At first sight I found the reactions to be exaggerated and even hypocritical. After all, it seemed to me, he did not say anything an average lawyer defending an accused rapist in a court room would not. But lookin upon it a bit closer I realized that the cleric's words are far more sinister. Just take a look at this excrept:
“If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside… and the cats come and eat it… whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat?” he asked.
The uncovered meat is the problem, he went on to say.
“If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred,” he added.
Following this logic when someone gets robbed it's his or her own fault because he or she acquired possesion. And if we follow it to the end everybody will soon end up between their four walls wearing a burkha and sleeping on the floor.
But there is more to it. The cleric, acting as a religious authority, has basically torn down the barriers between right and wrong for his coreligionists making sexual assult morally justified. This is not to say that every muslim male will go on a rape spree, but there is no doubt that the sexual assaults by muslim men on non-muslim women largely derive from these and simmilar statements from some top islamic clerics. That is why the reaction of the Australian public is not over the top and under the cricumstances it is the only acceptable one.