SHEIK Taj al-Din al-Hilaly described women as “cherished pearls” and said rape was abominable as he tried to explain the comments which have engulfed him in controversy.
While he expressed some contrition to the women of Australia, he attacked the “dubious media” and “devious groups” which he says have slandered and defamed him.
Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric collapsed with chest pains and was taken to hospital today following widespread calls for him to quit after delivering a sermon in which he compared immodestly dressed women to uncovered meat eaten by cats.
In a written statement given to the media at Canterbury Hospital in Sydney today, he admitted the metaphor was inappropriate for western society.
But he said the comments were made in a private lesson at Lakemba mosque during Ramadan and were not meant for the general public “and particularly not the general women of our Australian society”.
In other words, I’m sorry this was publicized.
“The metaphor … has been quoted and misinterpreted by some groups with ill intention,” the statement said.
Of course. When have a jihadist’s uncomfortable words, when they have come to the attention of the general public, ever been interpreted correctly?
“I am deeply saddened and distressed by the acts of some devious groups which lurk in the dark watching me, and who cannot tolerate the moderate balanced way which I adopt to advocate for women’s issues.
“Yes, I feel deeply saddened that such an ordinary lesson has been used to slander and defame me after it had been translated with the ill intention of a dubious media that wishes to incite and they present an unfair campaign, the aims of which are very well known.”
He said a verse in the Koran dealing with adultery named `woman’ before `man’ because “she possessed the charm, the methods of seduction and all similar devices given to her by Allah to tempt the man.
“For that I borrowed a metaphor used by an author called Ar-Rifa’i.
“He said exposing the meat in an illicit way would encourage the cats to devour it. I didn’t mean by that to humiliate immodest women; I meant to censure the person who would abandon his humility and turn into a vicious animal.”
He said western women and Muslim women are entitled to wear what they like, but “Islamic Sharia made it incumbent upon Muslim men to lower their gaze. It is prohibited for them to stare at the beauty of strange women.”
Rape, he said, was “an abominable crime; it has no justification, and the perpetrator deserves the severest punishment and would not deserve to belong to a religion or to humanity.”
But he still urged women not to tempt men.
“I turn to all the women of Australia and the world. You are the shining lights of the world … How could any sane person think of humiliating you?” he wrote.
“You are the cherished pearls, the dearest thing in the world. So don’t be taken as offerings at the temples of the merchants of pleasure, or advocates of decadence and corruption.
“Once again I am very sorry and apologise for what resulted from an unintentional analogy.”