Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, March 08, 2004

Can't get those couplets to rhyme? Suffered a poetry bypass?

The Mufti of Australia understands how you feel:

He was quoted as saying that "the true man is the boy who opposes Israeli tanks with strength and faith".

The Imam says he was merely reading a poem, but nevertheless, he supports suicide bombings in the right circumstances.

And you can't say fairer than that.

In return, Uncle dedicates the following peace poem to the Mufti:

"For her birthday my daughter wanted a comb.
No can do, I said, but have this bomb.
If you ask any Jews they won't show-up,
So go visit them instead and give them a blow-up
They'll remember. Like the eleventh of September
When good young jihadis chose to dismember
A few thousand infidels to purify their hearts
And just incidentally reduce them to body parts."

The Federation of Australian Islamic Societies, which appointed this poet, hasn't yet decided that, transcript or no transcript, it's just a matter of misunderstood figures of speech.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils says the headlines surrounding Sheikh el-Hilaly's trip have been damaging for the broader Muslim community and it wants to meet the Sheikh immediately.

But they soon will exonerate him. And, once again, they'll shoot the messenger who reported the Mufti's versifying, the anti-Islamic Australian media.

Later: Reader Jeremy has kindly put my pathetic poem through his English-Arabic-English Re-translator, and this is how it comes out:

sweet winds blow gently
as we run
barefoot through the woods

A great improvement. Where can I buy one of those machines?