Saturday, October 28, 2006


To those who ask 'why this sudden hysteria about Islam?', the answer is it's not hysteria, it's valid concern, and it's not sudden:

Even before that, in 1982, the sheik (Hilaly) was causing ripples. The (NSW) Arabic community newspaper El Telegraph in July of that year reported a speech by Sheik Hilaly in which he said "the flesh of Australian women is as cheap as pigs' flesh". The paper attacked his comments and soon had to have guards protect the journalist.

Not long after, the El Telegraph office was badly damaged in a suspicious fire.
Yet high profile Australia Labor identities were willing to turn a blind eye to terrorism and the oppression of women for personal political gain. A few years later:

Prominent Labor figures Paul Keating and Leo McLeay "demanded" a ministerial colleague grant residency for Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly. The two party leaders were furious when in 1989 then-Immigration Minister Robert Ray refused their requests, Labor sources said yesterday.

The sources said it was at least the second time they had sought to lobby on behalf of the controversial Muslim leader. The sheik has played a walk-on role in ALP affairs since he arrived here in 1982, with Mr McLeay being his strongest champion within the party.

Other Labor identities, such as NSW Upper House member Eddie Obeid, had been in the forefront of attempts to get him kicked out.

Sheik Hilaly did not get permanent residency until 1990 when Gerry Hand was Immigration Minister.

The sheik's case had been taken to Senator Ray in response to appeals from electorally powerful Islamic communities within Mr Keating's seat of Blaxland and Mr McLeay's seat of Grayndler (emphasis added).
To be fair to former Prime Minister Keating, it may not only have been threats from the Blaxland Muslim community that he would lose their votes. Keating may have felt a certain affinity with Hilaly.

After all, Keating knew the value of pig's flesh, at least in taxpayer's dollars. Keating also held in contempt the Australian population and women, including his wife, who he told he was leaving over the dinner table in front of friends.

-- Nick

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