Say what you like about Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly, he certainly has a knack for headline generation.

On September 11: ”September 11 is God’s work against oppressors.”

On the Holocaust: “What’s that six million all about? Are there six million?”

On Israel: “A cancer that is planted in the heart of the Ummah (Muslim community).”

On non-believers: ”Those atheists, people of the book (Christians and Jews), where will they end up? In Surfers Paradise? On the Gold Coast? Where will they end up? In hell and not part-time, for eternity. They are the worst in God’s creation.”

On rape: ”If you take uncovered meat and put it on the street, on the pavement, in a garden, in a park, or in the backyard, without a cover and the cats eat it, then whose fault will it be, the cat’s, or the uncovered meat’s? The uncovered meat is the disaster. If the meat was covered the cats wouldn’t roam around it. If the meat is inside the fridge, they won’t get it.”

On women in general: “Satan sees women as half his soldiers.”

On Australia’s past: Anglo-Saxons came to Australia in chains, while we paid our way and came in freedom. We are more Australian than them. Australia is not an Anglo-Saxon country — Islam has deep roots in Australian soil that were there before the English arrived.”

Given the context, the comparatively anodyne offering that the Australian Muslim community should ”stand in the trenches with the Islamic Republic of Iran” should probably sink without trace.

The clamour though is for the Sheik’s removal, either from his post, or – somehow – from the country. Which presents its own dilemma: without the odd mad mullah in the quotable firmament, those factions in the Australian press eager to press the anti-Muslim case would be starved of outrage and copy.

The disturbing truth probably is that if Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly didn’t exist, there would be some who would find it necessary to invent him.