After having provoked an international furor with his jihadist remarks, yet keeping his job, Australia’s Mufti Al-Hilali is trying to repair his image as a moderate Muslim. This has him today discouraging Al-Qaeda, drunk with its Spanish victory, from carrying out its threatened attack against Australia. From AAP, with thanks to Jean-Luc:
Islamic spiritual leader Sheik Taj el-Din Alhilaly warned Muslims around the world a terrorist attack on Australia would be stupid and reckless and would only harm the faith.
The warning came as a statement attributed to al-Qaeda threatened “America’s lackeys”, including Australia, with attacks similar to those in Madrid last week.
The statement singled out Australia, Japan, Italy, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as possible terrorist targets.
Sheik Hilaly issued a statement condemning all acts of terrorism.
“We assert on religious authority to any person on the face of this earth who may entertain any notion of Australia as a military target, that such a notion is contrary to the teachings of Islam and the natural laws of human behaviour,” Sheik Hilaly said.
“Any destructive behaviour that threatens the security of this country is an act of stupidity, recklessness and madness that is harmful to the Muslims and is at odds with the forgiving nature of religion.”
Sheik Hilaly also urged Australians to unite and remain vigilant of any suspicious behaviour.
But he expressed confidence Australia would not become a target, despite its alliance with the United States.
“The hand of terror and evil will not find any path to our land or our people,” Sheik Hilaly said.
Meanwhile, the Sheik wrote to Prime Minister John Howard and other political leaders this week in an attempt to smooth over reports that he defended terrorist activity.
Sheik Hilaly allegedly made inflammatory remarks about September 11 at a sermon he presented in Lebanon.
But he blamed malicious fabrication for the reported comments.
“As for the allegation that I called for Jihad against Israel, this is a malicious fabrication that has no basis in truth,” he wrote.
“As for the claim that I referred to the tragic events of September 11 as `God’s work against oppressors’, this is a terrible mistranslation.
Sheik Hilaly said his visit to Lebanon was for humanitarian purposes and he did not visit any weapons factories or military bases.