Unfortunately, this is heartening news, that is if it becomes a trend. The radical Muslim clerics who preach hate need to begin suffering the consequences of their actions.
Australian News has an article titled "Masked gang attacks controversial cleric".
Melbourne Islamic cleric Nacer Benbrika has been kidnapped and bashed, fuelling fears of a co-ordinated hate campaign against the nation's radical Muslims. ...Mr Benbrika - who has described Osama bin Laden as a great man - was kidnapped and bashed last week by two carloads of men wearing balaclavas.
... The assault, which ended in Mr Benbrika being treated in hospital, came less than 48 hours after former terror suspect Mamdouh Habib claimed he was stabbed in a Sydney park, also by hooded assailants.
It also comes amid a community backlash against radical Muslim clerics in Australia in the wake of the London bombings.
Benbrika, who is also known as Abu Bakr, has raised the ire of Prime Minister John Howard by openly supporting jihad overseas and claiming that local Muslims must adhere to two sets of laws - Islamic law and Australian law.
His claims have angered non-Muslims and moderate Muslims, and the Islamic community in Melbourne is abuzz with speculation about who carried out the attack.
Mr Benbrika, 45, was driving in Melbourne's northern suburbs last Tuesday night when two carloads of men forced him to pull over. The men then dragged Mr Benbrika into a car and drove him to a remote spot where he was bashed, before being dumped back in his home suburb of Broadmeadows.
The cleric then visited a local hospital to get treatment for his injuries, which are not believed to be serious. He did not report the attack to police.
Victoria's most senior Islamic cleric, Sheik Fehmi Naji el-Imam, said yesterday that he had no idea who might have carried out the attack. "I heard that somebody had attacked him, and they were wearing balaclavas, but we have no idea who it might have been."
Mr Benbrika could not be contacted for comment.
Mr Benbrika's home has been raided by ASIO twice this year in connection with a suspected terror plot to blow up Melbourne landmarks, including Flinders Street train station.
The assault on Mr Benbrika came after Mr Habib claimed he was stabbed while walking in a Sydney park with his wife.
Mr Habib, who was only slightly injured, believes the men attacked him because of press reports that he had been claiming payments from Centrelink since he was released from US detention in January.
The attacks on Mr Benbrika and Mr Habib appear designed to send a warning rather than cause serious injury.