This is such a common story: a Sheikh denies Muslim involvement in terror attacks, and “moderate Islamic leaders” refuse to condemn his statements. There is a culture-wide evasion of responsibility and scapegoating of outsiders (particularly Jews) in the Islamic world that only feeds more jihad violence.
From Australia’s ABC Online, with thanks to OBL r Us:
TONY JONES: Well, meanwhile, one of Australia’s most controversial Islamic clerics has again stirred enmity with comments on this program last night defending Osama bin Laden and denying Al Qaeda’s involvement in terrorist attacks, including those in London, and even New York on September 11. Moderate Islamic leaders though have refused to condemn his statements and their response has infuriated some commentators. Meanwhile, a Melbourne-based Jewish organisation has accused Sheikh Mohammed Omran of disseminating anti-Semitic material. Michael Edwards has this report.
MICHAEL EDWARDS: The London bombings and an escalation of military activity in Afghanistan have once again violently brought the world’s attention to the conflict between Islamic extremism and the West. But to Australian cleric Sheikh Omran there’s no proof Islamic extremists have any involvement. He even went as far as to say Osama bin Laden is a great man for some of his actions.
SHEIKH MOHAMMED OMRAN, ISLAMIC CLERIC: When you look at the man, from some part of his life, yes, he is. From another part, well, again, what action we are talking about? I dispute any evil action linked to bin Laden. Again, I don’t believe that even September 11 – from the beginning, I don’t believe that it was done by any Muslim at all, or any other activities. London, as I said just a few seconds ago, never done yet – no one proven that any Muslim has a hand in it.
MICHAEL EDWARDS: Sheikh Omran has been linked to the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect of Islam and to several figures well known in Europe for their ideology of jihad against the West. He admits he’s a close friend of radical British cleric Abu Qatada and that he taught Bilal Khazal, the former baggage handler awaiting trial on terrorism charges. But after his statements last night there’s been a muted response from Islamic moderates in Australia.
ALY WALEED, ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF VICTORIA: It’s a view that many might see as delusional, but that’s very different from saying it’s a view that is necessarily sinister.
MICHAEL EDWARDS: The mufti of Australia’s Muslims, Sheikh al-Hilaly, has condemned the London bombings but he wouldn’t comment on camera about Sheikh Omran’s comments to Lateline last night, He’s concerned it will inflame existing tensions between radical and moderate members of the Islamic community….
Existing tensions between radical and moderate members of the Islamic community? Really? Let’s hear more about that.