Muslim group denounces Hilali

A Sunni Muslim community group has called for all Australians, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to denounce outspoken cleric Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali.

Darulfatwa, or the Islamic High Council of Australia has distanced itself from the controversial cleric, who last week sparked outrage with comments on an Egyptian chat show.

In the television interview, the sheik labelled white Australians “liars” and said Muslims were more entitled to be in Australia than those with a convict heritage.

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In comments aired on Australian television on Saturday night he also took a swipe at Mr Howard, calling him “Mr Me Too” because “he wait for any news from America to say ‘me too”‘.

Responding to the criticism, Mr Howard said it was up to the Islamic community to show leadership on the issue, warning they risked embarrassment and hurt if the sheik was not reined in.

Darulfatwa today issued a statement saying it had fielded scores of calls from non-Muslim Australians angered by the sheik’s comments, and received a number of complaints from Muslims who claimed they had been the target of discrimination.

“The Hilali has again been a divisive figure in the community causing tensions between Muslim and non-Muslim Australians,” Darulfatwa said.

“Hilali is not a revered figure nor is he an Islamic representative to Australia’s Muslims.

“Australian Muslims must take every opportunity to denounce the Hilali as their leader, including those at the Lebanese Muslim Association, while non-Muslims can support their fellow Muslim friends by not recognising or labelling the Hilali as a mufti to Australia’s Muslim community.”

The sheik is on holiday in Egypt in what was supposed to be a self-imposed exile following comments he made late last year during a Ramadan speech at Sydney’s Lakemba mosque.

He compared immodestly-dressed women to “uncovered meat” and said they were responsible for the sexual assaults they incur.

The sheik said his comments on Egyptian television were taken out of context.

He said the same about the media reports of his comments made at Lakemba mosque.

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Religion News Blog last updated this post on CET (Central European Time)