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The outspoken al-Hilali is the 64-year-old Mufti of Australia's 300,000 Muslims, who make up about 1.5% of the nation's 20 million population.
More Australian troops are soon to be deployed in Iraq
He made headlines in 2003 when he was charged with assaulting and hindering police and resisting arrest after his car was pulled over. The charges were later dropped.
Egyptian-born al-Hilali was under the spotlight again in 2004 when he described the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States as "God's work against the oppressors". He later said his statement had been misinterpreted.
Originally posted by Dr Love
Originally posted by Lady of the Lake
Perhaps, just perhaps Mr Wood (like so many others) who have been taken and executed in the most vile manner, thought they were just doing some good. For their efforts they lose their lives - but it is their fault...
I don't mean this in a rude way, but you're very naive. There's a lot of money to be made over in Iraq, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. People get paid so much money to go over there because it is so dangerous. I'm sick and tired of these people saying things like "oh, they were just trying to do good for the people of Iraq" and "oh, they were just trying to help rebuild Iraq". Let me let you in on a little secret, that is/was the furthest thing from their minds. You only start hearing that from them when they're on TV blubbering with a gun pointed at their head. They were/are there for the benjamins plain and simple.
It's like going to Vegas, but at this Vegas you gamble with your life.
THE Mufti of Australia, on a mercy mission to save the life of hostage Douglas Wood, is optimistic after discussions with a group of influential religious leaders in Baghdad.
"I am optimistic. I have met members of the Ulema Committee and they will publish a statement calling for Douglas Wood's release," Sheikh Taj Aldin AlHilali said.
The Ulema, or Committee of Muslim Scholars, is an influential grouping of Sunni clerics that represents some 3,000 mosques across Iraq and has often mediated the release of foreign hostages.
Australia's Islamic spiritual leader, Taj Din al-Hilali, said late yesterday he was locked in talks with Iraqi clerics and tribal leaders with links to Douglas Wood's kidnappers.
Sheik Hilali entered the meeting after claiming he had won an extension to the deadline, by which the captors said they would execute Mr Wood, to midnight last night Baghdad time (6am AEDT).
In an impassioned plea to the kidnappers in Iraq last night, Sheik Hilali argued that the release of Mr Wood could mean the continued safety of Muslims in Australia, along with their way of life.
Imploring the kidnappers to release Mr Wood in the name of God, Sheik Hilali said he would "knock on every door" in attempts to meet them and argue Mr Wood's case.
An influential tribal sheikh from Iraq's Sunni triangle says the Federal Government must moderate its language, if it is to appeal to the kidnappers of Australian Douglas Wood.
A leading Sunni cleric from the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, Sheikh Zaidan al-Owad fled Iraq when the US military tried to arrest him.
In an interview with the ABC, Sheikh Owad says he is certain the men holding Mr Wood are Iraqi and can be convinced to release their captive if the right language is used.
"The statements by the Prime Minister and the Australian Government are not helping, statements like 'we will not be dictated to by terrorists'," he said.
Originally posted by Doorak
Now this man knowingly entered a country heavily under seige. Now i don't say that he deserves to die, but seriously would u expect anything less? Now the man goes over there because he gets to earn a packet, the reason he earns so much are obvious enough, a good chance ur gonna be killed, whether by a stray missile, or some wacked terrorist decides that your gonna be his next target. Now if a country was to pull its troops simply because one of their civilians was captured and sentenced to death, then what about the countless number of people who have already laid down their lives for this campaign? what makes him so special that we waste all these honourable and patriotic people's lives simply so he can go on living?
No wonder the world is it the state it is with attitudes like yours and so many others to be fair to you. As for your last line -
“At the end of the day. He was in a country were murders are a daily occurrence. Who cares how he dies. Only that he does.”
Who cares how he dies? Many people who have never met Mr Wood do care and thank God they do. I am sure his wife, daughter, grandchild, brothers and sisters care.
ONLY THAT HE DOES – I would hope that you didn’t mean this to come out the way it has.
As for the comment that he has gone over to Iraq to earn a packet, I am sorry, you have no idea why Mr Wood has decided to do what he did. Only he knows why he is there.
I do agree with you, that regardless of what we feel about the war in Iraq, pulling troops out because someone is kidnapped and held to ransom isn’t an option. But, surely life is sacred – all life and we should pray that when the time comes to depart this life, that we do so in peace not facing the prospect of having our heads sawn off!!!!!!!
No reason. The man doesn't deserve to die. But it is war. And there are casualties. I just love the media footage, were he pleads for his life, with an AK pointed at his head. It just amazes me how people can be so simpathetic towards the man when he obviously went over to make a quick bob, got caught up in the mess and nows theres people demanding we yank our troops. Now im not a fan of this war in iraq. But even worse would be to adhere to these 'people' simply because of they hold one of our own hostages.
At the end of the day. He was in a country were murders are a daily occurance. Who cares how he dies. Only that he does.
Prime Minister John Howard has told Parliament that Australian hostage Douglas Wood has been freed in a military operation in Iraq.
Full details to follow.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Howard said Wood was well, he was with the Australian emergency response team in Baghdad and receiving medical treatment.
"He was recovered a short time ago in Baghdad in a military operation that I'm told was conducted by Iraqi forces, in co-operation with ... American forces."
Mr Howard said the focus now was to reunite Mr Wood with his family.
Originally posted by aussieman
Good to hear that he has? been released. I was just wondering whether or not the family donated a rather large sum to obtain his freedom?. One of his brothers used to be a director of a large finance and investment company in Melbourne, Australia. Can anyone add some views on this opinion.?
Australian hostage Douglas Wood has thanked Iraqi troops for helping to free him from insurgents holding him in one of Baghdad's most dangerous neighbourhoods.
Wood, 64, in a message read by Australia's counter-terrorism chief Nick Warner, said he was extremely happy and relieved to be free again.
He was freed by the Iraqi army's 2nd battalion, 1st Armoured Brigade, with some assistance from US forces in Ghazaliya - one of Baghdad's most dangerous Sunni Arab neighbourhoods.
The suburb is located near Baghdad's airport and the road which connects it to the central part of the city - considered to be the most dangerous stretch of concrete in the capital.