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Australia’s Grand Mufti confirms he is the only legitimate leader

Australian Grand Mufti, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammad (R), Sheik Taj Aldin Al-Hilaly (L) Source: AAP

After attempts to unseat Australia’s current Grand Mufti, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed told SBS Arabic24 that he is the only legitimate Mufti.

Australia's designated Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed denied allegations that an election for a new Grand Mufti had taken place during the past few hours, and asserted that he remains the nation’s highest ranking leader. 

His announcement comes after a video showing a group of men announcing the appointment of the "new" Mufti circulated on social media platforms.

The video shows Egyptian-born Islamic scholar Taj El-Din Hilaly, who was Australia's Grand Mufti from the 1980s until 2007, with a small group of men. During the gathering the men declared Hilaly as Australia's Grand Mufti.

In a call with SBS Arabic24 designated Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed characterised the video as an individual act and said “the people who released the video and who were in it are not part of the Islamic council”.

"ANIC [Australian National Imams Council] is the only official body responsible to elect the Grand Mufti of Australia, and it decides the elections as per the set regulations”.

A Facebook post by the Logan Mosque in Queensland said the sheikh's new role had been declared by "the Imams and the Presidents of Islamic Societies" and that "after a long discussion" the sheikh, now in his 80s, had accepted the position.

The post attracted some negative comments from people who told the mosque they should be “ashamed of yourselves for dividing the community when we are in dire need to be united”.

The Council of Imams Queensland and the Islamic Council of Queensland also issued statements saying Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed is the only legitimately appointed Grand Mufti.

"CIQ and ICQ would like to urge Muslim community members to refrain from divisive actions that may cause confusion and disharmony," ICQ vice president Ali Kadri said.

Dr Mohamed was appointed interim Grand Mufti in July after the death of the previous leader Sheikh Abdul Azeem al-Afifi. This is his second stint as Grand Mufti, as he held the role prior to Sheikh al-Afifi.

Mr Kadri told AAP the appointment of Sheikh Taj was an illegitimate, rogue move led by Jamal El Kholed at the Logan Mosque and had come out of long-held discontent with the appointments of both Dr Mohamed and the late Sheikh al-Afifi.

He said the attempt to install Sheikh Taj on Friday was an effort to undermine the office of the Grand Mufti.

It was also a move against a "new guard" of Australian Islamic leaders who are proficient English speakers and relate to the Australian way of life, he said.


Source AAP, SBS Arabic24