Al-Hilali Update. But as ever, his words were "mistranslated" and taken out of context. Has anyone ever managed to quote this clown in context?
"Hilali in hot water again," from The Age, with thanks to all who sent this in:
Australia's controversial mufti Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali has landed himself in hot water again, this time by saying Australian Muslims are more entitled to the country than those with a convict heritage.
Prime Minister John Howard said today he expected the mufti's comments to amuse Australians, however one Muslim leader was quick to apologise for the Sheikh.
Speaking in Arabic on Egyptian television Sheikh Hilali said that white Australians arrived in the country shackled as convicts.
"We (Muslims) came as free people. We bought our own tickets. We are entitled to Australia more than they are," he said.
The mufti was on the Egyptian chat show explaining the controversy last year over his comments likening immodestly-dressed women to uncovered meat.
But according to the translation, he said the controversy was a white conspiracy aimed at terrorising Australian Muslims....
But while the convict jibes might be forgiven by some, as they are when levelled by English cricket fans, the Sheikh's comments are expected to cause outrage in some quarters - especially the claim that white Australians "are the biggest liars".
And then there was his claim that outrage over his controversial meat sermon was "a calculated conspiracy", that started with him, "in order to bring the Islamic community to its knees".
He also said "Australian law guarantees freedoms up to a crazy level", when reportedly referring to anti-Muslim courts and the harsh sentencing of a Muslim gang rapist in Sydney.
Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad today criticised and defended his close friend, saying some of his comments were "ill-advised".
"I believe his intention was to indicate that we choose to be in Australia because we love Australia, because his Egyptian interviewers were asking him why he stays and puts up with the controversy here," Mr Trad said.
"He was defending Australia, but saying sometimes democracy fails, and the reaction to his comments put a lie to the democratic principle of free speech.
"But I, as a Muslim Australian, do feel the need to apologise for anyone who is offended by these comments."
Mr Trad also questioned the accuracy of the translation, saying the mufti's opponents were waiting with malicious intent to misrepresent his comments.
"It's evident by the controversy that has erupted again that there are people out there watching every comment he makes," Mr Trad said.
As well they should.