Meet the New Mufti, same as the Old Mufti?

The Australian National Imams Council met today to discuss the issue of whether there should remain a position of mufti and, if so, whether the incumbent, Sheikh Taj, should continue to hold it.

The Age is reporting that the position will remain, Sheikh Taj al-Hilali will continue to fill it, but at some point the imams will meet to “decide on how to take this thing forward.”

Controversial cleric Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali will remain spiritual leader of Australia’s Muslims for now following a meeting of the nation’s Islamic clerics in Sydney.

About 60 imams decided after meetings that went on in the south-western Sydney suburb of Lakemba for most of the day to reinstate Sheik Alhilali as Australia’s mufti for the next three months.

The United States doesn’t have a mufti and the United Kingdom doesn’t have a mufti. Why do we?

UPDATE: A person with intimate knowledge of what took place at the conference has provided an update. Needless to say, it differs significantly from what the media is reporting.

In summary: a national fiqh council will be formed at some point in the future and will consist of a relatively small number of imams who are appropriately qualified in the field. At the meeting on Sunday, the national board of imams also elected an executive panel to oversee it. Despite two attempts, Sh Taj didn’t receive one vote to join this panel (even from the other sheikhs from NSW). He has been completely sidelined by the imams.

The new body will have Sh Abdul Mo’ez (Sydney) as the President, Muhammad Abdullah (Queensland) as the Secretary and Sheikh Abdul Azeem (Victoria) as Treasurer. The national fiqh council, once elected, will eventually replace the position of mufti. Until then, Sheikh Taj remains as mufti for a few months until he is transitioned out. We will update as more news comes to hand.

UPDATE 2: The Prime Minister is not impressed.

UPDATE 3: Not to be outdone by the PM, the Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd offers his own ill-informed comment.


#1 Umm Kulthum on 03.25.07 at 9:58 pm

No prizes for guessing what the media is going to be crazy about tomorrow then. More embarassment for Muslims.

#2 Khaled on 03.26.07 at 10:04 am

The executive panel is fantastic news. Each state has basically nominated imams from among them to be on the panel, which is going to meet twice a year and and decide on matters of national interest. They will also be tasked with electing the Fiqh Council, which is a superior replacement of the one man Mufti post.

All in all, the executive panel and the fiqh council are far more representative than the current state of affairs. I’m sure we’ll learn much more about them as everything falls into place.

#3 Amir on 03.26.07 at 10:22 am

I agree. It’s an excellent development and should be supported.

The one risk that with a fiqh council or executive body of imams will be that it will be drawn or will be pressured to comment on politics. For example. the media hounding council members to offer their opinions on the War on Iraq or David Hicks. I hope this doesn’t happen and it will be able to focus all its efforts on fiqh issues (which are apolitical).

#4 Umm Yasmin on 03.26.07 at 1:11 pm

SOOOO like the PM to be out of touch with what is actually happening in the Muslim community. Bring on the next federal election I say.

I think the national fiqh council is a great idea, and I do hope that Imam Abdallah plays a prominent role. Masha’Allah I was thoroughly impressed with his knowledge, humbleness, and ability to answer the tough questions at the Australia Deliberates forum.

#5 Jiang Hu on 03.26.07 at 4:24 pm

Well if anyone ever wanted proof that the so called Muslim Leaders in this country are not interested in intergrating into society then this is it.
As stated in their own words (The majority don’t want him there, but we basically kept him on to save him face without causing problems in the community)which just proves they still do not have the guts to stand up to the extremist side of this religion
Why should they give Sheikh El Hilaly 3 months to save face ? (save face???) He obviously wasn’t worried about saving face when he made his blasphemous comments. It is very obvious that his entourage and the Imams are corrupted gutless creatures, There should be a halt to muslim migration.
God Save us All,
Jiang Hu

#6 Raed Zakzouk on 03.26.07 at 4:28 pm

Just because the US and UK don’t have a Mufti, that’s not an argument for Australia not having one.

I think these are good developments when many Sheikhs get together.


#7 Raed Zakzouk on 03.26.07 at 4:36 pm

Jiang Hu,

I wonder where your ancestors migrated from? Possibly China?

Have you read about the way the Chinese were treated when they originally came to Australia?

Please don’t attack Muslims because Asians can go under the pump in the Australian media just as easily as Muslims can.


#8 Statler on 03.26.07 at 6:45 pm


Blasphemy is speaking sacrilegiously about God. What Sheikh Hilali did was stupid but not blasphemous.

I know how important saving face is to chinese people, so I cannot imagine that you put your real name to such an imbecilic remark.

Or perhaps it was the limit of your English or education?

“It is very obvious that his entourage and the Imams are corrupted gutless creatures, There should be a halt to muslim migration.”

In what way are they corrupted?

The last point that you make is very ironic considering that a decade ago Howard made similar comments about people like you.

But here you are, with your cute little phraseology and your manufactured moral outrage.

#9 Sss on 03.26.07 at 6:59 pm

But here you are, with your cute little phraseology and your manufactured moral outrage.

Thus proving the effectiveness of integration as government policy.

#10 Statler on 03.26.07 at 8:27 pm

the manufactured outrage is defiantly part of integration into contemporary Australia, one cannot turn around without falling over some self-righteous buffoon who is outraged by anything that the parrot or the turd tell him to be outraged by.

#11 Shadower on 03.26.07 at 10:41 pm

I think the Fatwa Council is an excellent idea. A national board of Imams representing the Islamic community is what our community needs.

But I disagree with the idea of it electing a Mufti in 3 months, the fatwa council should be the peak body and no Mufti is needed.

On a side note I would like to know what the brothers that run Austrolabe think of a lobby group that serves the Islamic community (as they could be the body that comments on political matters), I highly doubt an Islamic centric political party can do much for the Muslims here, but I personally believe a lobby group for our community can do much more though.

The Islamic community needs to be able to vote as one voice, and have its interests represented, this is our right as Australians.

I am sorry if this is not relevant to the current article, but I believe it needs to be discussed in our community.

#12 » Blog Archive » Around the Blogosphere on 03.27.07 at 9:09 am

[...] The Mufti situation is getting a bit ’strange’ over yonder in Australia. So, why does Australia need a Mufti?? Austrolabe comments. [...]

#13 nuh ibn on 03.30.07 at 4:38 am

As salaam alaikum.

Just surfing through again.

You might remember me. Canadian Muslim writer, come by insha’Allah if you have some time to read or are looking for some dawah ideas.

Ma’as salaama,

nuh ibn

#14 Tariq on 03.30.07 at 10:45 pm

The above poster is a spammer. You should delete his message. He’s been spamming lots of Islamic blogs with the same stupid message.

#15 Amber on 04.05.07 at 1:24 pm

Our constitution absolutely guarantees freedom of religion.

That freedom includes, as had been tested in Court, the right to suppress any one religion that tries to destroy the faith and religious freedom of others.

This principle should be applied to the pagan death cult of Islam, and the Islamic followers of Australia should be assimilated, their mosques thinned and their children educated properly as to the values that are mandatory in our society. The alternative: extirpation.

#16 Amir on 04.06.07 at 5:46 pm

Amber: All very dramatic and no doubt you believe it all, but Islam isn’t trying to destroy the faith or religious freedom of others.

#17 Plum on 04.06.07 at 6:32 pm

Hey Amber,

I can imagine you sitting there typing away, the smell of burning wood in the form of a cross seeping in from outside. I hope white is your colour!

First, brainiac, the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Therefore, Muslims are free to believe in Islam. Unfortunately you’ve probably spent too much time reading Hello! magazine, and consequently have trouble understanding that believing in one thing does not necessitate an evil desire to quash alternative beliefs.

Second, what exactly does thinning mosques involve? ‘Cos I have a neighbour with severe cockroach issues and she’s looking for a solution. Maybe “thinning” her house will do the trick.

#18 Baybers on 04.06.07 at 10:28 pm

Look Amber (Pauline),

you sound like a interesting lady (crazy chic) and it would be great for you to tell us exactly what bothers you (just the opinions and not the voices) about our pagan death cult, other than the obvious concerns about its paganininty, its deathness and its cultishness.

There are some benefits to being involved in a crazy death cult. I have a darth vadar mask, a cape and a light saber (from target), my colleague Amir (darth sidius), we call him emperor. We have meetings and T shirts, we go out at night in Amir’s (darth sidious) camry and I brandish my light saber from the passenger side window. I even duelled Yoda at the traffic lights (OK it was a boy in a green shirt).

It would be great to have you (and your therapist) over for dinner, except of course that you would be on the menu.

#19 gess on 04.07.07 at 1:15 am

^ :lol:

#20 UmmFarouq on 04.08.07 at 10:12 pm

Love that sense of humor. Is cult membership still available? Is it open to Insane Aussies only, or can a Vaderesque American join up?

#21 Austrolabe » Blog Archive » Kevin Rudd calls for sacking of Australian ‘mufti’ on 04.09.07 at 1:32 am

[...] Yesterday, federal opposition leader Kevin Rudd was demanding that the government revoke Muslim convert and journalist Yvonne Ridley’s visa. Today, he is demanding that Muslim leaders sack Sheikh Taj ad-Din al-Hilaly now rather than wait three months. He isn’t even in government and already he’s trying to tell Muslims what to do. Meanwhile, federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd said today the muslim cleric must urgently be removed as Australia’s mufti. [...]

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