“In the presence of the president of the Logan Mosque, in the presence of Imam Sheikh Abdul Quoodos and in the presence of the Chairman of the Australian International Islamic College of Durack, and all the doctors we do hereby declare that as from now Sheikh Taj El-din Hilali is the Grand Mufti of Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific”
Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly could be back as Australia’s highest-ranking Muslim.
The controversial cleric was anointed Grand Mufti by Queensland’s long serving Imam Abdul Taub Raza at Logan Mosque in Brisbane yesterday in front of fellow Imams and a large crowd of community leaders and worshippers.
Problem is – there is already an acting Grand Mufti – and not all Imams have been made aware of the move.
The move comes amid bitter feuding among warring Islamic factions following the death of former Mufti Abdul Azeem al-Afifi from cancer in July.
Sources within the Muslim community told The Sunday Telegraph Dr al-Afifi was only appointed as Grand Mufti to allow former Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed to be reinstated as Acting Grand Mufti following Dr al-Afifi’s death.
Dr Abu Mohamed had been forced to serve a 12-month wait before renominating for the position under rules set by the Australian National Imams Council.
Hilaly last held the post 11 years ago before stepping down after a string of controversies.
Since then he has been splitting his time between Egypt and Australia, having returned to Sydney just several weeks ago.
His appointment came just a day after he reposted on social media a call he made in 2016 for the position of Grand Mufti in Australia to be terminated.
“The position was established through AFIC to defend Islam and Muslims and this title has now become a stepping stone for every fallen person,” he wrote in Arabic.
“I call upon the powers of AFIC to issue a resolution to cancel this position in Australia.”
“They were begging him,” a source said.
“They said he is the only person who can clean up this position.”
When contacted by The Sunday Telegraph today Imam Abdul Quddoos said Hilay’s appointment will be finalised following a meeting of Imams in Sydney next week.
“We are not ready to announce it in the media yet,” he said.
Asked why Hilaly was being reinstated as Grand Mufti, Imam Quddoos said “Because he is the most capable person in Australia (for this post)”.
Hilaly’s former spokesman Keysar Trad today told The Sunday Telegraph the move to reappoint Hilaly “has been on the cards for several months”.
“Discontent has grown over what many in the community see as an exclusive club with musical chairs, known as the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) and the position of Grand Mufti,” Mr Trad said.
“I am not personally involved as I am trying to recover from physical injuries, however, I have been contacted by individuals involved in this matter and I regularly am called on for advice by community members and community leaders due to the growing discontent over the processes at ANIC.”
ANIC, CIQ and ICQ have responded to this turn of events with the following statements: