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Political leaders have condemned comments from a Sydney Muslim leader that rape victims had no-one to blame but themselves.
Lebanese Sheik Faiz Mohamad, 34, has been quoted by a newspaper as telling a lecture at the Bankstown Town Hall, in south-western Sydney, that women who wore skimpy clothing teased men.
“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 …,” Sheik Mohamed was quoted as saying in the lecture.
“Strapless, backless, sleeveless, nothing but satanic skirts, slit skirts, translucent blouses, mini skirts, tight jeans: all this to tease man and appeal to his carnal nature.”
NSW Premier Bob Carr said the sheik could face criminal charges if he made comments which incited rapes.
“If anything the sheik says in future appears to be an incitement to the crime of rape … I just want to assure him that the full force of the criminal law will be brought to bear,” he told reporters.
Mr Carr said most Muslim Australians did not share the sheik’s views.
“I know he’s appalled Muslim Australians, appalled Muslim Australians who know the sort of anger that will be directed at their community because of these extremist views that are not held by the vast majority of Muslims in this country.”
Federal Treasurer Peter Costello also criticised the sheik’s comments.
“If such comments are made I consider them totally inappropriate, untrue and unhelpful,” Mr Costello told reporters.
“Australian women are free to dress in the western style and nothing gives an excuse for them to be molested in any way.
“This is Australia. Women are free to dress as they choose and they deserve to be safe on our streets and in our parks and they are entitled to respect.”
NSW Opposition Leader John Brogden described Sheik Mohamad’s comments as prehistoric.
“This guy ought to go back to the cave where he belongs,” Mr Brogden told reporters.
Efforts to contact Sheik Mohamad were unsuccessful.
(Posted on April 28, 2005)