Sheik to run for Iemma’s seat, says report
January 20, 2007
Article from: AAP
CONTROVERIAL Muslim leader Sheik Taj el-Din al-Hilaly is considering running in the March 24 state election for Premier Morris Iemma’s seat of Lakemba.
The sheik will also endorse two Muslim candidates for the Labor-held seats of Bankstown and Auburn, newspaper reports said.
While the mufti has not yet named the candidates or confirmed his own intentions, his frequent spokesman and defender Keysar Trad confirmed he was considering taking on Mr Iemma.
“If the community intimates its desire to run him, we would accept him to accede to the community’s wishes,” Mr Trad reportedly said.
“It is time that politics in NSW received a good shake-up and Iemma’s dilemma will be the dearth of Lakemba voters who are dissatisfied with the shortage of facilities and services and will vote accordingly.”
Sheik al-Hilaly told SBS Arabic Radio from Egypt: “I am consulting with some of my brothers and, on my return, we will agree to nominate a sincere, honest Australian personality whose loyalty is totally to Australia and who is able to make contributions to the Lakemba electorate and NSW in general.”
Mr Iemma said he was looking forward to a showdown with the sheikh.
“I am confident the majority of my electorate, including the majority of Muslim constituents, would back my views any day,” he said.
Lakemba is 13 per cent Muslim. Mr Iemma won 64.21 per cent of the vote in the last election.