Before shrimp on the barbee, Foster's Lager, and Crocodile Dundee, evidently there was the burqa, the book, and the Prophet. MEMRI is reporting that the Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, Taj Al-Din Hamed Abdallah Al-Hilali, is claiming that Australia was originally Muslim land, settled by Afghans. The Aborigines are their descendants:
"The strange thing was that when our muezzin [who accompanied Sheikh Al-Hilali on his visit to Alice Springs] stood up to call for prayer, the old people of the town came out, and so did men and youths, and they looked different than the black Aborigines. They were a mixture of Afghan and Aborigine, as a result of marriages of Afghan men and Aborigine women. When the muezzin called 'Allahu Akbar,' they said, 'We have heard this song from our ancestors...' When they asked us 'What is this song you are singing?' we told them that this was an announcement of prayer time. When we asked them their names, they answered John, or Steve, but their names ended with Saraj Al-Din, Abdallah, or Muhammad..."
This sort of thing may just seem silly, or even cute, until one realizes that to anyone who takes the Sheikh's claim seriously, Australia is now Muslim land. Islamic law stipulates that Muslims possess by right any land that once formed part of the House of Islam; this is a key element of the claim to Israel put forward by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The same claim has been advanced, by the way, for America.
Al-Hilali, meanwhile, has already endorsed violent jihad in other contexts:
Following a meeting with Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Sheikh Al-Hilali said: "I blessed Hizbullah for liberating the prisoners and the bones of the Shahids and I praised it and its sacrifice. Hizbullah has become a model for all the Mujahideen in the world... Most of the Australian people do not support the policy of the Australian government, which has placed Hizbullah on the terror list out of submission to the U.S., and the Australian prime minister will pay the price for this in the next elections..." . . .
"We are proud of the Islamic resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Kashmir, and everywhere in the world that seeks to achieve its legitimate rights in accordance with the international resolutions, the human rights conventions, and the U.N. resolutions...
"We are also proud of the Islamic resistance that liberated southern Lebanon, led by Hizbullah, the legitimate Lebanese national movement, that forced the Israeli occupation army to withdraw from southern Lebanon, dragging trails of disappointment and shame behind it.
"We are also proud of what Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are both doing in the occupied territories. We support the resistance and support, with all our might, the martyrdom operations carried out by the Palestinian liberation movements, operations that are a legitimate act against the cruel occupation, according to all international norms and conventions.
"Also, whoever carries out a martyrdom [operation] is a pure Shahid and one of the men of Paradise. Moreover, he stands at the head of the Shahids."
That is, of course, a suicide bombing.
Al-Hilali also memorably dubbed Bush, Blair, and Australian PM John Howard the "axis of evil." But who is really behind it all? One guess:
Sheikh Al-Hilali said on another occasion: "The media all over the world are controlled by Zionist fingers, particularly the Western media, and that includes Australia, in which the media are under Zionist hegemony. But in Australia, which unlike the West and the U.S. is multicultural, the media are less racist in their enmity to Muslims and Islam. This is evidenced by the fact that we won the last media battle in Australia and succeeded in forcing the Australian people to treat us with respect. We have not suffered from persecution or disrespect to the same extent that Islamic communities in Western countries and in America have suffered."
ADDENDUM: Susan has referred me to two particularly egregious examples of Islamic mythmaking about a pre-Columbian Muslim America. Go here and click on "History."
UPDATE: After being condemned by the Australian Prime Minister and many others, Hilali is denying he called for jihad at all. No one seems concerned about his claim that Australia was originally Muslim. (Thanks to Kevin and Jean-Luc.)