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Muslim Cleric’s “Uncovered Meat” Remarks Spark Controversy

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Sheik Taj Aldin al Hilali, The Chief Cleric of Sydney, Australia's largest mosque, ignited a firestorm of criticism following a recent sermon in which he described women appearing publicly without head scarves as "uncovered meat."

al Hilali said, "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside… without cover, and the cats come to eat it…whose fault is it, the cat's or the uncovered meat's?"

Australians angered at the cleric's sermon say he appears to be condoning rape with the statements by implying the woman is at fault if she is sexually assaulted. Al Hilali said he's "shocked" by the reaction to his sermon in a statement on Thursday. He claimed his sermon dealt with Islamic religious teachings on modesty and not going to extremes in enticing men. "This does not condone rape! I condemn rape."

While the cleric denies he is blaming rape on the victim, his words seem to give lie to his protestations of being misunderstood. "The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred," he's quoted as saying in reference to the headdress worn by some Muslim women while in public places.

Outspoken Australian Prime Minister John Howard calls the remarks "appalling and reprehensible." He was joined in his condemnation of the cleric by civil libertarians, other Muslim leaders, and high-ranking politicians. Pru Goward, Sex Discrimination Commissioner for Australia, called upon Muslims to force al Hilali out of his position. "It is time the Islamic community did more than say they were horrified. I think it is time he left."

Al Hilali has served as an advisor to the Australian government on Islamic issues in the past and is considered the chief leader of the Muslim community in Australia and New Zealand.

This isn't the first time al Hilali has found himself at the center of controversy. While preaching a sermon in Lebanon in 2004, he said the September 11, 2001 attacks on America were "God's work against the oppressors." Despite the obvious overtones of the statement, al Hilali later claimed they didn't mean that he supported the attacks or terrorism.

Prime Minister Howard said for al Hilali to imply women were at fault for being sexually assaulted was "preposterous, the whole idea of women being responsible for being raped is preposterous."

Already tense relations between the nations 300,000 Muslims and the majority Christian-heritage population are not helped by such ill-advised and foolish remarks by religious leaders. As Australian Muslims express the desire to become a viable part of society, let us hope they will emphasize the seriousness of their commitment by sending al Hilali packing.

To imply a woman was raped because of her failure to dress modestly is unconscionable and has no place in a civilized discussion of a serious issue, either on the street or from the pulpit.

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  • SFC SKI

    Donnie, you have to realize that we Westerners have to allow the Muslim clerics to express their peaceful opinions as part of cultural diversity. If treating women in Australia the way women are treated back in his homeland makes this man and his followers feel more at home in their new land, isn’t that a good thing?

  • http://livingjourney.wordpress.com Vee

    I heard that it was taken out of context, he was apparently talking about prostitutes.

    That makes it alright then?

  • Topman

    As a non Muslim I may be wrong but I read Sheik Taj Aldin al Hilali’s speech to mean that women should stay indoors. If they MUST come out they have to be covered or they will be raped(eaten) by men(cats).Surely I must be mis-reading it.

  • Ginaforge

    Does this mean that rape should no longer be an offense in non-Muslim countries,where the women are uncovered,as the women are at fault and the men are just doing what comes naturally? I don’t think so.

  • SFC SKI

    In several European countries, and Australia as well, Arabic and non-Arabic women have been sexually assaulted by Arab males for not dressing modestly. If a woman is covered as tradition dictates, she is a good Muslim and worthy of protection, or atleast not being gang raped. If she is uncovered, wearing Western clothes, then she can be treated like a Western woman, aka a non Muslim whore.
    You should read about honor killings, it’s very eye-opening as well.
    Soon enough, someone is going to post one of two things: this incident is isolated and not representative of Islam as a whole, etc, etc; they might also point out some case where a Christian said or did domething in the last 500 years that is equivalent to this clerics statement, so it’s all the same.

    Proof of rape under Western law: accusation, and evidence as a result of investigation.
    Proof of rape under Sharia: the testimony of 4 trustworthy, ie male witnesses to the rape. If the 4 members are part of a tribal council that decrees rape of a female to make up for a loss of honor by another tribe, that throws out any accusation the female might make.

    I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to get all multicultural and allow Muslims to institute Sharia in their own communities.

    Someone is going to label me an Islamophobe; actually, I am not, because I doubt that American Muslims will ever be so irrational as to oush for Sharia law supplanting the US Constition, and I am very sure most Americans would not allow it either. I guess you could say I don’t have a dog in the fight.
    It does upset me that the majority of the world’s Muslim population siliently acquiesces to letting the extremists become the face of Islam for the world’s non-Muslims.

  • Iloz Zoc

    How does not covering your head lead to rape? Why are women always the brunt of religious “teachings?” Are Muslim men so repressed by their religion that they go bonkers at the sight of uncovered female heads?

    He needs to get his head out of the dark ages.

  • Humour SFC SKI

    this incident is isolated and not representative of Islam as a whole.a Christian said or did domething in the last 500 years that is equivalent to this clerics statement, so it’s all the same.
    You’ve got to laugh or?????

  • SFC SKI

    R #6 : There is a commmon belief among the extremist clerics and their followers that women are both to emotional and irrational to be left to making their own way in the world, yet women are blamed for being so alluring that they can incite men to lust and temptation. It’s a classic contradiction, women have a great power, yet they have no power at all. Throw Koranic verse regarding equality around all day long, it is the cultural environment and the extremist Muslim belief system that keeps women oppressed, and justifiably so in their view.
    Again, their are a lot of Muslim individuals and societies that don’t require veiling as an outward sign of piety, but the extremists consider those Muslims to be less than completely Muslim. To an extremist, being Muslim is like being pregnant, you are or you are not. This view is how extremist Muslims can justify killing other Muslims, in their view, their victims are apostate and therefore worthy only of being killed if they cannot be converted to their extremist view.

  • A Doomed Male

    I know nothing about the Muslim world but I do know that in my world men are becoming superfluous.
    Already women can be impregnated by sperm without the need for sex.
    How long will it be before this sperm can be re-produced without men.
    What then Muslim/Christian male dominated society?

  • Franco

    #1
    SFC SKI

    “Donnie, you have to realize that we Westerners have to allow the Muslim clerics to express their peaceful opinions as part of cultural diversity. If treating women in Australia the way women are treated back in his homeland makes this man and his followers feel more at home in their new land, isn’t that a good thing?”

    You make a good point, however it my be off the mark a bit. The Cleric is claiming that a woman without a headscarf makes a Muslim man loose his sexual control to the point that the woman could be raped. This is really more to the point here.

    That thinking in and of it self is completely irresponsible. If a Muslim man, supposedly of God, can not control himself around women without proper head covering, who is really at fault here, the man or the woman?

    Bottom line, it’s a totally crackpot statement and even more an illogical rational If any Muslim man rapes a woman and uses as his defense of “well she was not total covered and she caused it to happen, you know, I a cat, and she was exposed mean” That man should be found guilty of rape and serve the time the Australian law has set for that crime. If the Muslims don’t like Australian law then they are free to move back to from where they came.

    Why is this all so hard to figure out?

  • Franco

    #4
    Ginaforge

    “Does this mean that rape should no longer be an offense in non-Muslim countries,where the women are uncovered,as the women are at fault and the men are just doing what comes naturally? I don’t think so.”

    Ginaforge,

    It means exactly that. I know, it was hard for me to believe it too. Do some google searches and you will find out about how common this is in Arab cultures.

  • STM

    Donnie: There’s a long background to this. In the past two years, there have been a number of really dreadful gang-rape cases through the courts in Sydney involving young men of muslim background (they are not the only rapists in Australia, though, it should be said). Some very long jail sentences were handed down after the New South Wales Government introduced special legislation increasing the penalties for rape when committed in company (gang rape, in other words).

    In addition, there have been a number of shooting murders comitted by gang members of Arab (mostly Lebanese) background, mostly on each other, but including one incident outside a pub where two boys were fighting and a car load of boys of Lebanese background stopped at the lights, had a verbal exchange with them and then shot them and injured a third. There is also a huge amount of drug crime centred around the gangs of different ethnic backgrounds (mostly Middle-Eastern, but also Pacific Islander, Vietnamese and Chinese).

    It has been this kind of stuff that has ignited long-simmering tensions, and led to the rioting at Cronulla Beach last year. That followed the bashing of a lifesaver, but really was just the spark. Groups of young arab boys had been going to the beach and making comments about young women in bikins, or skimpy summer beachwear, calling them “sluts’, etc. It doesn’t help in Australia, I guess, given those kinds of attitudes, that it’s legal for women to sunbathe topless at the beach here – although it shouldn’t be an issue.

    Problem is, most Arab-Australians, muslims included, don’t condone this behaviour, so when everyone else got caught up in it, Aussies were quick to condemn the actions of the european-anglo kids as well.

    And there are fantastic role models in the muslim community: the Sydney Bulldogs, the local rugby league team based in muslim south-western Sydney, which plays in the National Rugby League, has one of the competition’s top players – Hazem el-Masri, who is a devout muslim and a really nice bloke who as you’d expect is also as skilled and as tough as they come in his chosen vocation.

    However, comments such as Sheik Hilaly’s don’t do any credit to his own people and undo the good work of people like el-Masri and only serve to further stereotype the muslim community, the vast majority of whom are really good people.

    And I notice today that even muslims in Australia are calling for Sheik Hilaly’s head.

  • Donnie Marler

    STM: Thanks for the local angle. I would hope the Australian Muslim community would make a statement against such stupidity from the clergy by removing al Hilali from his position.
    Thank everyone for the good comments on this article. I appreciate your thoughts and input on this very much.

  • STM

    I am working on a story about it right now for Saturday’s paper … a lot of young muslims are outraged, to say the least. Sheikh Hilaly always claims he’s been misquoted or misrepresented and that the translation causes problems and that the Arabic converys a different meaning.

    While people have always thought this was hokum, this time they are sure as the tape has been translated by arabic language experts. The person who took the tape to the language expert was a devout young muslim woman, and she’s just given Hilaly a 100-gun broadside.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Unfortunately, it is standard stuff in the Moslem community. Honor killings for women who throw any “dishonor” on the family and gang rape for the girl without the hijab because they’re just western whores. Read the Jordanian papers. They’re chock full of the reuslts of this idiot’s thinking.

  • Donnie Marler

    Brief Update: The cleric has been banned by the governing association of his mosque from preaching for two to three months.
    Al Hilali said he would only consider leaving his post “after we clean the world of the White House first.”
    Prime Minister John Howard and others continue to call for his resignation or removal.

  • Nancy

    The maggot ought to be deported back to his native shithole where he belongs.

  • http://www.ladydragonfyre.com/index_files/LWS.htm Lady Dragonfyre

    The cleric disparaged men with his words. He basically stated that men are such barbaric, sex-starved animals that they would mindlessly swoop in on uncovered females and start humping them. Just as the cat will scarf down a piece of meat regardless of consequence (His owner’s admonishment), so too will the Muslim man rape a woman without thought of legal consequence — because it’s only natural.

    When the rapist answers for his crime, he claims that it’s the woman’s fault that he went astray. He’s suggesting that men need not take responsibility for their actions.

    However, this kind of attitude isn’t strictly a Muslim thing. The Adam and Eve archetype has pervaded many cultures for thousands of years, and it existed even before that archetype was identified and elucidated in the Holy Bible.

    In regard to his statements about the White House and 9/11 — Well, it’s too bad he doesn’t follow the Koran’s teachings. The Koran accuses Christians and Jews of picking and choosing which scriptures to live by while ignoring others. It says that Christians and Jews are ridiculous for fighting amongst themselves and each other over doctrine, and further asserts that enforcing laws over their own (NOT inspired by God) interpretation of such scriptures is wrong. Jews and Christians condemn themselves to hell when they twist the word of God for their own agenda, and to justify evil.

    He and other “Muslims” of like mind are hypocrites.

  • Donnie Marler

    Nancy, I’m not sure where the mufti hails from but I share your sentiments.
    Lady, Good comments. I found myself wondering if he wasn’t letting his inner demons show a bit in this sermon.

  • Donnie Marler

    STM: Could you post a link to your story when it’s completed if that’s possible? I’d like to read it.

  • http://rape larry

    this was an excuse for rape in several countries, the bitch was asking asking for it. now only in third world countries i listene to a muslimcleric in phoenix, he claimed that american men beat their wives. but in civiled countries, men end up in the joint

  • STM

    Donnie: This is the story we had on page one today. He also has a go at the White House today. The story I have been working on was a feature story that also works in Jack Straw’s drama over veils and the veiled muslim teacher at the – get this – Church of England school in the UK but is not featured on the website.

  • STM

    Larry said: “not only in third world countries”

    Yeah, great, Larry, thanks for changing my outlook … Australia’s a third-world country now? Next time I’m queuing at the water pump for a jug of dirty, brown liquid and waiting for my bowl of soup from Medicins Sans Frontieres, I can at least feel happy in the knowledge that I now understand my real place in this world.

  • STM

    I assume that was you Christopher … thanks, if so. ICC Champions Trophy, West Indies v England.

    Windies 217-2 after 43 overs

  • STM

    Nancy said: “The maggot ought to be deported back to his native shithole where he belongs.”

    He can’t be deported Nancy, despite ongoing dramas, he was granted citizenship 10 years ago.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    I serve to live, STM, and, with apologies to the author for the “offtopicery”, but West Indies 272-4 (50 overs) v England 104-1 (17 overs) is the latest.

  • STM

    Thanks old boy … be good when the PROPER cricket comes on. Not long to wait now.

    England 163-4, Bell went for 50. England need to score at a rate of just over 6 per over to reach the target.

    Can they do it? Beefy could’ve.

  • S.T.M

    Whoops Christopher … multiple post – don’t kmow what happened there. That game was pretty exciting. The Windies bowled some junk at Pieterson and he belted them all over the park. He even looks in control when he’s on the back foot. He IS the new Beefy. Good stuff

  • Donnie Marler

    I had the opportunity to read the article STM, good job on that!
    I have to say gentlemen, I don’t understand cricket at all. Does the game actually have rules?

  • S.T.M

    Donnie: Thanks old boy. I feel the same way about baseball … always scratching my head trying to work out what the hell is going on.

    Yes, cricket’s rules are actually very simple, despite how it looks when you see the scoring etc written down. One side goes into bat, and tries to get as many runs as possible before all its players are given out. Then the other team has to better that total score. Basically, that’s it although the fun is in all the subtle nuances and tactics designed to unsettle the other side or to restrict the run rate within the given period.

    Simple. And very exciting, once you understand it, with balls hitting helmeted heads at 90mph … all legal too. You can actually bowl to hit the batsman provided it’s a ball he can also hit if he’s good enough.

    I am watching Australia v India as I write, and it’s perfect: daylight saving began here today, which means it’s officially SUMMER. Yes!!

    You need extraordinary energy, patience and mighty big bollocks to play it at the level these guys are playing.

    I knew you wouldn’t mind us going off topic Donnie, as I know you love your sport too. You will really be scratching your head if we do it during the rugby season. Cheers mate, and hope all’s well.