February 18, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 664

The Mufti of Australia Calls for Jihad; 'Australia was Discovered by Afghan Muslims'

February 18, 2004
Afghanistan | Special Dispatch No. 664

The Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, Taj Al-Din Hamed Abdallah Al-Hilali, was born in Egypt's Suhag district in 1941. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and served as a preacher in Egypt, Libya, and Lebanon. In 1982 he came to Australia, and in 1988 he was appointed to his present position by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils . The following is a collection of speeches and interviews by Mufti Al-Hilali: [1]

A Call for Jihad from Lebanon

In a February 13, 2004 sermon at the Al-Quds mosque while on a visit to Sidon, Lebanon, the Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, Taj Al-Din Al-Hilali,called for Jihad against Israel, and added: "The war waged by the U.S. and Israel against the Muslims is a cruel war aimed at annihilating the [Islamic] nation."

Sheikh Al-Hilali expressed amazement that various Arab countries and leaders had avoided hosting the upcoming Arab summit, and added: "In any event, we have become accustomed to the fact that these summits produce nothing, neither cockroach nor mouse. [2]

"We are in dire need of real men these days in light of the situation in Jerusalem and Palestine... Your leaders are looking for a venue and no one dares address an invitation for the leaders of this stricken nation … because we lack strong leadership. In the past, in Arab and Islamic history, we were governed by real men, but nowadays we are governed by semi-men." [3]

Following a meeting with Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Sheikh Al-Hilali said: "I blessed Hizbullah for liberating the prisoners and the bones of the Shahids and I praised it and its sacrifice. Hizbullah has become a model for all the Mujahideen in the world… Most of the Australian people do not support the policy of the Australian government, which has placed Hizbullah on the terror list out of submission to the U.S., and the Australian prime minister will pay the price for this in the next elections…" [4]

Anti-American and Anti-Western Sentiment

This is not the first time that Sheikh Al-Hilali expressed anti-American or anti-European sentiment. In a speech in March 2003, he likened "Bush Jr." to the son of Genghis Khan, calling him "the most ignorant president to lead the White House." [5] Sheikh Al-Hilali also declared that President Bush, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are the "axis of evil." [6]

Sheikh Al-Hilali said on another occasion: "The media all over the world are controlled by Zionist fingers, particularly the Western media, and that includes Australia, in which the media are under Zionist hegemony. But in Australia, which unlike the West and the U.S. is multicultural, the media are less racist in their enmity to Muslims and Islam. This is evidenced by the fact that we won the last media battle in Australia and succeeded in forcing the Australian people to treat us with respect. We have not suffered from persecution or disrespect to the same extent that Islamic communities in Western countries and in America have suffered." [7]

However, Al-Hilali believes that "the Zionist Western attack on Islam" has become the best means of its propagation: "The Muslims are like a cotton [cushion] that the upholsterer's stick only makes bigger. When the cotton is worn out and can no longer be sat upon, the upholsterer comes along and attacks it ferociously with his stick. These blows clean the cotton, cause it to swell, expand, and grow.

"Thus are the Muslims. The stick of the Western media prompted the spread of Islam, and stimulated the Westerners to hasten to acquaint themselves with it…

"The Western media attacks Islam day and night. But they are unable to hide the sun at midday. The events of September 11th in the U.S. caused a revolutionary change in the military and defensive balance of power in the world, and all the world must reexamine their considerations in light of these developments…" [8]

Support for Hizbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad

In one interview, Sheikh Al-Hilali accused the U.S. of terrorism and expressed support for martyrdom/suicide attacks: "There is no doubt that the U.S. is dealing with wholesale marketing of terrorism. The U.S. is the biggest agent for terrorism in the world, and Israel perpetrates terrorism, with funding and military and diplomatic support from the U.S.

"We are proud of the Islamic resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Kashmir, and everywhere in the world that seeks to achieve its legitimate rights in accordance with the international resolutions, the human rights conventions, and the U.N. resolutions…

"We are also proud of the Islamic resistance that liberated southern Lebanon, led by Hizbullah, the legitimate Lebanese national movement, that forced the Israeli occupation army to withdraw from southern Lebanon, dragging trails of disappointment and shame behind it.

"We are also proud of what Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are both doing in the occupied territories. We support the resistance and support, with all our might, the martyrdom operations carried out by the Palestinian liberation movements, operations that are a legitimate act against the cruel occupation, according to all international norms and conventions.

"Also, whoever carries out a martyrdom [operation] is a pure Shahid and one of the men of Paradise. Moreover, he stands at the head of the Shahids." [9]

The Dangers of a Permissive Australia

In another interview, Sheikh Al-Hilali discussed Muslim life in Australia: "The dangers threatening the Muslim community emanate from the law that prohibits the family's guardianship over its sons from the moment they reach the age of 16. The father has no authority over his son or his daughter, and if you try to intervene in your son's private life, he brings in the police. The moment your son reaches 16, he takes his freedom and becomes independent.

"More dangerous yet are the sex education classes in the schools. In the West, the society is divided, generally speaking, into different parts in accordance with how interesting they are. First comes caring for dogs and cats. In second place is the woman, and in third place is the child, and in fourth place is the male. Australia is one of the Western societies, and it has recently enacted lawsallowing men to marry men and women to marry women. The church officially registers them… These are the dangers of freedom and permissiveness.

"Many Muslim families feel that their families are being threatened, and very quickly they set out on a journey back to their countries of origin." [10]

The Muslims Discovered Australia

Sheikh Al-Hilali also claims that Afghan Muslims preceded Captain Cook in his discovery of Australia: [11] "Australia is an old-new continent. The Europeans issued a false birth certificate for it when the British seafarer Captain James Cook reached it. However, Australia already had the most ancient race of men on the face of the earth – the Aborigine people… They continue to live their primitive lives to this very day.

"But when you become acquainted with their traditions among their tribes, you find that they have customs such as circumcision, marriage ceremonies, respect for tribal elders, and burial of the dead – all customs that show that they were connected to ancient Islamic culture before the Europeans set foot in Australia.

"That is, Islam had roots deep in the Australian soil and read the Qur'an and called to prayer before the bells of the churches rang in Australia. The best evidence of this is the hundreds of mosques in the center of Australia built by the Afghans. Some of them were destroyed, and others were turned into Australian archeological museums, and still others remained unharmed, and they bear a history that proves that Islam has roots and ancient connections to Australia.

"But because they did not have the proper conditions to continue to exist, such as schools, propagation of the religion, and connection to the Islamic world, the first generation of our Afghan ancestors dissolved…

"I visited the town of Alice Springs in central Australia, and found there a map [of Alice Springs] under the name Mecca. Alice Springs is surrounded by high black mountains, similar to the mountains of Mecca. Summer there lasts 10 months, and winter only two months. The temperature is above 50 degrees Celsius.

"There are several kinds of dates and palm trees there. We did not believe that dates could grow there. Now that we know the reason, we no longer wonder. We found that our ancestors the Afghans were among the first Muslims, and they settled this area and called it Mecca.

"The strange thing was that when our muezzin [who accompanied Sheikh Al-Hilali on his visit to Alice Springs] stood up to call for prayer, the old people of the town came out, and so did men and youths, and they looked different than the black Aborigines. They were a mixture of Afghan and Aborigine, as a result of marriages of Afghan men and Aborigine women. When the muezzin called 'Allahu Akbar,' they said, 'We have heard this song from our ancestors…' When they asked us 'What is this song you are singing?' we told them that this was an announcement of prayer time. When we asked them their names, they answered John, or Steve, but their names ended with Saraj Al-Din, Abdallah, or Muhammad…" [12]

[1] Mufti Al-Hilali made headlines in January 2003 when a traffic policeman who stopped him while he was driving a car with building supplies protruding from it insisted on searching him. The mufti objected, claiming, so his spokesman said, that the policeman had pushed him. Following this instance, Mufti Al-Hilali told Australian Channel Seven that in his view the police officer had acted in an "un-Australian" manner: "Police officer, he try to do his job but not through Australian way, I think he try the Chicago way, not Australian way." Reuters, January 7, 2003, another occasion, Sheikh Al-Hilali stood trial in Egypt on charges of smuggling archeological artifacts, but he said that the Egyptian court cleared him. Al-Bayan (UAE), February 16, 2002.

[2] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 14, 2004.

[3] The Daily Star (Lebanon), February 14, 2004.

[4] Al-Safir (Lebanon), February 14, 2004. The Mufti of Australia met also with Sheikh Abd Al-Emir Qablan, deputy head of the Supreme Shiite Islamic Council, on the occasion of the appointment of a representative of this council to Australia. Al-Anwar (Lebanon), February 15, 2004.

[5] Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), March 22, 2003.

[6] The Irish Times,April 4, 2003.

[7] Al-Bayan (UAE), February 16, 2002.

[8] Al-Bayan (UAE), February 16, 2002.

[9] Al-Bayan (UAE), February 16, 2002.


[11] Australia's discovery by Muslims is a variation on the theme of America's discovery by Muslims, which gained great popularity among American and other Muslims. See for example


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