A senior Muslim leader in Australia has said that gay teachers are “afflicted with abnormal practices that contradict nature.”

Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly, a former Grand Mufti of Australia, said in an interview to The Australian newspaper published on Monday (October 15) that teachers should “not impose their lifestyle on the rest of society, especially schools which are supposed to provide an environment of learning and culture and not a club for those seeking to satisfy their desires.”



The cleric, who has made numerous controversial comments about women, Jews and the 9/11 terror attacks, made his latest remarks after Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed away from a government review which said faith schools should have the right to discriminate against LGBT+ students and opposition leader Bill Shorten called for protections against queer teachers being fired.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty)

Speaking through a translator to the publication, Hilaly said: “We are a free democratic society that believes in diversity and human rights and we reject constrictions on the rights of others even if they are afflicted with abnormal practices that contradict nature.

“In such cases, we must respect their humanity and deal with the issue as a mental illness that requires care and treatment.”

Hilaly left the role of Grand Mufti—Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric, chosen by a group of 18 members of the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC)—in 2007 after nearly two decades punctuated by controversial statements, which included accusing Jews of “causing all wars,” calling the Holocaust a “Zionist lie” and saying 9/11 was “God’s work.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 03: Controversial muslim cleric Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly arrives for Friday prayers at Lakemba mosque November 3, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. Hilaly was expected to speak at the prayers in his first public appearance since being hospitalized on October 30, 2006. The mufti has faced criticism in Australia following a sermon last month in which he suggested that immodestly dressed women invited sexual assault. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
Hilaly has made controversial comments before (Ian Waldie/Getty)

He also blamed women without a hijab who are sexually assaulted, saying: “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. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.”

The cleric was symbolically reinstated as Grand Mufti last month by a group of imams in Brisbane, but the ANIC issued a statement on the same day which emphasised it was “the ONLY official body that elects the Grand Mufti of Australia.

“The current Grand Mufti of Australia is his Eminence Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammad,” the statement continued. “Any other announcement of a new Grand Mufti of Australia is void and unjustified.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 03: Controversial muslim cleric Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly offers flowers to the media after Friday prayers at Lakemba mosque November 3, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. Hilaly spoke at the prayers in his first public appearance since being hospitalized on October 30, 2006. The mufti has faced criticism in Australia following a sermon last month in which he suggested that immodestly dressed women invited sexual assault. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
The cleric has called women “uncovered meat” (Ian Waldie/Getty)

After a backlash to the government review last week, the Prime Minister said his administration would reassess the Sex Discrimination Act and remove the power for any school to exclude students based on their sexuality.

The review was ordered after the country’s postal vote on same-sex marriage last year, which led to same-sex marriage being legalised in Parliament.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull created the ‘religious freedom’ review, which was headed by former Liberal frontbencher and anti-LGBT politician Philip Ruddock, in an attempt to appease anti-gay conservatives in his party.




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