The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australian Mufti, Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly (spellings vary), is still defiant but made a half-baked hint that he might step down. But only if a meeting of Muslim clerics determines that he intended to cause offense. That's a pretty ridiculous standard and he knows it. The words pretty well speak for themselves.
The sheik said yesterday that if a meeting of leading Muslim clerics, due to take place in Sydney today or tomorrow, could prove that his sermon intended to degrade women, he would step down as mufti, or a spiritual leader, of Australia's 300,000 Muslims.
The sheik said it was too late for him to learn English and thought it was unnecessary because most of his constituents spoke Arabic.
He said that many sermons were delivered in foreign languages such as Arabic, Greek and Italian in churches across the country. But nobody criticised these ministers. "Why don't they [the Government] demand they speak English," he said.
He also told The Sun-Herald. "I will stand down and leave all work related to the Muslim community if they can prove what I said was meant to be offensive. I won't be saying anything to them [the clerics] but will listen to what they have to say."
The sheik said that he was confident he would have their support.
Meanwhile Australian officials are becoming even more vociferous in demanding the Mufti step down. If the Muslim community wants to avoid long term complications with Australians, it would be a good idea to make this happen sooner rather than later.