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Sheik Al-hilali's comments mustn't lead to more Muslim bashing

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SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT Queensland Democrat Senator


The Australian Democrat Deputy Leader Andrew Bartlett condemned the comments attributed to Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali but said that they should not be an excuse for another round of Muslim bashing.

“While the Sheik’s reported comments are very wrong, they are not greatly different from comments made from time to time by others in the wider Australian community,” Senator Bartlett said.

“Calls for the Sheik’s deportation are also a gross over-reaction unless you also want to advocate for the deportation of groups like the Exclusive Brethren or any priest or preacher who has ever made a comment suggesting women who don't dress modestly are asking to be raped.

“The views expressed by Sheik al-Hilali are not those held by the majority of Muslims in Australia and to think that most Muslims would hold these views or act on such comments is absurd.

“It is up to Muslims in Australia to sort out ignorance and prejudice amongst some of their leaders about women; exactly like people in some of the Christian churches have had to do with some of their priests and preachers.

“These views must not be seen as being pervasive with in the Muslim community and they should not be blown out of all proportion and used as yet another excuse to vilify and marginalise Muslim Australians,” Senator Bartlett concluded.

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Media Statement Thrusday 26 October 2006