News Segment


May 14, 2004

MELBOURNE, Australia – Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has sparked outrage in Australia with comments seen as attacking Islam.

“This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it’s willing to just live in the sands of God’s armpit you’ve got another thing coming,” Simmons said during an interview on Melbourne’s 3AW radio Thursday. “They want to come and live right where you live and they think that you’re evil.”

The Western world was under threat from extremists and a culture that treated women worse than dogs, he claimed in a segment of the interview that touched on the war in Iraq.

“You can send your dog to school to learn tricks, sit, beg, do all that stuff — none of the women have that advantage,” the 54-year-old said.

Angry Muslims flooded the radio station with calls, furious over Simmons’ comments.

Susan Carland, Australian Muslim of the Year, rejected what she saw as Simmons’ stereotype of Muslim women. She has two university degrees, she said, and “I certainly do not walk behind my husband.”

“Mixing the entertainment world with the political and religious world is a minefield,” said Yasser Soliman, the chairman of Victoria state’s Islamic Council.

“I think it would be good for overseas speakers and commentators to be given some sort of advice in regards to our vilification laws here,” Soliman said. “They leave and go back to where they arrived from, but they leave behind a big mess that we have to live with.”

Chrissie Camp, who is in charge of publicity for Kiss’ Australian tour, said Simmons was unavailable for comment Friday.

The band was due to perform in Melbourne on Friday night and Saturday before shows in Sydney and Brisbane.

Courtesy of Associated Press