People often accuse me of victimising the church and picking on religion. As I’ve said before, it’s really not my fault. Generally speaking, religions make themselves a target for those of us fighting against the improper use of language. Politicians do it as an artform, marketers do it to separate a fool from his dollar, but sometimes it’s the religions of the world that really make an impact with their words.

And it’s not just the Catholic church or Christians in general that I single out. Generally speaking, pretty much any organised religion is as bad as the next. This week’s Moron Of The Moment is Australia’s leading Muslim mufti, Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali.


Sheik Hilali gave a speech during Ramadan in which he said, “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it … whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?

“The uncovered meat is the problem.”

Was he talking about the problem of feral cats among Sydney’s Muslim community? No. He was referring to women that are scantily clad and not wearing a hajib, the traditional Muslim headscarf, and the men that can not help themselves from raping those women.

He also suggested that, “If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.”

Of course, if some scumbag rapist had the ability to control sexual urges that were as primal as a starving animal’s need to eat, then the room, the house and the hijab would all be unnecessary. But al-Hilali seems to think that the onus is on women as men have no ability to control themselves. And this is supposedly Australia’s leading Muslim cleric talking.

al-Hilali also said that women were “weapons” used by “Satan” to control men.

“It is said in the state of zina (adultery), the responsibility falls 90 per cent of the time on the woman. Why? Because she possesses the weapon of enticement (igraa).”

Of course, I’m sure that the very large majority of Muslims are as appalled as everyone else by his comments. The trouble is, when someone is considered to be the spokesman for any group, be it a president talking about his country, a cleric talking for his religion or an individual talking on behalf of his friends, those words are considered the view of the group as a whole. Words are very powerful things.

The most amusing part of the whole thing is the Sheik’s attempt at an apology following the widespread outrage at his comments. He said, “I unreservedly apologise to any woman who is offended by my comments. I had only intended to protect women’s honour.”

Pretty strange way of going about it.