The initial demand made by the terrorists who kidnapped Douglas Wood was that Australia withdraw troops from Iraq. But that was before steely-eyed master negotiator Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilaly intervened:

The Australian cleric working to free Australian hostage Douglas Wood in Iraq has called for coalition forces to leave the country.

[A] spokesman says the Sheikh has demanded an end to what he calls the occupation in Iraq and for the release of all female Iraqi prisoners.

The spokesman quotes Sheikh Al Hilaly as saying the withdrawal of troops is necessary for Mr Wood’s release.

Thanks to Sheikh Al Hilaly’s mad negotiating skillz, conditions for Wood’s release have blown out from an original 1,400 Australians to the entire 177,000-strong coalition force—plus release of all female prisoners. Well done, Sheikh! You are helping!

UPDATE. Sheikh Al Hilaly today:

A leading Muslim cleric said today he hoped to receive news within “hours” of the imminent release of Australian hostage Douglas Wood.

And Sheikh Al Hilaly on May 18:

Sheikh Alhilali told SBS Arabic radio earlier today that he spoke to the kidnappers who had said Mr Wood could be freed in 24 hours.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/03/2005 at 02:45 AM
  1. Just wondering.  Is anti-semitism rampant in Australia the way it is in Canada?

    Posted by Faramir on 2005 06 03 at 03:58 AM • permalink

  2. Nah!  We just hate Canadians!

    Posted by Kaboom on 2005 06 03 at 04:05 AM • permalink

  3. Worse in some parts than others, Faramir.

    As for Al Hilaly, what’s the bet that his total failure to deliver will be comprehensively overlooked by the MSM?

    Posted by Mike Jericho on 2005 06 03 at 04:17 AM • permalink

  4. Can someone remind me: did anyone ask Al Hilaly to intervene?

    Posted by rexie on 2005 06 03 at 04:24 AM • permalink

  5. I just think it’s funny the MSM didn’t see this a mile away when he went over there claiming to support the jihad of these peckerheads.

    If nothing else, his reputation in Australia will probably be tainted by his involvement in this whole thing.

    The ‘moderate’ shroud over his support for islamic extremism becomes more transparent by the day.

    Posted by ausdiplomad on 2005 06 03 at 04:27 AM • permalink

  6. But perhaps Sheik Al Hilaly will pull off a coup and bargain them down to the destruction of western civilisation, handing over Bush, Blair and Howard for trial and the genital mutilation of all women.

    Then who will be laughing!

    Posted by Harry Buttle on 2005 06 03 at 04:47 AM • permalink

  7. My Lebanese Christian friends have some deep suspicions about Hillbilly’s visit from day one. There is much thought that he is in cahoots with the terrorists who have kidnapped Wood.

    The greasy assurances of Keysar Trad not withstanding, something smells about the timing of his trip and of the nature of his intervention - and about the timing of the headlines and various MSM friendly publicity stunts he has pulled.

    He is ABSOLUTELY no friend of Australia or of our society, witness the sheer arrogance of his behaviour at the inter-faith dialog a few years bad. His sermons in Lebanon actively called for our destruction - he knows his role in the Dar el Harb is to seek our destruction.


    Posted by MarkL on 2005 06 03 at 04:50 AM • permalink

  8. Was it ever established which side exactly he’s trying to negotiate for?

    Posted by PW on 2005 06 03 at 05:13 AM • permalink

  9. 1. I am so glad that Hilaly went there as I just wouldn’t know how to make contact with terrorists.

    2. This is the opportunity for the goverment to keep him out once and for all. It is classic mafia behaviour: one party threatens violence whilst the other articulates the terms supposedly at a distance

    Posted by captain on 2005 06 03 at 05:43 AM • permalink

  10. Nothing I would love better than to see al-Hilaly totally humiliated and his ‘reputation’ (such as it is) stained.

    Interesting comment, MarkL: everyone I discussed it with had the same view - that Hilay’s offer to mediate was smellier than week old fish, and that he was somehow complicit in the situation.

    Its good to know that most Australians arent fooled by his doubletalk. In Sydney we know him all too well, its the rest of Australia we worry about -

    Posted by dee on 2005 06 03 at 06:28 AM • permalink

  11. Has the Sheik figured out how to renew a car registration yet? Best start small and work one’s way up to hostage negotiation, methinks.

    Posted by der FRED on 2005 06 03 at 06:32 AM • permalink

  12. Out-There-Hilaly
    May have been looking for some kudos for the local muslims. Looks like more of the same old ....

    Posted by blogstrop on 2005 06 03 at 06:34 AM • permalink

  13. Well I’ll be jiggered - check out the name of the lawyer:

    “Sheik Taj el-Din Al Hilaly Facing Summons PRINT FRIENDLY EMAIL STORY
    AM Archive - Tuesday, 7 January , 2003 10:59:09
    Reporter: Jo Mazzocchi
    LINDA MOTTRAM: Already unsettled in a climate of fear about terrorism and Islam, Australia’s Muslim community is digesting the news this morning that its self-declared spiritual leader is facing a summons for various offences, including assaulting police, resisting arrest and several traffic issues.

    Sheik Taj el-Din Al Hilaly was stopped by NSW Police overnight in Sydney’s western suburbs, and arrested, though not charged.

    Instead, the police issued the man known as the Mufti with a summons that could take up to a week to process.

    Islamic community representatives say that while the Mufti is not above the law, the incident has the potential to balloon from an alleged traffic incident into a major disaster.

    Jo Mazzocchi reports.

    JO MAZZOCCHI: The NSW Police issued a fairly nondescript press release saying two men would be summonsed after an incident in Sydney’s western suburbs. As is standard police procedure, those involved were not named. But the spiritual leader of Australia’s Muslim community otherwise known as the Mufti, identified himself as the man police had arrested over the incident and afterwards this is what he told a media gathering.

    SHEIK TAJ EL-DIN AL HILALY: The police officer he tried to do his job but not through Australian way. I think he tried the Chicago way. Not Australian way. That’s all.

    JO MAZZOCCHI: According to the police press release, a 62-year-old man, now known to be the Mufti, was stopped by a highway patrol officer because a piece of metal was allegedly protruding from the side of his car. After further inquiries, police claim his car was both unregistered and uninsured, and they say he was arrested, along with another man who emerged from a nearby apartment block, because they started to argue and struggle with the police.

    But the Mufti’s lawyer, Stephen Hopper, says he has concerns over how his client was treated. The Mufti had to be hospitalised after the incident for an ongoing heart condition, but was later released. 

    Posted by der FRED on 2005 06 03 at 06:37 AM • permalink

  14. It’d be sweet to see Shakey Hilary denied re-entry to Aust because of his links to Iraqi terrorists. The poor bastard would have to ask Hamas Helen Clarke for asylum in New Zealand where it’s colder and pays less in unemployment/sickness benefits.

    Posted by Lucky Nutsacks on 2005 06 03 at 06:39 AM • permalink

  15. Seriously though, I think that Mr Wood has been dead for some weeks now. All this carry on by Shake Dum Hilarious in Iraq is just revolting.

    Posted by Lucky Nutsacks on 2005 06 03 at 06:49 AM • permalink

  16. Deo, unfortunately the Mufti will not be denied re-entry, unless he uses one of Vivian Salon’s fake passports.

    The breathlessly read news reports of the Mufti’s endeavours have (for the past couple of weeks) read:  “The spiritual leader returned to Iraq to negotiate…”  “He has had to leave Iraq for his own safety….”  “He has now returned to Iraq to contact the insurgents…”

    Where has the Mufti been?

    We must all pray for the release of Douglas Wood.

    Allah Fubar!

    Posted by Kaboom on 2005 06 03 at 07:04 AM • permalink

  17. MarkL it is indeed very strange when the Shake (supposedly) postpones urgent heart surgery waltzes over and chats directly to the collective of grand muftis who are apparently in direct communication with these head chopping bandits.

    Doesnt say much for peaceful Islam.

    Is he Australias Galloway?

    Posted by rog2 on 2005 06 03 at 08:34 AM • permalink

  18. This is what happens when you send a moslem to do a Jew’s job!

    Posted by Mr. Blue on 2005 06 03 at 08:39 AM • permalink

  19. rog2

    The bugger is worse, much worse than Galloway. The threat he represents is direct, at least in the view of the Maronites and Melkites I know.

    He is perfectly serious about his role in this part of the ‘House of War’. We have ‘opened the gates to the barbarians’, and we will pay a price for this.

    Conversely, neither my Lebanese Christian friends nor Jewish friends see the same level of threat from Indonesian and Malaysian muslims here. They are more pansyncretic than monolithic in their views. The Wahabist ultra-violence meme which has poisoned the muslim arabs has not spread too far in Malaysia or Indonesia - yet.

    And yet, Amrozi was screaming ‘Remember Khaibar!’ after his court verdict. The MSM (stupid as usual) did not understand the reference.

    Khaibar was a fertile oasis inhabited by a Jewish community. The muslims attacked it by treachery, murdered most of the Jews there, those that surrendered lost their land, had to pay 50% of their crops to their overlords (jizayah) and accept dhimmi status.

    Liberate the conquered Christian lands of Syria, Byzantium and Nabatea, I reckon!


    Posted by MarkL on 2005 06 03 at 08:48 AM • permalink

  20. Can someone remind me: did anyone ask Al Hilaly to intervene?

    Sure.  Jesse Jackson.

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 06 03 at 08:51 AM • permalink

  21. Uggg, after a couple weeks of a possible release (24hrs), it has gone around full circle.

    Poor Woods. He could still be alive. They usually just dump the body somewhere, when things don’t work out. Maybe it is the pocess of working out the ransom with the family?

    The Sheikh is a dodgy character, and doesn’t seem the type to be concerned for some westerner.

    Posted by Madison on 2005 06 03 at 09:03 AM • permalink

  22. “SHEIK TAJ EL-DIN AL HILALY: The police officer he tried to do his job but not through Australian way. I think he tried the Chicago way. Not Australian way. That’s all.”

    “You wanna know how you do it? Here’s how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get Capone! Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that?”
    — Untouchables (1987)

    Posted by Blue on 2005 06 03 at 09:28 AM • permalink

  23. betcha squids Hilaly will “negotiate” a ransom & trouser half of it

    Posted by KK on 2005 06 03 at 10:21 AM • permalink

  24. That’s not nice.  I like you Australians.  :) Though I wouldn’t blame you.

    Posted by Faramir on 2005 06 03 at 10:24 AM • permalink

  25. Mike, why is this guy still free in Australia?  Shouldn’t Australian agents be torturin Hilaly to get some better cooperation?

    Posted by Faramir on 2005 06 03 at 10:26 AM • permalink

  26. Please have Hilaly sent to the US to “work on behalf” of my boss next time I ask for a raise.  I might just walk away with full control of the firm…

    Posted by Major John on 2005 06 03 at 11:02 AM • permalink

  27. Four things which have to be removed to qualify to be a mufti:

    All facial smile muscles
    Your wife’s and daughters’ clitorii

    Posted by Ellebeau on 2005 06 03 at 09:42 PM • permalink

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