The radical Islamists of Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) who met in Lakemba to cheer speakers calling for a global Islamic state, which somehow did not include Australia, raised a number of issues.
The first is about Australia’s tolerance for such a call, for, as students of the group (which is banned in a number of nations) know, an Islamic state could not possibly condone many of the freedoms basic to our society.
Another issue is just as crucial: if Australia is not among the nations to be targeted and brought under the Islamist umbrella, exactly which nations does Hizb ut-Tahrir believe need an Islamist makeover?
If “humankind” can only escape destruction if it becomes subservient to the “divine order of Islam“, and Australia is not to be subjected to the group’s reconstructive process, wouldn’t its members be better off going to a nation which would benefit from a more proscriptive regime?
The reality is of course that few Islamic nations want a bar of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s proselytisers and they have to find helpful suckers in Western nations who will permit them to hold their “Islam-or-else” meetings.
As it is unimaginable that any Islamic nation, or any other nation for that matter, would host a conference of fundamentalist Christians calling for the restoration of Istanbul to Constantinople, why should any Western state play host to these plotters?
Are we so naive, so politically correct, that we feel compelled to host a party for people who wish to cut the throats of our metaphorical cousins, even if they promise that we are not (yet) in their sights?
One of the speakers at the conference, Palestinian Sheik Issam Amera, told the audience: “If two people are united and a third person comes along and tries to incite disunity . . . kill him. Muslims are not unique in doing so as most nations kill those charged with treason.
“The establishment of caliphate is an Islamic duty. The evidence for the duty for establishing (the) caliphate is confirmed in the Koran,” he said.
The Koran also mentions supernatural bodies, but that doesn’t make them real.
In fact, if one looks around the world and particularly at those states which nominate themselves as Islamic, one could draw the conclusion that followers of Islam are doomed to live in Third World poverty listening to hate-filled speeches from their religious leaders fuelled by envy of the comparatively successful nation of Israel, and with sufficient time on their hands to riot over almost nothing whenever someone gets to his feet in the local mosque.
Sunday’s conference, though little different from others held in some Muslim communities lodged in Western societies, heard calls for the political destiny of the Muslim world to be in the hands of Muslims and for external forces to be rejected.
Judging by the manner in which members of Hamas and Hezbollah, both professing to be Islamic organisations, are currently kidnapping and killing each other, and considering the wars of attrition up to the current day waged between followers of the Shia and Sunni arms of Islam, any notion that Islamists could achieve a better record of governance than many Western nations, including Australia, is fanciful, no matter how vehement the calls for sacrifice and jihad may be.
Hizb ut-Tahrir clearly has no place in Australia, and it would be heartening if more Australian Muslims said this.
Unfortunately, as older Australians well know from the attempts to ban the Communist Party in the middle of the last century, it is awfully difficult to ban any group in this country.
Greens Senator Bob Brown, aided by the Left-inclined Fairfax press, is attempting to disrupt the activities of the Exclusive Brethren, a minor Christian sect which has angered him because it quoted from Green policies in a series of political advertisements, but has barely raised a whimper about the treatment of homosexuals in Muslim countries.
The NSW Government’s recycled Police Minister John Watkins believes there is sufficient evidence to have Hizb ut-Tahrir banned but has failed to persuade his ALP colleagues in other states to join him in making such a recommendation to the Federal Government.
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has asked NSW to provide evidence that Hizb ut-Tahrir meets the definition of a terrorist group and has also called on federal agencies to review the comments made at its conference to determine whether its conduct crosses that threshold.
If Watson believes the body is breaking NSW laws, he is free to deal with it under state law.
Civil libertarians, usually highly visible and irritatingly voluble whenever Islam and ban are mentioned in the same sentence, are nowhere to be seen or heard.
Until firm evidence of illegal activity emerges, it would seem there is no recourse available beyond making the usual expressions of disgust and contempt that it deserves.
That of course, is fitting proof that Australia has a robust and admirable pluralist culture — just the sort of thing that gets up the noses of the Hiz ut-Tahrir — if indeed they have such organs behind their hijabs and scarfs.