MEDIAEVAL IGNORANCE FROM A MUSLIM PREACHER IN AUSTRALIA
At Bankstown Town Hall last month, just three kilometres from the scene of one of the most horrific of the gang rapes of 2000, a young and popular Lebanese Muslim sheik told a packed audience that rape victims have "no one to blame but themselves". These are the words of Sheik Faiz Mohamad, 34, to more than 1000 people squeezed into the hall on March 18, as recorded digitally by a concerned citizen. "A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one to blame but herself. She displayed her beauty to the entire world. She degraded herself by being an object of sexual desire and thus becoming vulnerable to man who looks at her for gratification of his sexual urge."
There was much more about women's responsibilities and the sins of the "kaffir" (infidel) that night from the charismatic former boxer and Liverpool Global Islamic Youth Centre teacher. But there was nothing about the responsibility of men to exercise self-restraint, even though most of the audience was male..... "Strapless, backless, sleeveless, nothing but satanic skirts, slit skirts, translucent blouses, miniskirts, tight jeans," he shouted into the microphone. "All this to tease man and appeal to his carnal nature."
Faiz's view that unveiled women invite rape does Muslims a disservice by promoting an image which is repugnant to the majority of his fellow citizens. After all, when a judge feels so strongly that he would stand in front of a group of strangers, as one did in recent weeks, and make the comment that Lebanese Muslim men are a "cancer", you know the community has an image problem which Faiz isn't helping.
Faiz may not care but his words are a slap in the face to the brave young woman, known to the courts as Miss C, who was raped 25 times by 14 men over six hours outside the Bankstown Trotting Club and elsewhere in 2000. At worst, his words sanction the kind of contempt for non-Muslim women that led those gang rapists to regard 18-year-old Miss C, dressed in her best suit for a job interview, sitting on a train reading The Great Gatsby, as an "Aussie pig" and slut.