September 11 is God's work: Mufti
By Kerry-Anne Walsh, Political Correspondent
February 29, 2004
The powerful leader of Australia's 300,000 Muslims, Sheik Taj el-Din Al Hilaly, has praised the September 11 terrorist attacks as "God's work".
The controversial Mufti also appears to have lent support to Arab suicide bombers in an inflammatory sermon during a Middle East lecture tour.
Sheik Al Hilaly, who is based at the Lakemba mosque, last week vehemently denied that he called for a jihad against Israel in one of his sermons. But a translation of a sermon, delivered at the Sidon mosque in Lebanon and obtained by The Sun-Herald, is littered with references to Arab martyrs and Americans being punished by God.
Sheik Al Hilaly spoke of an "Islamic revolution", and told his audience not to be surprised if one day a muezzin called out "Allah is Great!" from the "top of the White House".
"September 11 is God's work against oppressors," he said. "Some of the things that happen in the world cannot be explained; a civilian airplane whose secrets cannot be explained, if we ask its pilot who reached his objective without error: 'Who led your steps?'
"Or if we ask the giant that fell: 'Who humiliated you?' Or if we ask the president: 'Who made you cry?' God is the answer."
Declaring there was a "war on infidels" around the world, the Mufti praised the boy who, "despite his mother's objections", went to war to become a martyr.
Bemoaning the lack of "real men" in the Arab world, he said the "true boy" was one who told his mother not to cry for him if he died. The boy who cried: "Oh mother, jihad has been imposed on me and I want to become a martyr [was a son of Islam]." The boy would cry to his mother: "Oh mother, I'm going with a stone in my hand to become a martyr."
After seeking clarification from Sheik Al Hilaly in Egypt, his spokesman, Keysar Trad, said the Mufti had taken bits from poems, which he often incorporated into his sermons.
The September 11 reference meant that "evil can reach everywhere and everything", and the power of terrorism should not be belittled. Stating that September 11 was God's work against oppressors meant "people only do these things when they feel oppressed".
He denied the Mufti had supported suicide bombers, saying the "boy with a stone" could not possibly mean that.
A week ago, the Australian Federal Police decided against investigating the Mufti's overseas activities.