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Sheik's speech sparks prayer meeting boycott
AN interfaith prayer meeting was boycotted by religious leaders today due to a last-minute decision by controversial mufti Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali to make a speech.
The meeting, organised by Bhavan Australia and held in Sydney's Hyde Park, was intended to bring different faiths together in a commemoration of the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Interfaith Committee Chairman of the Jewish Board of Deputies, Josie Lacey, and the president of the Hindu organisation Ramakrishna Sarda Vendanta, Rev. Pravrajika Ajayaprana Mataji, both pulled out of the event making it an interfaith prayer meeting only in name.
It was Sheik Hilali's first speech since his controversial interview on the Egyptian news program Cairo Today. He kept a low profile, talking for five minutes in praise of Gandhi. Not to be without controversy, the sheik explained after his speech that the boycott by the Jewish Board of Deputies was an "indication that the Jews are not interested in reconciliation."
Representing the Jewish Board of Deputies, CEO Vic Alhadeff said the board "categorically reject any insinuation that we are not interested in reconciliation". He said the decision to boycott was that "there can be only one motivation for Holocaust denial, and that is antisemitism. We do not engage with those who practise it."
Photo from The Australian home page.
Iranian Shi'ites perform a flagellation ritual at a Tehran mosque on the last day of Ashura.