The controversial Sydney Muslim cleric, Sheik Taj din el hilali, remains defiant and revered in Australia despite calls of extradition and condemnation.
The recent furore, which followed the religious sermon that was posted in right wing paper “The Australian,” has done little to evict the top Muslim cleric from Australia.
The majority of Arabs were first to condemn the sermon, which triggered an outcry by Australians, when the Sheik purportedly aligned women and meat. The sheik defended himself, as the meat was the analogy for his manifestation of preaching modesty.
Taj din el hilali received no support for his comments until yesterday when pious representatives defended the allegedly distorted speech, which was according to the Sheik a “conspiracy.”
Thousands of Arabs gathered at Lakemba mosque to depict their outrage after speculation the sheik was suspended for three months. Taj din el hilali was aware that his sermon was taped and given to anti-socialist paper, “The Australian,” to translate in a form of “conspiracy.”
The Lebanese Muslim Association accepted his apology and rebuked claims that any action was taken against him.
The majority of Australians have been outraged and the furor has been discussed all over Sydney and Australia alike, chiding the sheik and his remarks.
The Australian government has failed to take action and severely criticise the Sheik. John Howard said the sermon was “appalling and reprehensible.” While calls from low key political figures to transfer the Sheik “home” fell on deaf ears. John Howard immediately dismissed the claim saying “we can’t do that” citing discrimination.
The Lebanese Muslim association told Howard to “stay out of it” and was earnest in telling the government to butt out. Howard acknowledged the suggestions and said he would leave it to the debates and likes of liberal Muslims to deal with. Mr. Howard was said to be happy with the Islamic condemnation, which was prompt.
The New South Wales, state of Sydney, government has also failed to transparently deplore the sermon or take measures to eject the Sheik from Lakemba mosque, permanently. The state government was criticised by the opposition for a weak response and for the continuation of tax payer funding to the Mufti.
Why Muslims “get their way” in Australia
Growing criticism that “Muslims get their way” in Australia has many wondering why the Muslims, especially Lebanese, always evade action from the government and speculation that the government appeases minority groups.
The following is a table, which include the factors of reasons why the government consistently strives for good relations with the Lebanese and Muslim community.
The Lebanese population was amongst the first migration to Australia. They came as trades people in the mid 1800s to build the Australian nation. They effectively have foot prints in the Australian land.
The Lebanese and Muslim community are populous in Sydney communities; Australia’s economic capital. They contribute immensely to Australia’s “beta” economy. They also overpopulate certain communities in the west. It is difficult to undermine their dominant presence. They have established businesses and retail to accommodate for all Australians.
Australia is surrounded by South East Asian countries of mainly Muslim descendants. Conflict with Muslims might trigger harm with socio-economic relations with Australia’s main trading companions. It may also incite ambitious terrorists.
Muslims from mainly Asian nations contribute heavily to Australia’s tourism. In Australia, tourism is the largest economic contributor, followed by education.
Lebanese immigrants, similarly to Israeli Americans, have a presence in governmental institutions. Lebanese in politics include, the governor of New South Wales, Marie Bashir. The Premier (mayor) of Victoria, Steve Bracks. Anthony Alexander Alam is a member of the NSW Legislative council. Sam Doumay, Minister of justice in Queensland. Barbara Perry NSW parliamentarian. Nicholas Shehadie, lord mayor of Sydney (likely the most prestigious position in NSW).
Lebanese immigrants also control major financial institutions and dominate sports. Ron Bakir is the owner of one of Australia’s biggest phone retailers, sponsor of Australia’s football. Benny Elias, Hazem El-Masri and Ahmed El rich are prominent football and soccer players; there are many more Lebanese footballers, just low key. The CEO (controller) of Australia’s biggest bank, National Bank of Australia, and 2rd largest company and economic driver in Australia, is Lebanese Muslim, Ahmed Fahour. John Symmond is one of Australia’s richest men; he was the founder of Australia’s widely known and successful Aussie Home Loans. John Symmonds maintains affiliations with other multi-millionaires and politicians.
The 2006 Miss World Australia, Sabrina Houssami, is Lebanese Muslim and was second runner up in Miss World.
These are just to name a few in the public and economic spotlights. Thus, the government tries to maintain closer relationships with the Lebanese and Muslim communities for the various reasons outlined. The Lebanese Muslim Association is also a major player in the NSW decision-making process. Straining relations with the Lebanese and Muslim community will harm the economy and political rhetoric, which the government has long worked hard for and cannot afford to regress on. The government of Australia still sustains a conservative policy, but considers the effect of potentially harming relations.