One minute, he is virtually the Islamic devil-incarnate. The next, he is the nice democrat fighting against the forces of theocratic evil. So why has The Oz changed its tune on Sheik Hilaly?

Readers will recall the virulent campaign waged by The Oz against Hilaly, a campaign which was so nasty that it virtually entrenched his position. One edition of the newspaper devoted an entire 7 broadsheet pages to Sheik Hilaly’s infamous catmeat sermon. The paper also lashed into Hilaly’s translator and adviser Keysar Trad.

But yesterday, The Oz ran a nice favourable piece about Sheik Hilaly taking on some weird group called “Muslims for Peace” who are allegedly telling Muslim Aussies not to vote. I couldn’t help but notice the author of the story was one “Sanna Trad”. Now I know that “Sanna” is quite a common name in the Middle East. But how many Sanna Trads are there in Australia? According to the moderator of the Muslim Village forums, the author of The Oz story is indeed related to Sheik Hilaly’s spokesperson.

That in itself shouldn’t bar her from reporting on the issue. After all, she may not share her dad’s ability to defend even the most indefensible comments of the man they used to call Mufti. But if this on-air discussion on Channel 9 Sunday program is any indication, Ms Trad certainly cannot see any problem with the Sheik’s infamous attempts to use his pulpit to invent new advertising jingles for the catmeat industry.

The moderator of Muslim Village forums seems to be less favourably inclined to the ALP’s allegedly Zionist candidate for Eden-Monaro. He has reproduced in full a press release sent out by one “Australian Committee For Truth In The Middle East”. Certainly Kelly does have a strong record of support for Israel. But why mention the fact that his son had a bar mitzvah at the ACT Jewish Community Centre?

And you’d think that Muslims would have more sense than to promote Fred Nile-style sectarian politics.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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