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Liberties aid the enemy within

Liberties aid the enemy within

Author: Paul Murray
Publication: The West Australian
Date: February 3, 2007
URL: http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=54&ContentID=20445

The spotlight this week on the imperialist Muslim group Hizb-ut-Tahrir has shown Australians the very personification of the enemy within.

Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock - tough on boat people fleeing the barbarism of the Middle East - is strangely out of touch with community views on this dangerously expansionist organisation. There can be no doubt that inherently deceptive outfits such as HT throw up huge challenges to tolerant Western democracies like Australia.

It seems we require such groups to move from threats to dangerous actions before we are prepared to take them on. Instead, we offer them the legal and social protections of our liberal democracies they so despise.

Last weekend's provocative HT conference in Sydney should be a rallying call for thinking Australians because it gave a clear illustration of what lies ahead.

A long debate about HT's objectives and whether it should be banned was had in Britain 10 years ago. The moderate view won and HT was allowed to continue spreading its message.

In the meantime, thousands of young British Muslims were radicalised, turned against the country of their birth and directed towards the Islamofascist war on the West.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair then called for HT to be banned after the London bombings in 2005. HT is prohibited in most Arab countries, Pakistan, Germany (for anti-Semitism), the Netherlands, Russia and the Muslim states of Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Despite personal pleadings by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for Britain to ban HT, Mr Blair dropped his plans in December after advice that driving it underground could be counter-productive.

I suppose it would be easier if all HT adherents wore bandanas with "Suicide Bomber" emblazoned on them. However, their methods are more subtle - but probably just as deadly in the end.

If you strip the sophistry away from the group's slick-speaking spokesmen, it stands for nothing other than world domination by Islam.

They talk about only being interested in establishing their Caliphate - an undemocratic pan-national Islamic state under sharia law - in what they call "the Muslim world". But when you examine their literature you quickly see that their end game is for the entire world to be Muslim.

They share the Caliphate ambition with the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which formed a division, Mantiki 4, to include Australia in its operations. Its leaders at one stage worked out of a Perth Islamic college before fleeing to Indonesia after the first Bali bombing.

Mr Ruddock is taking our time-honoured approach to differing ideologies. Fifty years ago the nation split over moves to ban the Communist Party - and then narrowly refused to do it in a referendum.

But the Government of which Mr Ruddock is the senior law officer pushes the need to protect Australian values. HT is nothing more than a Muslim wolf-in-sheep's-clothing which represents a direct long-term attack on everything those values might mean.

One of the problems with understanding the threats from radical Islam is that it is many-headed and ever-changing. One man's Islam is a religion of peace; another man's compels him to become a suicide bomber.

There is an inherent sinister self-contradiction in HT. It says it is democratic and uses democratic methods - but to achieve a completely undemocratic outcome. That's what makes its protestations unbelievable.

As he breezed through an unchallenging interview on Perth radio this week, HT spokesman Wassim Doureihi said Australians should welcome the group because it was committed to using the political process. Behind his blandishments is the Islamic concept of Da'awah (the invitation). What it stands for is the slow and steady indoctrination of non-Muslims to the faith.

HT's own propaganda sets out the group's intentions clearly in "The Concepts Of Hizb-ut-Tahrir". It talks about how Islam had declined up to the start of the 20th century and accuses educated Muslims of having been weak in the face of the "malice and hatred of the West". It says: "For instance, they interpreted jihad as being a defensive rather than an offensive war, thus contradicting the reality of jihad. Jihad is a war against anyone who stands in the face of the Islamic Da'awah, whether he is a belligerent or otherwise.

"In other words, the aim of jihad is to remove every obstacle that stands in the face of the Islamic Da'awah.

"When the Muslims attacked Persia, the Roman empire, Egypt, North Africa, Andalusia and others, they did so because the Da'awah necessitated the initiation of jihad in order to spread it in those lands."

Just think about those words and the call at last weekend's Sydney conference by Indonesian cleric Ismail Yusanto for Australian Muslims of "military age" to involve themselves in jihad.

HT's website makes no bones about its expansionist objectives:

"Hizb-ut-Tahrir came into being and set about working towards resuming an Islamic way of life in the Arab lands, which would naturally yield the resumption of the Islamic way of life in the Islamic world, by establishing the Islamic state in one or more countries, to act as a support point for Islam and as a nucleus for the greater Islamic state that resumes the Islamic way of life by implementing Islam as a whole over all the Islamic lands and by carrying the Islamic Da'awah to the whole world."

So the intentions are clear. The question for the Howard Government is whether it intends to stand back and allow them to do it.

Mr Ruddock reasonably says that HT is breaking no Australian laws and is closely monitored by ASIO. He not unreasonably accuses NSW Premier Morris Iemma of playing politics in the lead-up to the March 24 State election by calling for HT to be banned.

A BBC Newsnight investigation of HT back in 2003 uncovered one of the group's promotional videos aimed at young Britons.

"I think Muslims in this country need to take a long, hard look at themselves and decide what is their identity," the video said. "Are they British or are they Muslim? I am a Muslim. Where I live is irrelevant."

A moderate Muslim leader told the program: "I believe that if Hizb-ut-Tahrir are not stopped at this stage, and we continue to let them politicise and pollute the youngsters' minds and other gullible people's minds, then what will happen in effect is that these terrorism acts and these suicide bombings that we hear going on in foreign countries, we will actually start seeing these incidents happening outside our doorsteps."

Which is exactly what happened in London just two years later.

HT is clearly prepared to take its ideological fight to the world and use any part of it as a base for its aims.

In a country that cherishes free speech, it is a bitter pill to swallow that we allow our liberties to help establish a form of pan-Islamic society in which they would not exist.

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