Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The true colours of Hizb ut-Tahrir

Australian-born Wassim Doureihi, spokesman for the Sydney branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, organisation. "Just because Muslims were born in Australia doesn't mean we have to accept these conditions".

Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, have learnt to disguise their true aims in the UK. Their constitution was recently removed from their website after a few people pointed out that it was a little, err, inflammatory. You can read it here.

However, no attempt at disguise is made in Australia.

Hizb has been caught distributing extremist pamphlets outside mosques in Melbourne and Sydney urging Muslims to rise up against Australian troops in Iraq and support the insurgency. At a mosque outside Lakemba in Sydney, the group was handing out leaflets blaming the Shia/Sunni fighting on US forces, saying "what happened in Samarra was of the planning and execution of the occupying forces".

The website of Hizb declares that the party "does not advocate or engage in violence" but the flyers tell a different story, "we urge you to make the calamity of Samarra as a motivator to repel the invaders and that you take them as your enemies."

Hizb was investigated last year by the Australian Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, but were not designated a terrorist organisation due to lack of evidence.

Hizb ut-Tahrir was set up in 1953 by a Palestinian judge to inspire the creation of a Muslim Caliphate state. Its Sydney arm has more than 200 members. Hizb ut-Tahrir still endorses Sharia law, which stipulates the death penalty for gay and lesbian Muslims, apostates and unchaste women.

In a recent article in the Times (subscription only), Shiraz MaherPublished, a former member of the group, had this to say of the group.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is no paper tiger. It is a revolutionary movement seeking to overthrow governments in the Muslim world, establish a caliphate and then wage jihad on other nations. The mobilisation of British Muslims is an integral part of that vision.
I know because for two years I was a member, recruited while studying for a degree in history. With a presence on campuses across the country, Hizb ut-Tahrir is experienced in avoiding detection. Its members were the architects of the national "Stop Islamophobia" student campaign launched last year. They have also organised seemingly innocuous football tournaments and "welcome dinners" for new Muslim students. Recruiting such members of the UK's emerging middle class is particularly important to Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Although the party's primary role in the UK is to articulate the case for Islam as an alternative to capitalism, such work is intrinsically linked to its wider ambitions. Hizb ut-Tahrir is opposed to every regime in the Muslim world and has orchestrated coup attempts in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco.
Exiled members who have regrouped in the UK have used the freedoms afforded to them here to seek to springboard their recruits and ideas back into the Muslim world. The effects have been felt most acutely in Pakistan, to which scores of British recruits, born and raised here, have returned since the late 1990s to propagate the party's message and incite the army to sedition.

While Hizb ut-Tahrir continues to mobilise British Muslims in pursuit of its cause, its threat to global security cannot be understated. Silencing the party is, therefore, not simply a debate about free speech or criminalising alternative opinions. It is about protecting ourselves, and our allies, from the excesses of a totalitarian Islamic movement with grand ambitions.
Hizb ut-Tahrir's openly stated ambition of global conquest sits uncomfortably with its newfound obsession with free speech. A party leaflet from 1999 reads: "In the forthcoming days the Muslims will conquer Rome and the dominion of the (nation) of Muhammad will reach the whole world, and the rule of the Muslims will reach as far as the day and night." It's a world in which freedom of speech, of course, would be notably absent.