"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 asked.
"The uncovered meat is the problem."
"If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab (islamic headdress), no problem would have occurred."
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Women are not independent, autonomous human beings who have rights and desires; they are little more than inanimate objects that have to be protected from predators. When they are not protected from predators, it's certainly not the fault of the predators when they attack — they are just doing what they always do. Women have be shut up in their rooms or completely covered when in public. Either way, women should not be allowed to move through society with the same freedoms as men.
Al-Hilali was not speaking hypothetically:
He also alluded to the Sydney rapes in 2000 where four women were separately gang-raped by a group of young Muslim men, including Bilal Skaf, who originally received a 55-year sentence, later reduced.
He said there were women who "sway suggestively" and wore make-up and inappropriate clothes, "and then you get a judge without mercy (rahma) and gives you 65 years," News Limited reports.
The Sheik went on to say women were "weapons" used by "Satan" to control men and when it comes to adultery the responsibility falls on the woman 90 per cent of the time.
When you excuse sexual assaults in this manner, you're only giving sexual predators an excuse to act:
"This is inciting young men to a violent crime because it is the woman's fault," Goward told television's Nine Network. "It is time the Islamic community did more than say they were horrified. I think it is time he left."
Source: ABC News
Politicians in Australia expressed outrage, not that it made any difference:
Prime Minister Howard labelled the mufti's comments as 'appalling and reprehensible', adding: "They are quite out of touch with contemporary values in Australia.
"The idea that women are to blame for rapes is preposterous. I not only reject the comments, I condemn them unconditionally." Treasurer Peter Costello urged the Muslim community to condemn the comments and take action against the Sheik.
"If you have a significant religious leader like this preaching to a flock in a situation where we've had gang rapes, in a way that seems to make it justifiable, or at least lighten the dehumanising and degrading extent of the offence."
Source: Daily Mail
The first stage of defenders trying to "spin" in the issue is to deny that Al-Hilali said what he really said:
A close associate of the sheik, Keysar Trad, said the speech was about adultery, not rape. "He wasn't talking about standard norms of dress in Australia or any country, he wasn't talking about the hijab, he was talking about people who engage in extramarital sex."
It's insulting that Trad thinks anyone will believe this. As offensive as Al-Hilali's analogy is, it's also pretty clear — clear enough, in fact, that it cannot really be applied to cases of adultery. Cats going after a piece of meat left uncovered is an analogy for sexual predators going after an uncovered women, not an analogy for a man and a woman both consenting to engage in an adulterous relationship. Al-Hilali was unmistakably and unequivocally talking about rape (or sexual assaults generally) and Keysar Trad becomes complicit by making such a weak rationalization.
Although he refuses to apologize for his views, he is willing to describe his analogy as "inappropriate," now that he has been pressured to take an indefinite leave:
"I confess that this analogy is inappropriate and unacceptable for the Australian society and the western society in general," al-Hilali said Monday. "In due course, I will take the necessary decision that will lift the pressures that have been placed on our Australian Muslim community and that which will benefit all Australians."
"The pressure of the last couple of days has had an obvious effect on my health and well-being," he said, adding that he had requested indefinite leave from his duties at Lakemba Mosque in Sydney. ...
Al-Hilali, who has been mufti of Australia since 1989, has rejected calls for his resignation over his remarks about women and rape. He apologized for the comments last week and agreed to stop preaching for three months.
The Australian reported Monday that al-Hilali used an Arabic-language radio interview two weeks ago to endorse militants in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories.
Quite a few Muslims reacted negatively to what he said. Some of the negative reactions were due to strong disagreement with the content of his comments; some, though, may have had more to do with the negative publicity those comments drew. It's impossible to be sure, of course, but some of what I saw was about how he had set back relations with non-Muslims by many years and not about how heinous his ideas were.
Many Muslims are concerned, and quite justifiably, about negative portrayals and images of them in the media and popular culture. That won't change so long as there are real Muslims like Al-Hilali who justify the negative images by acting in some of the worst ways possible. When people like Al-Hilali leading Muslim communities, it will be impossible to convince critics that Islam is a peaceful and decent religion.
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