Sydney council ban on Islamic conference

A Sydney council has cancelled a town hall booking for a radical Islamic conference, claiming its host, Hizb ut-Tahrir, has incited hatred at similar evens in the past.

The Sunni Islamic group advocates the revival of the Muslim caliphate, an Islamic superstate that once stretched across the Arab world to Spain.

Bankstown City Council says one of the group’s speakers made hateful comments about women and challenged the authority of the Australian Government at a previous event at Bankstown Town Hall.

“They made strong, negative comments inciting hatred towards women,” Bankstown Mayor Tanya Mihailuk said. “Much stronger than Sheikh (Taj al-Din) al-Hilali’s comments,” she said of the controversial Sydney cleric who caused a storm last year when he likened scantily clad women to meat.

The organisation, whose name means “The Party of Liberation” requested a booking for a conference at the town hall last year titled: “The Illegality of the state of Israel,” which was turned down by the council.

“The (event’s) promotional material was shocking,” Cr Mihailuk said. “It showed daggers with blood put through the state of Israel.

“It would have certainly breached our conditions of hire in that it would incite racial vilification and violence.”

The spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir, Wassim Doureihi, rejected the claims as “baseless”.

He denied hateful comments were made by the group’s speakers and said the party had no designs to overthrow the Australian Government.

“What we are advocating is political change in the Muslim world. We’re not advocating political change in this country,” he said. “We’re not engaged in terrorism, nor do we advocate terrorism.

“ASIO is very familiar with our work and we’ve met them on a number of occasions.”

Of the Khilafah Conference that was scheduled for late January, he said: “We’re asking the Muslims and the wider Australian audience to play a pivotal role in affecting peaceful political change throughout the Muslim world.”

Mr Doureihi said the organisation advocated change by peaceful means only.

Yet a section on its website,, urges Somali militants to wage jihad against foreign troops.

“O Muslims, Hizb ut-Tahrir urges you to give victory to Somalia; this is an obligation, commanded by Allah, the Exalted,” it reads. “If you do not go forth, he will punish you with a severe punishment, and will bring in your place a people other than you.”

Cr Mihailuk said the council initially accepted the conference booking because it was made under another name.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is not classified as a terrorist organisation in Australia.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday January 11, 2007.
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