June 11, 2007 in Nation/World

Cleric quits, said women tempted rapists

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 

MELBOURNE, Australia – Australia’s top Islamic cleric, who came under fire last year when he likened women without head scarves to “uncovered meat,” stepped down Sunday. Muslim leaders appointed a new mufti.

Australia’s council of Muslim leaders appointed Sheik Fehmi Naji El-Imam as the nation’s senior cleric after months of criticism over the previous mufti, Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali.

The council initially offered al-Hilali another two-year term in the post, but he “gracefully declined,” according to a statement released by the Australian National Imams Council.

“We recognize the great services that Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali has provided over the years and we pray for his good health,” the statement said.

The sheik declined to say why he stepped down.

In September, al-Hilali blamed scantily clad women for tempting men to rape them, saying, “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside … and the cats come to eat it … whose fault is it?”

Al-Hilali apologized for the comment, but soon afterward caused further anger by saying Muslims have more right to live in Australia than the descendants of convicts.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email