Controversial cleric takes leave

From Times Wire Reports

Australia’s most prominent Islamic cleric took a leave and conceded that his comparison of women without head scarves to “uncovered meat” was not appropriate in Western society.

Sheik Taj Aldin Hilali was admitted to a Sydney hospital after he fainted at a meeting with mosque administrators.

Pressure on him had increased when a newspaper reported this week that he had used a radio interview to endorse militants in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories.

Prime Minister John Howard said the cleric might have broken laws against incitement of violence against Australian soldiers deployed overseas.