A growing drug scandal is swirling around young female Muslim leader Iktimal Hage-Ali. Last month, the 22-year-old was arrested, questioned and released by the NSW Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad detectives investigating an alleged cocaine supply ring.

The Australian reports that she has now relinquished her 2006 NSW Young Australian of the Year title, which she has held for a very short time.

Hage-Ali has a major public profile as a Muslim leader and as a member of the Federal Government’s Muslim Community Reference Group. She is employed by the NSW Attorney-General’s Department.

Hage-Ali has just started an official blog called “It’s My Country Too” at news.com.au. Muslim leader Waleed Aly wrote in The Australian (before this scandal broke): “Many Australian Muslims are negotiating their identities. Some – probably most – will adopt the Hage-Ali model.”

Premier Iemma preemptively said she could be stripped of her title if found to have been involved in “wrongdoing” and that her employment position at A-Gs (she has taken leave) was being “reviewed”. News.com.au says that her blog is being reviewed. Yesterday, the blog stated “Sorry, this blog is currently not available.” Today it has disappeared. She has been boned.

At first, Hage-Ali strongly denied any wrongdoing. Now she admits she had “some involvement” with the men who have been charged in relation to the drug raid. The Australian also says that “it is understood that she admitted to police that she had purchased a small amount of cocaine for personal use on a number of occasions”.

If these admissions have been made to police, the question should be asked of the Federal and NSW governments: how it is that a coke user can get so high so quickly (so to speak).

Have we been blinded by political correctness? Has it been more important to promote an attractive, young, female Muslim at all costs? Were proper police enquiries made of her background and, in particular, of her association with criminal elements in Sydney? Does she have Muslim gang associates?

Maybe a better blog title would be “It’s my cocaine too”.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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