(HT)  The Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation)

In the April 23, 2006, issue of the Sun-Herald (p.15+) Miranda Devine entitles her feature article  “Wolves in sheep’s clothing on an extremist Islamic mission”.

I quote some passages from her article.

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There is a new wave of sophisticated, articulate Islamic fundamentalists trying to spread the word among moderate Muslims in Sydney. Young men, wearing regular clothes, with newly trimmed beards, broad Australian accents and fluent in Arabic, they appear to be fully assimilated, second-generation Australians. But they belong to a political group called Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) that calls for the creation of a global Islamic state, or caliphate, under strict sharia law. The message from these young men is one of division, non-assimilation and rejection of the values of the “kafir” - non Muslims.

At a public lecture at Bankstown Town Hall earlier this month, Hizb ut-Tahrir organiser Soadad Doureihi, his brother Wassim, and Usman Badar, president of Sydney University’s Muslim Student Association in 2005, outlined their utopian goal of the ultimate overthrow of Western democracies. “Islam can never coexist one under the other or one within the other,” Soadad told the crowd. “When the state is established, when people see the mercy of Islam they embrace Islam in droves.” The April 8 lecture, to about 20n0 men and 50 women, was titled “Should Muslims Subscribe to Australian Values?” Banned in Britain, Germany, Holland, Russia, and much of the Muslim world, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) has been invited to speak at Sydney Boys High at least twice, and often addresses students at Sydney University. Borrowing its methodology and ideology from Marxist-Leninist groups, HT calls itself a political party which works to “change the situation of the corrupt society so that it is transformed into an Islamic society”, its website says. It opposes integration and assimilation of Muslims into Australian society.

Soadad Doureihi had a message for youth: “They must be aware of the plot of the kafir, the plot of the Western society to enforce on them a palatable Islam ... Secularism is a clear assault on the fundamental belief of a Muslim. Democracy is a clear assault on the fundamental belief of a Muslim also.” HT says it advocates non-violence and yet terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna, from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, told a conference in 2004, “key members of the al-Qaeda organisation [such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi] formerly belonged to the HT organisation ..... The upper echelons of key interest to us, operationg at a violent, extremist, radical level, consist of former members of HT.”    

In Australia, HT’s threat is its anti-integration message. Usman Badar (mentioned above), a graduate of Malek Fahd Islamic High School in Chullora, who was such a good student he appeared on the 2002 all-rounders list, said (in response to the question “Can we not as Muslims hold these Australian values [while] keeping our Islam intact?”) “How do you come to middle ground on whether sovereignty belongs to the people or to Allah? You can’t. ... The simple matter of fact is there is no middle ground.”

No middle ground. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a fringe group, rejected by most Australian Muslim leaders. But its message is alluring to the disenfranchised. Is the answer to ban it? Wassim (brother of Soadad Doureihi) says the more the group is attacked, the more it grows. “The more we come under pressure the more we return to Islam. Video of their lecture is at www.risala.org.

Miranda Devine (devinemiranda@hotmail.com)