March 11, 2004


Via Gnu Hunter, gnus ... er, news that Australia’s Muslims have had it up to here with their wayward Mufti. Here’s Sheikh Fehmi Naji:

Most of the time, he goes overboard in his statements, and sometimes there are a lot of contradictions and outrageous declarations, and because of that, not every Imam agrees with him, not many Muslims in Australia would agree with him as well.

Because this is not proper, particularly in the status of multiculturalism we live in, in Australia, and we have to know exactly what we are saying, and if it is within our structure here and everything is according to the real truth.

The “real truth” ... why, that’s just some kind of crazy Western concept.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 11, 2004 12:50 AM

Would another Islamic leader be better? Let's not jump from the frying pan into the fire.

The Lakemba Mufti has a history of making outrageous statements, going back to his early years in Oz. He is also so personally erratic that Police stopping him for a routine traffic check called for major backup and arrested him, but then backed down.

BUT, he has also gone further than any other Muslim cleric I've seen to bridge the cultural divide with non-Muslims, in this case ordinary Australians. When Muslims here do something outrageous he publically rebukes them. He seems to be sincere in wanting his parishioners to adapt to Australian norms and in working towards that.
Even in the current case he is contrite and apologetic. We can work with this guy. Maybe those waiting in the wings are much worse.

Let's not just mindlessly indulge in tall-poppy bashing.

Posted by: contra at March 11, 2004 at 09:07 AM

I've heard good things about the Mufti too. About a year or so ago, I read that he went so far as to expel some extremist Muslim groups that were operating in the Lakemba mosque.
I'll see if I can find some more information on this and post details on my blog (

Posted by: TimT at March 11, 2004 at 09:55 AM

The guy is definitely not a tall poppy.

His views are held by most of those he represents. His token gestures came only after it became clear his position would be harmed if he did otherwise.

You are correct that the media considers him a moderate and some of the guys waiting in the wings are reported as being much worse.

Posted by: The Gnu Hunter at March 11, 2004 at 10:00 AM