Monday, January 29, 2007

Hizb-ut-Tahrir - To Ban or Not To Ban

Hizb-ut-Tahrir should not be banned says Attorney General, Philip Ruddock

"Yes they should!" screams Morris Iemma, Premier of NSW

The case for the prosecution,

The main speaker at their latest Bankstown shindig where they once again called for the restoration of the Caliphate (Khulifah), was one Ismail Yusano, leader of Hizb in Indonesia and firebrand extraordinaire (makes Hilali seem warm and cuddly). His pearls of wisdom include,

Exhibit 1; "US President George Bush and British Premier Tony Blair must both be labelled as terrorists and warmongers"

Well if that were the criteria, then half of Iemma's Labour Party would have to be expelled.

He has also called for the severing of all ties between Indonesia and Australia, the introduction of Sharia Law (i.e stoning for adulterers and homosexuals) and a ban on, err, discos.

Exhibit 2; "This is an organisation that is basically saying that it wants to declare war on Australia, our values and our people"

says Iemma...without citing or explaining. No blogger he.

Exhibit 3; Chair of the Community Relations Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian, says Hizb ut Tahrir is overstepping the mark. "If people are going to hold public meetings calling for a way of life and our institutions to be replaced by some other system, then they are definitely crossing the line. It's not acceptable in our society and it's tantamount to calling for a revolution."

It isn't very nice to to our liberal ears but it is isn't tantamount to calling for a revolution, Stepan. And not acceptable? I find people who don't pooper scoop their dogs unacceptable but i wouldn't ban them.

The case for the defence;

Exhibit 1; Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia spokesman, Wassim Doureihi, said calls for the group to be banned were misplaced as the group was opposed to terrorism.

Yes, maybe. But Hizb are good at spinning and their website is pretty clear.

Exhibit 2; Hizb ut-Tahrir says it is non-violent but it has been proscribed in many Middle Eastern, European and central Asian countries after being deemed a threat to national security.

Yes. But Tony Blair tried to ban it and also found evidence to be lacking.

Exhibit 3; Mr Ruddock said Hizb ut-Tahrir had been closely monitored by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation but had been found to have done nothing in Australia to warrant it being banned.

I'm assuming his info is better than mine. Or at least i'm hoping.

Exhibit 4; Former chairman of the Federal Government's Muslim Community Reference Group, Dr Ameer Ali, says banning the group and its controversial teachings could do more harm than good.

However, Dr Ali is concerned the conference held by the group may further damage the community's perceptions of the faith.

He is absolutely right.

"The best way to deal with the group is to engage moderate Muslims to counter its views."

Yes. Spot on again. Smart guy this Dr. Ali.

"And I think the law enforcement authorities must monitor them."

Yes. Yes. Yes.

For the moment, Ruddock has the last line,

"Just because people have messages that I don't regard as broadly in keeping with Australian values doesn't mean they can be proscribed as terrorist organisations,"

But Dr. Ali comes out best.

Verdict; hung jury.