conscription debates?

Hilali and his loopy fellow travellers should be able to say what they like, it is up to those who disagree to mount their case rather than hide behind the comfortable moral cushion of existing laws. Howard’s artful tweaking of such laws show us, as if we needed to be shown, that laws are not written in stone aka Moses but are the much more the maleable device of choice to help us to avoid confronting the discomfort of the rantings of the village idiot.

When I was a Dip. Ed. student we were taught that classroom teachers should be ‘viewless’. I took that to mean we should not offer students personal views about moral and political choices and leave the students to make their own judgements. This seemed to me to encourage the ‘witless’.

Deporting the nuts in our society is just nimbyism with a coastline, stifling debate is the refuge of the lazy. For god’s sake don’t lets give more comfort to the spooks in ASIO by supporting laws which tag and bag losers, let’s take them on and see what will.

Ho, ho, Ho Chi Minh.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
15 years ago

WIIS and Rob, I say again that I am not implying that the Right were OK with the women comments. Re-reading the post, I can see how you would take this message away. This was not my intention.

There are two separate issues – women and ME – where the Mufti gets himself into trouble. The Left and Right tend to rally around the women and ME issues respectively. I guess if I had to say one group does not worry about one issue, I would say that the left are not worried about his ME comments.

My conclusion was that the women comments are more of a problem because public safety is more a clear and present issue for us here and now. Comments about the ME are more ideological. Though following on from Yobbo’s point, I heard on the news last night that three “aussies” were arrested in Yemen last night for some kind of terrorist related activity. I do not know at what point a public leader supporting another country in a war against us becomes treason. But I do not think he is anywhere near it yet. At the point where he explicitly encourages young men to take up arms he crosses the line. Especially if there is a risk they will actually do it.

And Richard. I really don’t know which comments you think should not be permitted – at law I presume. The comments about raw meat themselves are not the problem. It is the fertile ground that these words fall that is the problem.

Amused
Amused
15 years ago

So,
It seems we are not all on Voltaire’s side now. The remarks concerning women were obnoxious, but in my opinion he should be free to make them. They are the kind of thing you used to hear regulalry in pubs and in a more refined way, fit the tenor of letters to the editor some 20 years ago when rape law refom was under consideration.

I loath these kinds of ideas and their ugly expression, but, I do not aprove of banshees running around sceaming for suppression of thinngs I doon’t like.

The remarks concerning the wars in the ME were a political opinion, and again he should be free to make the remarks. It is up to the Lebanese Muslim association to deal with the idiots it employs in accordance with its views as to how well its employees perform, and it is up to the Courts and police to deal with any law breaking.

Chris,
I agree there is an issue with young lebanese kids and their attitudes to women. But what is to be done? In my view we can only do the same things now as we did when those views, commonly known as the ‘double standard’, were widely held and deeply felt in our own community. It will be the women in the muslim community who will iniate and drive change. The last thing we need is people tramping all over the issue.

(SLIGHTLY EDITED)

Patrick
Patrick
15 years ago

WIIS and Rob, I say again that I am not implying that the Right were OK with the women comments. Re-reading the post, I can see how you would take this message away. This was not my intention.

The Left and Right tend to rally around the women and ME issues respectively.

I am personally in favour of tolerating pretty much any speech, with some exceptions where it is actually harrassment or linked to an assault (eg A says ‘B, sick ‘im’ and B does so).

I am even in favour of tolerating Chris Lloyd’s astonishing prejudices against the nefarious and nebulous right!!

saint
15 years ago

#11 I corrected my statement Yobbo. Do me the courtesy.

Rob
Rob
15 years ago

Yobbo, I dunno about the application of the treason laws in this case or similar ones. An interesting historical parallel, albeit in an American context, was the famous visit to Hanoi by Jane Fonda in the early 1970’s. There’s still a lot of witch-hunting going on by vets and legalists who want her prosecuted for treason under the ‘aid and comfort to the enemy’ laws. I don’t follow all the arcane constitutional stuff that went into that argument, but in my view she had every right, as a citizen in a democracy, to voice support for the North Vietnamese, and to go to Hanoi to tell them so. What was a more serious issue was her broadcasting propaganda for the North Vietnamese in programs directed at US troops deployed against them. That made her a combatant of sorts in the enemy’s ranks and arguably guilty of treason.

If you apply that principle to Hilali, he was within his democratic rights to speak as he did. Only if he actively entered the lists on the enemy side as a combatant or quasi-combatant should he be considered potentially a traitor.

That’s just a moral take on it though – Ken wold no doubt have a legal view.

Robert
15 years ago

Rob: To take it a further step off topic, what if Fonda’s pro-North Vietnam broadcasts were not part of a North Vietnamese programme, and were not sponsored or encouraged by North Vietnam. That is, what if Fonda simploy expressed her personal opinions to people who happened to be US troops? Would she be a traitor in those circumstances?

Bannerman
15 years ago

Who is calling for the manic “Sheik Al Hilali to be deported from these fair lands”????

Rob
Rob
15 years ago

Robert: I would say not, if what she did was independent of the enemy propaganda infrastructure. Same if she sashayed up the troops and person and harangued them along similar lines. Mind you, she’d need to have been a pretty tough cookie to try that one, but you’d have to grant her the courage of her convictions, and wish her the best for a speedy recovery.

Not all that OT – I was trying to address the moral issues involved in a putative act of treason. Like I say, the law might be completely different.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
15 years ago

Bannerman: Look at comment 1 above. Surf the blogs. Listen to the radio. Ask the next taxi driver you meet. The Mufti’s full statement in response to the furore is HERE. Apart from all the references to Allah, it sounds alot like what Uncle Jim might say. I think it is what we do not hear that migth be more problematic.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

Rob

Don’t know about Jane Fonda, and I’m unclear on exactly what Hilaly said about assisting jihad (as opposed to his rant about meat, cats etc). Subject to that, however, I suspect that your moral instincts coincide with the law. I don’t think that Hilaly would have commited treason (see section 80.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)). It is, however, conceivable that he might have committed sedition under section 80.2 (one of the anti-terrorism amendments inserted last year). Section 80.2(7) reads:

Urging a person to assist the enemy

(7) A person commits an offence if:

(a) the person urges another person to engage in conduct; and

(b) the first–mentioned person intends the conduct to assist an organisation or country; and

(c) the organisation or country is:

(i) at war with the Commonwealth, whether or not the existence of a state of war has been declared; and

(ii) specified by Proclamation made for the purpose of paragraph 80.1(1)(e) to be an enemy at war with the Commonwealth.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 7 years.

As you can see, however, that could only be the case if the organisation Hilaly urged his followers to assist is one that has been proclaimed under paragraph 80.1(1)(e). That is part of the treason provision, and reads:

80.1 Treason

(1) A person commits an offence, called treason, if the person:

(e) engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist, an enemy:

(i) at war with the Commonwealth, whether or not the existence of a state of war has been declared; and

(ii) specified by Proclamation made for the purpose of this paragraph to be an enemy at war with the Commonwealth; or …

If Hilaly did not specify any particular organisation or country that has been proclaimed as an enemy under paragraph 80.1(1)(e), but merely urged followers e.g. to engage in or assist jihad against the evil US hegemon (or whatever) in general terms, then that probably wouldn’t fall within either sedition or treason as far as I can see. However, I’ve only looked at the question very quickly and I’m certainly not an expert in this area.

Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

Jane Fonda’s crime was to conduct propaganda on behalf of the NVA. She toured POW camps and gave them a clean bill of health, even though many former prisoners attest to being tortured and starved, including John McCain.

In Vietnam, Fonda was photographed seated on an anti-aircraft battery used against American aircrews.[12] She also participated in several radio broadcasts on behalf of the Communist regime, asking US aircrews to consider the consequences of their actions.

[…]

During this visit she also visited American prisoners of war (POWs); and brought back messages from them to their families. When cases of torture began to emerge among POWs returning to the United States, Fonda called the returning POWs “hypocrites and liars”.[13] She added, “These were not men who had been tortured. These were not men who had been starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed.” On the subject of torture in general, Fonda told the New York Times in 1973, “I’m quite sure that there were incidents of torture… but the pilots who were saying it was the policy of the Vietnamese and that it was systematic, I believe that’s a lie.” Several American POWs and other eyewitnesses, including former POW and current US Senator John McCain, disagree with this sentiment.

(From Wikipedia)

In any case she was a lot more guilty than poor Tokyo Rose ever was.

Richard Phillipps
Richard Phillipps
15 years ago

Chris and others you are probably right in that banning the words (if that were possible) is not a good idea.

My real point was that fuzzy “hundred flowers bloom” ideologies sound good, but that in the end, we are all in the same polity, and we have to submit to – and be assimilated to – the values and mores of that polity, which include not treating women as sexual objects.

But, to get back to Chris’ remark the words – and not just the fertile soil – are damaging, they have caused harm, they have given comfort to the Bilal Skafs of the world.

Subject to the next paragraph, if the words cause harm, should there not be some mechanism whereby those harmed can claim some redress?

Next paragraph: I’m no longer as sure as I was ten years ago that law is always the answer. There is something about courtesy, grace, civility that is also important. I think that the remarks were discourteous and graceless, and I think that alone is a reason not to say them, and I think that if things were better ordered, social disapproval of the words may have been the answer. The problem with relying on courtesy and grace and social disapproval is that all those remedies get blown out of the window as soon as someone says, as someone always predictably will, “well all Muslims are like that” and then we all dig into the trenches. Malcolm Fraser had a good point about this on 702 this afternoon.

Finally, let us not forget that within the last 30 years defence lawyers were able to cross-examine rape victims about their past sexual history on the basis that “if she consented before she probably consented this time”. We are not so far from El-Hilali that we can be smug.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
15 years ago

Richard,

I agree with much of what you say – especially about the important role of courtesy. At the risk of flogging a dead horse, let me emphasise my point again about the context (fertile soil) of any comments.

If I am the father of a girl who his heading out on Friday night in fish-net stockings and I say to her: “You’re asking for trouble. Blokes will be all over you like flies on a turd love. Cover yourself up” this is different from addressing a gathering of young males who are known to have..er asynmmetric attitudes about gender and saying : “They are asking for trouble. Blokes are going to be all over them like flies on a turd. They should cover themselves up.”

Just to throw another idea into the mix – saying that someone increases their risk of being a victim of crime does not necessarily say they are to blame and have nothing to complain about. Have you ever heard police being asked about burglary and offering the comment that anybody who does not have deadlocks and alarms are asking to be burgled? No howls of outrage do we hear. But if a burglar said it, it means something quite different.

Ruxton
Ruxton
15 years ago

I’m sick of the bollinger bolcheviks labelling me a racist because I said 20 years ago the Muslims were going to be trouble in years to come. You didn’t need a crystal ball then and you certainly don’t need one now. The fact remains Islam is a primitive religion for primitive people and now the apologists are trying to tell us the Sheik was only speaking for “an extreme minority”.
If we accept that we will believe anything – even if it is correct, the Islamic Community in Australia have just demonstrated they haven’t even got the democratic processes within their vile religion to get rid of a man who is so radical and power crazy he simply will not do the honourable thing for the good of his “community”.
Pity for the poor sods who are struggling to be “good Muslims” in our society- for here, just like around the world- their “leaders” are medieval embarrasments.

Lance Kelly
15 years ago

I don’t think it needs to be said much further except to say this country is and was founded on the principles of a Christian based democracy no other. When you label yourself to another religion in a country where the founding moral values and ethics are based upon the teachings of the bible and all that comes to be right in our world thereof, then you are defaming our people and you should be elsewhere. God according to the book of Genesis is our maker and our judge. Jesus is the person who died so that we could be lifted to the heavens on our personal day of judgement, you on the other hand need to study the true and modern belief systems that can be deciphered by reading the bible.
Those people who seek to alienate themselves from religious affiliation will never ever be able to. Those people who seek to call themselves agnostics and athiests will and can be redeemed upon judgement day, however if you consider yourself to be of some other religion then of course your judgement has already been made and Good luck with that!!

Ruxton
Ruxton
15 years ago

Religious extremes are ugly – whether they be Muslim OR Christian.

Joshua Gans
Joshua Gans(@joshua-gans)
15 years ago

“…despite what the ABC zealots and Keysar Trad might say.”

I’m sorry Chris found it necessary to have a swipe at the ABC. The only ABC report I remember explicitly this issue was by Quentin Dempster on Stateline two years ago. He conducted a street-corner survey of Arab-looking teenagers (mostly in school unifiorm) around Bankstown and asked them whether they thought some girls bring it on themselves. Most of them did. He concluded along the lines of ‘it’s clear we have a real problem with Muslim youth.’

Of course the outrage is justified. But before generalising about Muslims we shouldn’t forget that mainstream Australian attitudes have come a long way in a few decades. It’s less than twenty years since a South Australian judge had to resign for saying that some wives needed a bit of rough handling, or whatever it was exactly.

James Farrell
James Farrell
15 years ago

Thanks for the correction. I googled half-heartedly to check the facts on this case, but couldn’t even remember the judge’s name.

Amused
Amused
15 years ago

Justice Bolan I think was his name. His views at the time were roundly condemned, but in the 70s and 60s it was held as a ‘common sense’ proposition, that women who dressed ‘in certain ways’ or behaved in ways that were inappropriate to ‘proper femininity/womanhood’, brought rape on themselves, or at least, should bear some of the onus for the assault. I also remember gang rapes perpetrated by bikie gangs (good auusie boys all) that were the subject of much handringing at the time, as well as a very tragic gang and murder that occurred in the 1980s in newcastle, that took over a decade to be properly investigated. The young woman’s name was Lee (?) Leigh. It would be instructive to view the newspaper reports, columnists and letters pages of the time, just to see the range of views about sexual assault and what the then ‘common sense’ aussie view was of where the proper onus should lie. It is indeed refreshing to see and read, how far we have come in the last 30 years. It seems we all embrace the once ‘radical feminist/nazi/commo’ position that rape is a violent assault, and that the onus for it falls squarely on the perpetrator, and not on the victim. Very gratifying I must say.

Greg
14 years ago

“I don’t think it needs to be said much further except to say this country is and was founded on the principles of a Christian based democracy no other.”

Our costitution specifically states that Australia has NO state religion and prohibits any law based on religion.
And that is a GOOD thing.