Views From Kennewick

Thursday, January 25, 2007

January 25, 2007

Terror Australis: Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali sneaks back into Austrlia via VIP exit.

Sheik returns to Australia
January 25, 2007 12:00

CONTROVERSIAL cleric Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali has snuck back into Sydney from his overseas holiday - just in time for Australia Day celebrations tomorrow.

After causing an uproar over comments he made on Egyptian television during his absence, Sheik Hilali avoided the waiting media at the airport last night and was ushered through a VIP exit after his plane touched down.

Reports today said there was police protection waiting for him.

One airport worker also said the mufti was accompanied by two quarantine officers as he left the building and had no baggage with him.

Sheik Hilali caused outrage in an interview on Egyptian TV in which he called Westerners liars and said that Muslims were more entitled to live in Australia than the descendents of Anglo-Saxons sent here as convicts in chains.

His recent comments - made while he was on holiday recovering from the Hajj pilgrimage - followed the stir he caused last year when he compared immodestly dressed women to "uncovered meat".

Senior politicians from both the Labor and Liberal parties reacted to the latest outrage by urging him to stay away from Australia if he didn't like it.

The sheik has also made headlines in recent days over suggestions he would challenge Premier Morris Iemma for the Lakemba seat in the New South Wales state election.

A spokesman later clarified that the plan was to recruit and endorse Muslim candidates in at least three western Sydney seats in the NSW Parliament, though Mr Iemma said he was keen to take on Sheik Hilali himself.

The sheik's plan was also described by one Islamic leader as "about as helpful as Pauline Hanson getting back into politics".

Despite the controversy he generates, Sheik Hilali says that he loves Australia.


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