From The Australian, October 30, 2006, by Richard Kerbaj [emphasis addded]....
TAJ Din al-Hilali has praised militant jihadists .... in the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Afghanistan. ... Hilali pays tribute to Sayyid Qutb, the ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood and intellectual mentor of Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'ida. "Jihad of the liberator of Palestine, that's the greatest and cleanest and highest ... jihad which lifts our heads in pride in south Lebanon," Sheik Hilali says in [a] October 17 interview.
.... a neighbouring cleric from Sydney's Bankstown accused Sheik Hilali of supporting military Islamic jihad against the West and called on imams from around the country to band together to force the mufti to step down. Sheik Ibrahim El-Shafie said yesterday Sheik Hilali was a follower of the Egyptian Islamic scholar Qutb, one of the founding fathers of modern jihad, whose teachings are used by al-Qa'ida and Jemaah Islamiah. .... Sheik Shafie told The Australian that since arriving in Australia in 1982, Sheik Hilali had defended Qutb's radical ideology and praised him as a "martyr for Islam" and a "role model". "Hilali has since he got here been defending the ideology of Sayyid Qutb," he said. Sheik Shafie said Sheik Hilali's support of Qutb was effectively "encouraging" his followers to espouse and act on the executed scholar's ideologies. "And as you know, those responsible for the Bali bombing are so-called JI and (follow) the same ideology as Sayyid Qutb, which Hilali is now defending," he said.
...As the Lebanese Muslim Association, which hosts the Lakemba Mosque, was still divided last night about how to handle the Hilali crisis, Sheik Shafie launched a scathing attack on his fellow Sunni cleric. Sheik Shafie said Sheik Hilali was an "extremist" who posed as a moderate for political advantage that ultimately gained him Australian citizenship. "This person is acting like a chameleon," he told The Australian yesterday. ..."He might say we condemn such and such, but then, on the other side, when he is with his followers in the mosque, he'll start ... expressing his anti-Western views."
Sheik Shafie said the nation's imams needed to unite to remove Sheik Hilali as spiritual leader at Lakemba, where he presides over the largest group of Muslim worshippers in Australia.
As John Howard and Kim Beazley called for Muslims to act against Sheik Hilali, Jamal Rifi, from the Australian Muslim Doctors Against Violence, pleaded with the mufti: "Please step down, I urge you to step down. Enough is enough." ....
.....The Islamic Council of Victoria has already demanded that Sheik Hilali stand down.
Lebanese Muslim Association president Tom Zreika said last night that after a meeting over the weekend the body that runs Lakemba Mosque had decided on a plan to handle Sheik Hilali.
"We have put together a plan and hopefully we can get ourselves out of this crisis," he said.
The Australian understands the organisation will not move against the spiritual leader, fearing this would cause unrest among his worshippers, and hopes Sheik Hilali can stay out of the limelight before heading to Mecca in December.
The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has vowed to abolish the title of mufti - the leader of the nation's Muslims - after new leaders are elected in February.