Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Australian Imam Justifies Rape

Another example of a barbaric belief that the whole world must condemn and fight against. An Australian Imam, after a series of gang rapes by Muslim men in that country, has come out and blamed the women for it (yes, this link is to the Worldnutdaily, but the same thing has been reported, with direct quotes, in many other sources).

“If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it … whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?” the sheik said in his sermon. “The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.”

I don’t care what name it goes under, this kind of barbarism must be fought with every tool at our disposal by all decent people.

Comments

  1. #1 Felix
    October 28, 2006

    You can also read about this at The Economist:
    http://www.economist.com/agenda/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8096860

  2. #2 Elf Eye
    October 28, 2006

    I have been following this story, and this is the first I have heard that the Imam was speaking within the context of “a series of gang rapes by Arab men,” as the World Net Daily reports. In other sources, the Imam’s comments seem to have been made within a more general context. Perhaps the World Net Daily had access to additional sources. If so, I would appreciate links to these additional sources documenting that there has been such a series of rapes and that this is what the imam was addressing. I would hope that such a claim is not retailed soley on the say-so of the World Net Daily. I would also hope that the story is not growing in the telling.

  3. #3 DuWayne
    October 28, 2006

    Elf Eye said –
    In other sources, the Imam’s comments seem to have been made within a more general context.

    Hell, take the context away completely and the comment is still repugnant. Refering to women as “meat” is repulsive and disgusting.

    Excerpt from the article linked to by Felix –
    Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali, the most senior Muslim cleric in Australia, prompted outrage by suggesting that female victims of sexual assault have themselves to blame if they dress in ways that Muslims consider immodest.

    The Economist is definately not in the same catagory as WND. But again, what al-Hilali said is reprehensable in any context.

  4. #4 mark
    October 28, 2006

    That’s why it’s important to legalize gay marrieage–men will no longer want to have sex with women (although dogs, donkeys, pumpkins, and carcasses will face new danger).

  5. #5 kehrsam
    October 28, 2006

    So, I’m a cat, and non-burkha’d women are uncovered meat, therefore I’ll perform oral sex on the meat? Or am I missing something?

    Block that metaphor!

  6. #6 Elf Eye
    October 28, 2006

    The fact that the comment is reprehensible doesn’t mean that we have to abandon either accuracy or fairness.

  7. #7 Felix
    October 28, 2006

    Just finished reading Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’, of the 2 things which most struck me, one was the fact that one of the most prominment British Muslims, Sir Imran Sacranie (sp?), in conversation with Dawkins refused to decry that the Koran calls for the execution of Muslims who renounce their faith or convert.

    As Dawkins said, this is a thought-crime, and entirely imcompatible with liberal democracy.

    This point should be raised whenever possible.

  8. #8 Kooz
    October 28, 2006

    Ah, I get it. Sort of like “When you live in a weak country nearly bursting with oil, and a petroleum-addicted nation comes along and takes it, who are you going to blame?” That’s pretty convenient reasoning, perhaps others will adopt it.

  9. #9 double-soup tuesday
    October 28, 2006

    “When you live in a weak country nearly bursting with oil, and a petroleum-addicted nation comes along and takes it, who are you going to blame?”

    Hey after raping the come-hither skank, we’re trying to make an honest woman of her by educating her in the democracy so that we can introduce her to the folks back in the first world. It ain’t our fault she got us hot and bothered; she shoulda known we have an uncontrolable urge to sate the petro lust. …Atop of that, I think the skank gave us herpies or some other such gift that keeps on giving…but we’re still having trouble pulling out…

    I likes your way of thinking, Kooz.

  10. #10 Ed Brayton
    October 28, 2006

    Elf Eye-

    The Worldnetdaily article actually quotes one of the rape victims, who issued an open letter to the media in response to what the mufti said. And this site says:

    The comments come after several young men were jailed for a string of notorious gang rapes in Sydney, although the sheik did not refer specifically to the crimes.

  11. #11 Ed Darrell
    October 28, 2006

    Let’s get this straight: This imam is saying Moslem men are stupid as cats, with as little control over any urge they have as any mute animal?

    Why don’t Moslem men rise up against such slanders, even if from an imam? Moslem men are not stupid, not animals, not incapable of higher thought. Where does this fellow get off slandering them that way?

  12. #12 grasshopper
    October 28, 2006

    Elf Eye, the rapes occurred some time ago, but I believe that during his speech the mufti made some reference to the 55 year sentence intitially given to one of the rapists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_gang_rapes

  13. #13 grasshopper
    October 28, 2006

    Ed Darrel .. cats are not stupid. I could leave mine alone in a room with uncaged budgerigars and the birds would come to no harm, although she was not to be trusted around cooked brocolli .

    And as for the ‘mute animal’ thing, I can tell you have never owned a siamese cat.

    regards, grasshopper

  14. #14 Sastra
    October 28, 2006

    mark wrote

    That’s why it’s important to legalize gay marrieage–men will no longer want to have sex with women (although dogs, donkeys, pumpkins, and carcasses will face new danger).

    Ok, this made me snort out loud. Good one, Mark.

  15. #15 Kate
    October 28, 2006

    this makes me sick, physically sick.

    “thinkers” like this man are infecting democracies all over the world and are bent on eliminating the precious gains made toward equality for women in the west and all over the world simply because they cannot live life without an ‘other’ to feel superior to.

    rape of any kind is a vile violation and the fact that an authority figure is saying it isn’t makes me fear for the women of the area.

    Has this man been shouted down by the politicians and other authority figures in Australia? (I’m thinking back to the court case in the mid-nineties in Spain where the judge ruled that it was impossible that the woman was raped because she was wearing jeans that were skin tight, and we all know how hard it is to get out of them… he was roundly told off by the press and the politicians and I believe shuffled quietly off the bench to his reluctant retirement)

    I’m going to see what muslim groups are in my area and send e-mails to them asking two things, first that they come out strongly against what this imam has said, and secondly that they send him an official message regarding their stance on this issue. I encourage everyone reading this to do the same, silent outrage isn’t worth anything at all, but one more e-mail could get a nut like this sidelined or (best case) removed from power entirely.

  16. #16 TikiHead
    October 28, 2006

    It’s funny, the Islamic law does not view theft the same way, where one blames the victim for carelessness. Instead, they chop the thief’s hand off, don’t they?

    So what’s with blaming the victim when it’s rape?

    Oh yeah, it’s about hating women and their evil tempting bodies.

  17. #17 Elf Eye
    October 28, 2006

    The rapes occurred in 2000–six years ago. Don’t you think it a bit of a stretch to conclude that these rapes were part of the context of the imam’s sermon? Notice that you would never guess from the World Net Daily that there was such a passage of time between the rapes and the imam’s sermon. Indeed, one would form the opposite impression–that one followed hard on the heels of the other and that the imam was explicitly justifying the crimes of the men involved. I notice, too, that no one has yet produced a link in which the imam makes any direct statement about rape in his sermon. Grasshopper writes that he “believe[s] that during his speech the mufti made some reference to the 55 year sentence intitially given to one of the rapists.” I would like the citation.
    Please do not mistake my purpose in making these comments. I am a single-working mother with a teenage daughter who I hope will be able to move freely throughout the world without risk of being victimized by someone who feels entitled to wield power over her for any reason–be it religion, race, or gender. I do not think, however, that buying into the sort of thinking found in the World Net Daily will do much for ensuring my daughter’s safety.

  18. #18 grasshopper
    October 28, 2006

    Elf Eye .. i shall try to find the reference to the rape case for you. It was definitely mentioned on the news broadcasts here in Australia. My qualification of ‘belief’ is because the imam thought one rapist received 65 years, not 55, as far as I can remember.

  19. #19 grasshopper
    October 28, 2006

    This quote comes from http://mediafront.blogspot.com/

    “In the same sermon al-Hilaly also alluded to the infamous Sydney gang rapes — carried out in 2000 by mainly Lebanese youths who received long jail sentences — suggesting the attackers were not entirely to blame. He said there were women who “sway suggestively” and wore make-up and immodest dress … “and then you get a judge without mercy (rahma) and gives you 65 years”. ”

  20. #20 Neil H
    October 29, 2006

    Excerpts from Al-Hilali’s speech as printed on the BBC website

    “But when it comes to adultery, it’s 90% the women’s responsibility. Why? Because a woman possesses the weapon of seduction.

    It is she who takes off her clothes, shortens them, flirts, puts on make-up and powder and takes to the streets, God protect us, dallying. It’s she who shortens, raises and lowers.

    Then it’s a look, then a smile, then a conversation, a greeting, then a conversation, then a date, then a meeting, then a crime, then Long Bay jail. [laughs].

    Then you get a judge, who has no mercy, and he gives you 65 years.

    But when it comes to this disaster, who started it? In his literature, scholar al-Rafihi says: ‘If I came across a rape crime – kidnap and violation of honour – I would discipline the man and order that the woman be arrested and jailed for life.‘”[emphasis added]

  21. #21 John
    October 29, 2006
  22. #22 Neil H
    October 29, 2006

    Oh, and there are several jails in Sydney. Long Bay jail – the jail to which Al-Hilali referred to in his speech – is the one holding the gang rapists.

  23. #23 Elf Eye
    October 29, 2006

    Grasshopper, I went to the link you provided: http://mediafront.blogspot.com/ and I noticed a few very interesting things. First, underneath the blog’s title is a subheading mocking Islam through adaptation of lines from George Orwell’s novel 1984: “Islam Is Peace ◊ Freedom Is Slavery ◊ Ignorance Is Strength.” Second, the link for contacting the owner of the site reads, “Contact Me Tell me how you left Islam.” Third, the links to Quran verses on the left-hand side of the page take you only to those verses that could be viewed as supporting violence and mysogny. Fourth, the stories under Cultural Diversity and Social Customs all feature stories of Arabs or Muslims behaving abominably. In short, the purpose of this site is to place Islam in as bad a light as possible. Putting matters of bias aside, however, the words you quote–and the words as they appear in the links provided by Neil H. and John–still do not jibe with this statement by Ed: An Australian Imam, after a series of gang rapes by Muslim men in that country, has come out and blamed the women for it. Those words create the impression that the imam was explicitly addressing and justifying events that had recently occurred. Instead, he alluded to events that occurred six years earlier. Criticize this imam by all means, but, again, do not abandon fairness and accuracy in doing so. There is certainly enough to go on in the imam’s words without descending to the level of the World Net Daily and its ilk. One last point: the notion that woman who are raped have somehow “asked for it” is NOT a peculiarly Islamic notion. I’m fifty-one years old and have lived long enough to have literally heard that disgusting notion trotted out hundreds of times, primarily by Christians (simply because I’m surrounded primarily by Christians). I am sure all of you can think of times when the media have covered the remarks of clueless judges and prosecutors who have expressed such sentiments. And that fact leads me to feel, as I did at the outset, that western outrage over this imam’s words is a species of hypocritical Islam bashing. (By the way, I’m an atheist–I think ALL religions are silly at best, evil at worst.) Let me also point out something that we always seem to overlook in debates over Islamic notions of the modesty required of women. There is another, non-muslim group of women who cover their bodies and their hair: the Amish. That’s ok, though: the Amish are cute, quaint, and photogenic. We love our Amish! We love our Mennonites, too! Oh, yes, don’t forget the more conservative branches of Judaism. No misogyny there, right? Well, not unless you start thinking about the implications of the way women are required to dress to maintain membership in these groups.

  24. #24 grasshopper
    October 29, 2006

    Elf Eye, I guess when someone asks for evidence and you get that evidence, whether or not you like the site where that evidence is displayed, it is still evidence. I don’t think you should object to it, given that it was what you asked for, but it seems to me that your scepticism could only be justified if http://mediafront.blogspot.com/ was the original source of the whole story, and that all successive reports of the incident were therefore tainted.

    Whether or not the rapes mentioned were past their media use-by-date strikes me as irrelevant to your desire to have the mufti treated as fairly as possible. I think he has deserved all the condemnation that has been heaped upon him.

  25. #25 Elf Eye
    October 29, 2006

    Grasshopper, yes, the evidence asked for has been provided, and, no, it does NOT support the impression that both the World Net Daily and Ed created: that the imam was justifying a series of gang rapes. As for what he actually did say, what bothers me is the reaction to it by holier-than-thou westerners who claim that there is something about Islam that encourages violence and misogyny while at the same time they ignore the mote (or plank, depending upon translation) in their own eye. Of course Islam is incompatible with ‘western, democratic’ values–but so is Christianity–they are both religion, for chrissake, and if the scriptures of either were to be taken seriously, NEITHER would be compatible with democracy or equal rights for women. In the West, we hold to liberal, humane, democratic values TO THE EXTENT THAT WE ARE ABLE TO HOLD CHRISTIANITY IN ABEYANCE. It is not that Chrisianity is somehow more conducive to democratic, western values than Islam; it is that most nominative Christians are in fact secularized and do not really pay any heed to the scriptures upon which their putative religion is based. Christians, Jews and Muslims are all “people of the book,” and if they took their scriptures seriously, they would all come to the same conclusions as does this imam. Hey, there is after all a reason that the Roman Catholic hierarchy only allows men to be priests. They’ve got the scriptures to justify their stand. And have you noticed how recently it is that women gained the vote in the West? Care to guess what book provided material for some of the arguments against women voting? or working outside the home? So by all means bash merrily away at this imam. What he actually does say is reprehensible. But the exagerration of what he actually said seems to me indicative of the current trend of demonizing Islam (that is why I found your source so fascinating) without an equal willingness to recognize that the traits that we find so unacceptable are part and parcel of our culture and are inherent in the other two “religions of the book”. One final note (I swear): I taught in Bangladesh, which like India is a democracy, for three weeks one summer, and the women wore either saris or shalwar kameez with, at most and not consistently, a scarf loosely draped over the head. Bangladesh at that time was to a great degree secularized. (Unfortunately, in Bangladesh, fundamentalism is now arising in the wake of antiwestern sentiment sparked by certain US military actions.) In Bangladesh, was Islam incompatible with either women’s rights or democracy? Apparently not if, like secularized Christians in the west, people were willing (1) to interpret the dictates of its scriptures very loosely and (2) to keep religion out of the public sphere.

  26. #26 raj
    October 29, 2006

    It seems to me that one religious leader, such as this Imam, can say stupid things, but the more interesting issue is whether or not any of his co-religionists have denounced him for what he said.

    Silence isn’t always affirmation or assent, but it seems to me that, in this case, it would be. It seems to me that, if muslims do not want to abide by the western tradition of Australia, etc., they should leave.

  27. #27 double-soup tuesday
    October 29, 2006

    It seems that people have distanced themselves and condemned his rhetoric. Unless you consider dozens as broad support.

    Last night, the board of Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque Association agreed to accept Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilali’s public apology – and his excuse that the comments about women and rape had been taken out of context – but suspended him from preaching at the mosque for up to three months.

    But the imam emerged from midday prayers at the Sydney mosque today in a defiant mood, flanked by dozens of supporters.

    When asked by reporters whether he would resign his post, the self-styled Mufti of Australia replied: “After we clean the world of the White House first.”

    His spokesman, Keysar Trad, later said al-Hilali was making a point that US President George W Bush’s foreign policy and invasion of Iraq were more deserving of criticism than a sermon.

    “He says he’s just a frail old cleric, not the president of the United States, and the media should not be so pedantic about his words,” Trad said.

    During a recent Ramadan sermon the Egyptian-born cleric said that women who do not wear the hijab (Islamic scarf), wore make up and “sway suggestively” incited men to rape them.

    Although most Islamic organizations in Australia have strongly condemned Sheikh Hilali a large number of his own congregation appears to be standing behind him.

    Outside the mosque his anti-American rhetoric was greeted by cheers and applause from dozens of supporters.

  28. #28 Elf Eye
    October 29, 2006

    Raj, before you claim that the imam’s co-religionists have been silent, I suggest you go to the Internet Public Library page that provides links to Australian newspapers: http://www.ipl.org/div/news/browse/AU/ . I only looked at the current front pages of the first four newspapers geared toward laymen and the general coverage of Australian affairs (I skipped over Australian Financial Review and The Army), but just within that small sample, I quickly located four articles that document views within the Islamic community that suggest it is NOT monolithic and is NOT united behind the imam. So much for the imam’s co-religionists remaining silent and thereby tacitly endorsing his views.

    Example 1: “Close ally says mufti must go”
    A CONFIDANT of Sheik Taj Aldin al Hilali yesterday joined the chorus of politicians and community leaders asking him to step down.
    Dr Jamal Rifi has written an open letter to Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric, asking him to resign.
    http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,20666426-5006301,00.html

    Example 2: “Sheikh’s future may rest with peers”
    [Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali] narrowly survived attempts by senior Muslim figures to have him removed from his position at the Lakemba Mosque, although his position appears to be under a cloud once more.
    While Sheikh Hilali’s supporters are rallying around him, he has been condemned from in and out of the Muslim community for his inflammatory comments on women, rape and the fact that judges showed no mercy to men who raped uncovered women.
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/sheikhs-future-may-rest-with-peers/2006/10/29/1162056867293.html

    Example 3: “Islamic body to get rid of mufti role”
    TAJ Din al-Hilali is set to be stripped of his title of mufti on the grounds that Australia’s 300,000 Muslims do not need a national leader.
    The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, which appoints the mufti, will vote to abolish the position at coming elections.
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20666954-601,00.html

    Example 4: “We’re not fresh meat: women hit back”
    BANKSTOWN might be less than 30 minutes’ drive from the Lakemba Mosque, but yesterday it seemed like 1000 years away.
    The almost medieval attitude that hailed Taj Din al-Hilali on Friday when he justified his attack on immodest women was put to the sword yesterday in Paul Keating Park.
    At the celebration of the end of Ramadan, speaker after speaker condemned Sheik Hilali for his comments on rape, comparing unveiled women to meat left out to be devoured by rapists.
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20666953-601,00.html

  29. #29 Ed Brayton
    October 29, 2006

    Elf Eye-

    I think the fact that the imam explicitly referred to the punishment agaisnt those rapists as being too harsh, even referring to the jail they were in and the judge in the case, is more than enough to justify saying that he was blaming the women for those rapes (and for all rapes, for that matter). That the rapes were 6 years ago does not change the fact that the imam referred to them specifically and argued that the sentence was too harsh because the woman was really at fault.

    As for the argument concerning whether his words were condemned, they have been by a great many Muslims in Australia. That’s a very good thing. Unfortunately, there is still a very large contingent of Muslims around the world who truly believe such barbaric things. Some of them even rule whole nations.

  30. #30 JS
    October 30, 2006

    Of course Islam is incompatible with ‘western, democratic’ values–but so is Christianity–they are both religion, for chrissake, and if the scriptures of either were to be taken seriously, NEITHER would be compatible with democracy or equal rights for women. In the West, we hold to liberal, humane, democratic values TO THE EXTENT THAT WE ARE ABLE TO HOLD CHRISTIANITY IN ABEYANCE.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but has Ed and others on this blog not made precisely that point fairly often in the past? It seems unreasonable to demand that everyone who critisises Islam must at the end of every sentence also take a swipe at Christianity. Just as it seems unreasonable to demand that everyone who critisises Christianity must make japes at Islam at the same time.

    Look around Dispatches from the Culture Wars a little. I guarentee you that you’ll find far more fisking of Christian chauvinists and ayatollahs than of Islamic dittos.

    – JS

  31. #31 teletubbed
    November 4, 2006

    Got problem with the evidence?

    All the articles at mediafront start with the original link of the original news source and are original unaltered news.

    How else should it be done? Does Elf Eye prefer comments instead? Or is anyone holding Elf Eye back from quoting the Bible?

    Never mind …

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