New South Wales state police on Monday offered no explanation as to why they dropped the charges against Sheikh Taj Al-Din Al-Hilali at a hearing in a Sydney court.
Al-Hilali, 62, is the imam of Australia’s largest mosque. He was charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest after his car was pulled over in the west Sydney suburb of Wiley Park in January.
At the time he accused police of using what he described as “Rambo” tactics and said the Australian government was trying to score political points by appearing to crackdown on “terrorism”.
Police confirmed charges had been dropped but said there was no question of whether the officer involved had been overzealous.
“The police officer…has the full support of the NSW police,” said a police spokesperson.
The incident, which resulted in Al-Hilali going to hospital with chest pains, heightened tensions within Australia’s 450,000-strong Muslim community at a time when its leaders were saying that they were being singled out after the 12 October Bali bombings that killed 202 people, 88 of them Australian.