“Hilali kicks door, blames vandals,” by Natalie O’Brien and Angus Hohenboken in The Australian, March 19 (thanks to all who sent this in):
AUSTRALIA’S most controversial sheik, Taj Din al-Hilali, has been caught on videotape kicking in a door at his own mosque before calling police to report an act of vandalism.
The head imam at the Lakemba mosque, who caused outrage in 2006 by comparing scantily clad women to uncovered meat, was shown on a CCTV security tape kicking open the door just minutes before reporting the incident.
The Nine Network’s A Current Affair last night broadcast the videotape from March 9, showing the incident, which Sheik Hilali initially denied.
“There is a trick in this camera. There is a trick in this film,” he told ACA.
But in a letter sent by Sheik Hilali’s lawyers to ACA yesterday, he admitted kicking the door, saying the damage had already been done to the door before he kicked it.
“What he did do was to kick open a door to the mosque that had already been damaged by others in order to gain entry to it,” the letter said.
Lebanese Muslim Association president Shawky Kassir said they had called the police “for a little problem, but we have fixed (it) and everything is under control”.
The footage shows four young men locking the door behind them at 10.28pm.
Nine minutes later, Sheik Hilali checks the lock and pushes on the top of the door, bending it on its hinges. After checking the corridor, he disappears from view before rushing towards it and kicking it open at 10.46pm.
It is understood the name of the suspected culprit was put forward to NSW police, but it is not known if he was interviewed by the authorities.
A NSW Police media spokesperson said they started to investigate the matter but three days later were told by a mosque official that he did not wish to take the matter any further….
Video thanks to Pamela.