From our Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss Department.
“Bin Laden backer blasted,” by Mark Dunn and Evelyn Yamine in the Daily Telegraph (thanks to all who sent this in):
THE refusal by Australia’s new Mufti to accept Osama bin Laden was responsible for the September 11 attacks has sparked a mass brawl online.
In his first day in the job, the cleric Sheik Fehmi Naji el-Imam stuck by his long-standing view questioning whether bin Laden was behind the 2001 attacks.
“What evidence?” he said when asked if he now accepted bin Laden’s role in the atrocity.
Two years ago, when asked the same question, he said: “How would I know? He’s unable to be found.”
More than one hundred outraged readers have written to this website to protest – while others are backing his call.
Some have even suggested that, far from the al-Qaeda leader organising the 2001 attacks on the US, it was the American Government itself.
And meanwhile, he has already been muzzled — an honor his predecessor merited, but never received. “New mufti muzzled over Iraq views,” by Cameron Stewart for The Australian (thanks to all who sent this in):
BARELY a day after being elevated to lead the nation’s Muslims, Fehmi Naji el-Imam was yesterday muzzled by his own minders, who refused to allow the new mufti to articulate his views on the war in Iraq.
The extraordinary intervention came during Sheik Fehmi’s inaugural press conference, in which the 79-year-old Melbourne cleric promised not to repeat the “haphazard” public comments of his predecessor.
But Sheik Fehmi’s team were so anxious to avoid new controversy that they stopped the frail cleric from giving his opinion on the Iraq war – arguably the biggest issue in the Muslim world today.
“We’ll leave those questions for another time,” his adviser said.
Sheik Fehmi – who has previously insisted Hezbollah militants are freedom fighters, not terrorists – also avoided giving direct answers to questions on extremists, jihad, and the colourful outbursts of his predecessor Taj Din al-Hilali.
In contrast, a defiant Sheik Hilali yesterday felt no compulsion to observe any vow of silence now that he has surrendered his title. “Don’t think for a moment that I will stop speaking out. Of course I will, now I will be a V8 and speak with even more power. I want politics to be based on truth rather than lies, on facts rather than perceptions,” he said yesterday.