Pharyngula

Let’s all laugh at Australia now

A-ha! It’s not just the United States that’s stocked with religious creepazoids and hypocrites!

  • A candidate for the conservative Family First party has dropped out of his race. He was caught flaunting his junk on the internet, and admits to viewing porn…neither of which are particularly wicked, but when your party is against internet porn, well, there’s a little problem with consistency. There’s also a problem with making pathetic excuses, like these:

    I might have been drunk off my face or my political enemies might have drugged me.

    But that’s not my penis.

    Look, maybe somebody photoshopped it, and put another one on the photo.

    First rule of lying is to get the story straight, and keep it simple. Mr Quah’s ineptitude at lying clearly disqualifies him for political office.

  • And then there’s this Muslim kook, who is a problem of a whold different order: not just foolish, but hateful as well. Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali blames victims for their pain.

    In a Ramadan sermon that has outraged Muslim women leaders, Sydney-based Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali also alluded to the infamous Sydney gang rapes, suggesting the attackers were not entirely to blame.
    While not specifically referring to the rapes, brutal attacks on four women for which a group of young Lebanese men received long jail sentences, Sheik Hilali 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”.

    It’s all girls’ fault for being so irresistibly pretty. This analogy explains it all:

    In the religious address on adultery to about 500 worshippers in Sydney last month, Sheik Hilali said: “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 uncovered meat is the problem.”

    Hmm. Who should be more offended? Women for being compared to cat food, or men for being compared to cats with poor impulse control?

Comments

  1. #1 Caucasian Jesus
    October 28, 2007

    Stone them! Stone them all!

  2. #2 Atilio
    October 28, 2007

    Both. No, all of us. The human race, for having such an idiot as one of us.

  3. #3 Amy
    October 28, 2007

    “Who should be more offended? Women for being compared to cat food, or men for being compared to cats with poor impulse control?”

    The women. And if the analogy is true and men are simply animals who cannot control their impulses, well… we’ve had a solution for that for quite a while now.

    We’ll neuter them.

  4. #4 n
    October 28, 2007

    Who let Amy off her medication?

  5. #5 William
    October 28, 2007

    This is a feature of several interviews I’ve seen when Western reporters talk with the Muslim “man on the street”: when asked why their women must cover up, a standard reply is that Middle Eastern men have such powerful, manly libidos that it is positively dangerous for them to be exposed to the slightest hint of immodesty. (Presumably unlike us milquetoast Westerners, who are either half-men or desensitized from looking at all that porn.) So really, looking like a lump of cloth lacking identifiably human features is for their own good.

  6. #6 Anne Nonymous
    October 28, 2007

    Hmm. Who should be more offended? Women for being compared to cat food, or men for being compared to cats with poor impulse control?

    The answer is: cats, for being compared to rapists.

  7. #7 Hank Fox
    October 28, 2007

    Sheik Hilali, translated: If a man sees a woman outside, unprotected, and he then knocks her to the ground and rapes her, it’s NOT HIS FAULT.

    He’s only being a man, and this is what men do, and if it wasn’t for the slutty, wanton, filthily seductive women MAKING him do it, there wouldn’t be this problem of rape. Women are therefore a threat to male goodness, and should be tightly controlled at all times.

    That gives me a sudden different view of the practice, in certain Islamic countries, where females are not allowed out without a male relative as an escort.

    I’d always assumed the male escort was protecting the woman from other men. But under Hilali’s mental model, the escort is protecting the other MEN from the dangerous woman.

    Hilali sounds, in this one instance, like … well, there’s a technical term for it: a fucking moron.

  8. #8 Rey Fox
    October 28, 2007

    I think “demented fuckwit” works perfectly.

  9. #9 Alverant
    October 28, 2007

    I say the cats should be insulted for being dragged into this horrible analogy. “Someone else is responsible for controlling my libido.” that’s extreme arrogance.

  10. #10 TheBlackCat
    October 28, 2007

    I would say that the problem is not comparing women to cat food, but comparing them to a hunk of meat. From the sound of things I suspect he may have meant that part more literally than the rest.

  11. #11 Interrobang
    October 28, 2007

    Whenever I’m feeling misanthropic, it’s always nice to be reminded that religion is far more misanthropic across the board than I could ever be. To riff on Twisty Faster, “Your Religion Hates You.”

  12. #12 uknesvuinng
    October 28, 2007

    I see the Chasers will have some fun material for their next episode.

    If Sheik Hilali is the guy I’m thinking of, he’s already been featured a couple of times on the Chasers’ War on Everything. In his first appearance, he was on the verge of physically attacking Julian for bringing up some previous statement about leaving the country.

  13. #13 HeathenTV
    October 28, 2007

    Before you laugh too hard at Australia, you should know that in addition to the various religious parties running for office they have the Secular Party of Australia…

    http://heathen.tv/videos/secular-party-aims-to-keep-church-and-state-separate/

  14. #14 Richard Harris
    October 28, 2007

    Jeeeez, # 13, a party I could vote for, at last. Too bad it’s on the other side of the globe.

  15. #15 Madam Pomfrey
    October 28, 2007

    “Who should be more offended? Women for being compared to cat food, or men for being compared to cats with poor impulse control?”

    My cat has much better impulse control, actually.

  16. #16 Brian W.
    October 28, 2007

    Sounds to me like he’s projecting his own behavior on to others. So he should be locked up, he’s clearly a threat to every woman in his vacinity.

    Just kidding….mostly.

  17. #17 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    (Presumably unlike us milquetoast Westerners, who are either half-men or desensitized from looking at all that porn.)

    I do think that what people find sexy is related to what they are used to seeing. 100 years ago, in the Western world, a lady’s ankle was unimaginable. Today, these same men would be classified as kinky fetishists.

    “A woman’s feet and forearms must be of exhibitionist beauty.”
    — Salvador Dal

    Feet? Forearms? Huh? ~:-|

  18. #18 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    (Presumably unlike us milquetoast Westerners, who are either half-men or desensitized from looking at all that porn.)

    I do think that what people find sexy is related to what they are used to seeing. 100 years ago, in the Western world, a lady’s ankle was unimaginable. Today, these same men would be classified as kinky fetishists.

    “A woman’s feet and forearms must be of exhibitionist beauty.”
    — Salvador Dal

    Feet? Forearms? Huh? ~:-|

  19. #19 Brian English
    October 28, 2007

    We love America. We do what were told and even emulate the crackpots.
    That nasty piece of work Al-Hilaly gave that speech in 2006. Not to excuse it, he copped a flogging in the media and had his title “Imam of Australia” removed. He was only given the title so that he could get a visa to live in Australia about 20 years ago. He was to be refused entry for being a nutbag, but some muslims got together and gave him an important sounding title so that he could get the visa…..

  20. #20 Liz in Australia
    October 28, 2007

    You’re not keeping up, PZ 😉 We now have our own obnoxious religiot candidate who hopes gays and lesbians will still vote for him even though he says homosexuality is a perversion, and also thinks ID should be taught in schools because evolution “is a theory not a science”.

    Lucky us.

  21. #21 Jon H
    October 28, 2007

    I figure it’s based in polygamy. If the rich guys get all the women (in multiples), then the poorer men’s only chance of getting any may be through rape. Over the centuries, that probably led to the current attitude which essentially grants men license to rape and blames it on the women.

    It’s still screwed up and wrong and evil. And the men who act with this attitude are truly pathetic creatures (no wonder their armies do so poorly) I’m just positing an explanation for where such a cultural defect could come from.

  22. #22 Mike W.
    October 28, 2007

    To work within the admittedly extremely flawed analogy–a system that leads to so many starving cats surely doesn’t help.

  23. #23 Dahan
    October 28, 2007

    I blame the dogs for not keeping the meat safe from the cats. Stupid dogs…

  24. #24 Jon H
    October 28, 2007

    I must say, though, that imams like that hoser provide a rationale for anyone who would like to exclude Muslim men from immigrating: they’re too inherently criminally impulsive.

  25. #25 melior
    October 28, 2007

    Let’s buy him a “Thank You For Not Tempting My Irresistible Urges” t-shirt.

  26. #26 Milawe
    October 28, 2007

    It should be stated that Hilali made these comments over a year ago and they were resoundingly condemned by the muslim community, the hypocritical right wing (who regularly make statements that amount to the same thing in weasel language) and others.

    Hilali has been a controversial figure for many years now however the ‘meat’ statements eventually led to his being ostracized by the muslim community and he resigned from his position as Grand Mufti this year.

  27. #27 Skemono
    October 28, 2007

    And these are the same people who decry evolution because “If we teach are kids that they’re animals, that’s how they’ll behave.”

  28. #28 melior
    October 28, 2007

    The Sheik does sound strikingly similar to US Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on the subject of blaming women’s satanically sexy clothing. Here’s what he said in an interview with Marie Claire magazine.

    Q: I read that you’re against miniskirts.

    A: If a person dresses provocatively, they’re calling attention — maybe not the most desirable kind — to private parts of their body.

    Q: What about a burka?

    A: No, that hides everything. I think a person’s hair, arms, shoulders, legs are an appropriate display of who they are. I want people to be attracted to me because they find me interesting, not because I’m wearing something … well, I doubt I own anything provocative.

    Q: How about a minskirt?

    A: A thong.

  29. #29 Jon H
    October 28, 2007

    Next time someone’s on camera saying something like that, I wish someone would ask them, “So, should employers be concerned about Muslims working with money? Should the currency be covered up in little burkas, so the employee isn’t tempted into stealing?”

  30. #30 Justin Moretti
    October 28, 2007

    Liz, this is the only thing in the world which would make me vote for Julia Gillard (if I were in that electorate). But it’s enough. (sigh) If I were Prime Minister (the jerkbag Liz describes is campaigning for the incumbent Govt.), I would have this creature culled from my party.

    Hilali is a jerk, and the fact that he was allowed to get away with saying the stupid things he did for so long makes me feel very depressed about the ability of Australian Muslims to question what their “religious leaders” say in their name (though he certainly had his Muslim detractors).

  31. #31 sailor
    October 28, 2007

    Wrapping all women in black bags has a result of making even the smallest bit of flesh highly exciting, especially to those who have never seen a naked woman. So the Muslim way is completely counter-productive. You see a similar thing the USA where a bare woman’s breasts are totally taboo so tend to over-excite some men. The answer – be like the Europeans where toplessness is the norm on nearly every beach, regardless of age. After some exposure men quickly grow up and get used to the female form.
    I am with Amy, if men really cannot control themselves and have to rape they have to either be in jail or neutered. In some countries they may choose, (neutering cuts down recidivism close to a hundred percent) but not in the USA where neutering is considered cruel and unusual even if voluntary.

  32. #32 Michael
    October 28, 2007

    As #18 and #25 have pointed out Hilali made his comments last year. I’ve often wondered how he got away with saying this and things like it for so long beforehand.

    I mean, what he’s saying is that Muslim men are so poorly civilised, so poorly raised, that they have no impulse control, no social mores or graces and cannot be trusted to hold even a thin veneer of civility in day-to-day human interactions upon seeing a bit of female flesh.

    If I were a Muslim man I’d be pretty pissed off at a summary that flies so blatantly in the face of everyday experience. And yet his pupils and acolytes are almost exclusively male. What gives?

  33. #33 Moses
    October 28, 2007

    Oddly, in our house, we blame the cat who gets a wee-thumping on his noggin’ because he A) got on the counter and B) ate people food which is prohibited.

  34. #34 Susannah
    October 28, 2007

    “It’s all girls’ fault for being so irresistibly pretty.”

    It’s not only the Muslims that spout this garbage. I was raised on it, and it is still current today. Just Google “Christian modesty dress” to see.

    For example, from Pyromaniacs: “Again, if lustful looking be so grievous a sin, then those who dress and expose themselves with desires to be looked at and lusted after-as Jezebel, who painted her face, tired her head, and looked out of the window (2 Kings 9:30)-are not less, but even more guilty. In this matter it is only too often the case that men sin, but women tempt them so to do. How great, then, must be the guilt of the great majority of the modern misses who deliberately seek to arouse the sexual passions of our young men? And how much greater still is the guilt of most of their mothers for allowing them to become lascivious temptresses?”

  35. #35 Ian Gould
    October 28, 2007

    In the interests of fairness it should be pointed out that Family First are pretty innocuous compared to other religious fundamentalists who dabble in politics.

    Their big policy thrust at the moment is increased welfare payments for families with children.

    The Taliban they ain’t.

    Meanwhile long-time race-baiter and homophobe Paul Hanson is apparently back on the political trail. Apart from their one big electoral success in a Queensland state election where One Nation got over 20% of the vote and a bunch of seats in Parliament, the Australian populist right has never done particularly well.

    Their vote tends to top out at 5-10% – which is sometimes enough to get a Senator elected under our proportionate representation system.

    This time aroudn it looks like Hanson will be contesting that electoral patch with Family First and FF are responding by trying to look as moderate and mainstream as possible.

  36. #36 Jason Spaceman
    October 28, 2007

    Besides that Fundies First candidate there is also this Liberal candidate:

    Homosexuality a perversion, says Lib candidate

    Jason Koutsoukis
    October 28, 2007

    FEDERAL Liberal candidate Pastor Peter Curtis says homosexuality is a perversion and that gay men die from disease at many times the rate of heterosexuals.

    Standing for the second time as the Liberals’ candidate in the safe Labor seat of Lalor against Labor’s deputy leader Julia Gillard, Mr Curtis said he was still hoping gays and lesbians would vote for him.

    “As a Christian, I do not agree with the idea of homosexuality. That’s the reality. I can’t put it any other way,” Mr Curtis told The Sunday Age yesterday.

    You gotta love his approach, “You’re a pervert! Please vote for me.”

    Oh, and he’s a creationist too; surprise surprise:

    He said that, if elected, he would be urging the Liberal Party to introduce intelligent design to state school science classes. Intelligent design is an assertion that certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, and not by natural selection.

    “I would be very much in favour of intelligent design being taught in public schools,” Mr Curtis said. “Just as the theory of evolution is taught as well — in my view regrettably taught in science classes, because I think it’s a theory and not a science.”

  37. #37 Ian Gould
    October 28, 2007

    Pastor Curtis is not only an ass he’s a moron:

    “He said that, if elected, he would be urging the Liberal Party to introduce intelligent design to state school science classes.”

    Under the Australian federal system, primary and secondary schools are run by the states (hence the term “state schools” which he uses), Curtis is running for Federal Parliament.

    The Federal government has about as much to do with what’s taught in state schools as the individual states have to do with our army’s involvement in Afghanistan.

  38. #38 hemlock
    October 28, 2007

    Unfortunately, Australia’s certainly no more immune to bronze-age myths and the culture of fear, repression, shame and pure idiocy they foster any more than any other nation (though we do tend to have more sensitive bullshit-meters than the United States regarding church & state). That there’s an anti-gay Creationist from one of the Big Two parties running for office that speaks to that. He certainly wouldn’t be the only one either. Check the ranks of the (thankfully small) Family First party for example – denying sexual freedom and pushing God is pretty much their entire reason to be.

    As for Mr Hilali, I’ll have a lot more respect for the supposed “religion of peace” he represents when people like him stop letting Muslim men off the hook when it come to personal accountability. Most non-Muslims in Australia are quite capable of controlling themselves around women but the ones that aren’t are punished and imprisoned, as one would hope (by the way, could you imagine the reaction if a Muslim woman were, goodness forbid, gangraped by a dozen white Australians? At the very least, regardless of the verdict, there would be rioting and lynch mobs in the streets).

  39. #39 Nathaniel
    October 28, 2007

    I think it’s telling that the metaphor uses cats. Why cats and not humans. Consider: “It would be like leaving out a plate of rice crispie treats on your porch. Any man could come by and chow down, ruining your dessert and giving himself bad teeth.”

    Clearly, they also need to protect the men against unprotected food! Heathen westerners, with their comic books full of ads for unhealthy Hostess snack foods!

    —Nathaniel

  40. #40 Jon H
    October 28, 2007

    “Clearly, they also need to protect the men against unprotected food! Heathen westerners, with their comic books full of ads for unhealthy Hostess snack foods!”

    I can see the ad now: Imam Hilali says, “I’d crap on the Kaaba itself for those tasty Hostess Fruit Pies. I’d hardly be able to restrain myself!”

  41. #41 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    The answer – be like the Europeans where toplessness is the norm on nearly every beach, regardless of age.

    Heh heh. Your imagination has gone a little bit overboard. B-) About one such case tends to be in sight on any European beach (…those I’ve seen anyway). Everyone else of the female persuasion, from usually a bit below the age where secondary sexual characteristics become visible (unless wearing a swimsuit, in which case it’s way earlier), wears some top or other at all times.

  42. #42 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 28, 2007

    The answer – be like the Europeans where toplessness is the norm on nearly every beach, regardless of age.

    Heh heh. Your imagination has gone a little bit overboard. B-) About one such case tends to be in sight on any European beach (…those I’ve seen anyway). Everyone else of the female persuasion, from usually a bit below the age where secondary sexual characteristics become visible (unless wearing a swimsuit, in which case it’s way earlier), wears some top or other at all times.

  43. #43 sailor
    October 28, 2007

    David, I probably should have said South of France instead of European, that is the area I am most familiar with, and the same is true in the French Caribbean islands

  44. #44 Carlie
    October 28, 2007

    And you can go here to see how well women are treated in this country by comparison (Shakesville blog post, mildly NSFW). Treating women like meat? You’re soaking in it.

  45. #45 Anon Ymous
    October 28, 2007

    #34, Ian Gould, comments on how Family First are a minor annoyance with some decent policies nested in amongst their religious garbage.

    Last election, a member of Family First made the public comment of his personal belief that lesbians are witches and should be burned at the stake.

    Family First did not kick that member out of the party – even though I should have thought that incitement to homicide would rank as a worse offence than stupid photos.

    Given this, I cannot look at them with anything other than disgust. I wouldn’t care what their official policies are – they’re happy to have a member who believes real people should be burned at the stake in this day and age.

    Taliban? Perhaps not.

    But definitely serious.

  46. #46 Watt de Fawke
    October 28, 2007

    If his ass is there, and I put my foot up it, is his ass not to blame?

  47. #47 Silver
    October 28, 2007

    Family First shouldn’t do as well in this election. They only got a Senator elected last time because of some bad preference deals that the Labor party made. (Australia has a preferential voting system. In the Senate, you can number a single box for a party and let the political party decide how your preferences are distributed rather than numbering all 70+ Senate candidates in a large state like New South Wales. There is, understandably, some political wheeling and dealing over which party gets which preferences.) Family First had a tiny, tiny percentage of votes, but got in on preferences.

    Unfortunately, we’re stuck with the one Family First Senator until the election after this one. Many minor party Senators are one-hit wonders. I’m hoping Family First is one of these.

    I blame the existence of parties like Family First on the rapid Americanisation of Australia under John Howard.

  48. #48 Graham
    October 28, 2007

    Im from Oz and embarrased. Family First are only a bit player, but their leader (Steve Fielding) sounds surprisingly reasonable when interviewed. But any organization with the words ‘family’ and especially ‘family values’ should not be trusted.

  49. #49 Ray C.
    October 28, 2007

    [I]mams like that hoser provide a rationale for anyone who would like to exclude Muslim men from immigrating: they’re too inherently criminally impulsive.

    Indeed that part of the wingnutosphere that specializes in Muslims Behaving Badly took this ball and ran with it. (Think LGF, Jihad Watch and the like.)

  50. #50 mndean
    October 28, 2007

    Ian, I’m surprised you’re as extraordinarily naive as that. Political parties that have odious social control policies tend to (attempt to) mask those policies when they have little power. Family First appears to have little power, and so must make themselves as palatable as possible to as many as possible in their quest for power. This includes obfuscation, misdirection, and even outright lies. What ends up happening is exactly at #43 above, candidates with little to no ability to control their mouths say exactly what they believe and you see the true face of the party.

  51. #51 flygirl
    October 28, 2007

    Hi PZ,

    Dear me, we Aussies get a look-in on Pharyngula and it’s all the wrong kind. The Sheik Al-Hilali issue is quite old news and the Muslim council (or whatever) voted him out of office and replaced him with someone who seems lamb-like in comparison. As for Mr Quah….ah, good ol’ Family First. Good to see they’re throwing up some propah scandals. Family First are very good for general conservative idiocy.

  52. #52 wobert
    October 28, 2007

    We’ve got the trinity, Ken Ham,George Pell and now this dickhead. All coming to a church/mosque near you, in the USA.You’ve got more money than us, so they’ll probably be across soon.

  53. #53 wobert
    October 28, 2007

    We’ve got the trinity, Ken Ham,George Pell and now this dickhead. All coming to a church/mosque near you, in the USA.You’ve got more money than us, so they’ll probably be across soon.

  54. #54 KiwiInOz
    October 28, 2007

    Here is the link to the transcript of McGrath talking about his book, The Dawkins Delusion, on Australia’s Radio National “Religion report” last week. Enjoy.

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/religionreport/stories/2007/2068157.htm#transcript

  55. #55 Efrique
    October 28, 2007

    Family First – current news, and yeah, we get that kind of idiot, too, but FF is mercifully small. This will hopefully help their support become much smaller.

    Sheik Taj al Din al-Hilali – old, old news. He’s a ridiculous nutjob, now with essentially no influence. I don’t think we’ve quite heard the last of him, but near enough.

  56. #56 Bride of Shrek
    October 29, 2007

    The Other Cheek blog http://andrewlanderyou.blogspot.com/ has the photos if you really must see them. Probably NSFW but that depends of course on where you work. If you happen to be employed by Hooters, a porn shop or Madam Severe’s House of Lash then I’m figuring it’ll be ok. Be warned you may need a magnifying glass, we’re not talking massive endowment, if you know what I mean.

    As an aside Mr Shrek has been walking around all day saying “but thats NOT my penis”. And I only just got him to shut up about being an Chinese atrologer in his “past life”.

  57. #57 Monado
    October 29, 2007

    Yeah, and if you get knocked on the head and robbed it’s your fault for looking so prosperous.

    Just tonight I was explaining to a friend that I thought it would be OK to say that women had to wear burka as long as the men had to wear them too. That would last about a week. She thought it would be better to order all en blindfolded and give the canes for feeling their way if they couldn’t control their libidos. I thought it might be enough just to give them a sort of stiff hood that would allow them to see only their feet. If it’s their problem, make the solution their problem, too.

  58. #58 Kester
    October 29, 2007

    Yeah, poor form bringing up Al Hilali. Perhaps I should write an article making fun of Americans for practising slavery.

    What’s worse is that you’ve clearly only got this information second hand rather than reading his whole speech.
    (you can read it here: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20656690-601,00.html)

    Once you’ve read that, you’ll see the much more amusing line he uses isn’t about raw meat but actually this:

    “And behind every man who is a thief, a greedy woman. She is pushing him. Not our women in Australia, the women of Canada.” – ‘the mufti’

  59. #59 flygirl
    October 29, 2007

    Efrique, I fear you may be correct, but he has effectively been disendorsed. Also, he was representative of a particular clique in the Muslim community.

    wobert, forgot about George Pell, he’s a laugh a minute.

    PZ, if you can, check out Youube clips of _The Chaser’s War on Everything_. I think you’ll like it, though hopefully not all the gags will be too Aussie-referenced. Charles Firth’s American vox pops are priceless.

  60. #60 John Morales
    October 29, 2007

    We have such loonies here in Oz, but yours are superior in quantity and quality.

    Re “The Chaser” clips, the episodes are viewable at the ABC’s site.

  61. #61 Snark7
    October 29, 2007

    Well…. to stay in the analogy: cats are considered a real threat to the local wildlife in australia.
    Some people think, they should be all be killed or at least castrated/sterilized to keep their spread in check.
    I wonder if the sheik wants to be consequent with his analogy.

  62. #62 John Morales
    October 29, 2007

    Snakr7, The cats aren’t the problem – “The uncovered meat is the problem.”

  63. #63 Snark7
    October 29, 2007

    Yep… but if “muslim men are cats” is true for the “meat” analogy, it also holds for the “wildlife” analogy.
    Therefore, the correct answer to this idiot sheik (if only for the shock value) is to take him at face value.
    “Well… we’d kill, castrate or sterilize the cats anyhow, because they endanger our local wildlife. So, do you want to be castrated or shot?”

  64. #64 Ian Gould
    October 29, 2007

    Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, is a much more influential and prominent figure than Hillali.

    When he isn’t defending Catholic conservative positions against gays and the ordination of women, he likes to write books asking wistfully if there’s an alternative to liberal democracy.

  65. #65 Ian Gould
    October 29, 2007

    Hilali illustrates a problem confronting many Muslim communities in western countries – just as many of the Christian denominations in those countries have difficult recruiting clergy so do the Muslims.

    Groups such as Australia’s Lebanese community tend to import clergy from The Old Country and many of those clergy tend to be the ones who lack the ability to progress far in their home churches.

    They also tend to be older than their constituents and there are often language problems – the clerics frequently aren’t fluent in the local language and the younger generation of worshippers frequently don’t speak the language of their parents homeland.

    All this can produce a couple of problems which should be of concern not just to the congregations in question:

    1. When you get an ignorant dick like Hilali, there are few credible other voices in the clergy to challenge their claims.

    2. Islam tends not to have heirarchical structures like Christianity, religious authority resides in scholars who interpret the five schools of Islamic law (in much the same way as Rabbis interpret Talmudic law). Over the centuries, these schools have “interpreted” the Koran extensively, generally in such a way as to moderate or negate the bits that are offensive to modern sensibilities.

    When clerics are seen as out of touch and poorly educated, there’s a tendency for people to go back to the original text and overlook the centuries of interpretation. This leads to the sort of violent interpretation of Islam we’re all now familiar with.

    (There’s a very telling story by a Pakistani journalist who pre-9/11 interviewed Bin Laden and Mullah Omar and asked them about a famous Koranic Sura forbidding the killing of noncombatants. First they denied there was such a Sura. Then they decided to check a copy of the Koran – it took about an hour for them to even find a copy. When they found it and the journalist was proven correct they said it didn’t apply to them, refused to explain why and threatened his life.

    The radical Islamists may claim they’re killing in the name of Islam but their knowledge of it is about on par with the average IRA or UDF member’s knowledge of Christian theology.

  66. #66 Dave
    October 29, 2007

    WTF? Who blames meat? When Imam Hillarity goes to a restaurant, if his dinner is over-cooked, does he curse (because he obviously is the sort of man with a short temper) the steak? Personally, I talk to the waiter about it.

    Now back to this goofy analogy, since we dont blame inanimate objects like meat, who should we blame? Well he is clearly trying not to blame the cats (although that would be my first choice.) So perhaps the idjit who left the meat out uncovered. No who is that? Perhaps the men responsible for the women who let them out without their burkas. But the men are already the cats and they cant be two parts to the analogy. So whats left? Clearly hes blaming god, but doesnt want to admit it.

  67. #67 senderista
    October 29, 2007

    Mike Huckabee in a thong…Thanks Internet.

  68. #68 Jimi
    October 29, 2007

    Q: Is the uncovered meat “hot”?

  69. #69 Amanda
    October 30, 2007

    Yeah, here’s our local Catholic archbishop once again on us sad Atheists.
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/christianity-vital-to-democracys-future/2007/10/29/1193618796958.html

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