SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Hizb ut Tahrir has condemned the terrorist group Islamic State and is overtly non-violent – so why is Tony Abbott “angry and frustrated” he hasn’t been able to ban the group, and hopeful new laws will allow him to do so?
As he shared his contempt for the group with radio broadcaster Alan Jones on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said the “thoroughly objectionable organisation” not only campaigned against Australia’s values but may “promote terrorism”.
Hizb ut Tahrir is founded on the principle of creating an Islamic caliphate that is governed by sharia law. It despises the West and holds it responsible for the humiliation of Muslims.
Almost every issue is seen through the prism of malevolent Western domination, and spun accordingly.
The planned conference on Friday in Lakemba that drew the ire of Mr Abbott will discuss how the US-led coalition’s campaign against Islamic State is actually an attempt to end the “blessed revolution” to oust Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
The contention underpinning the conference is conspiratorial and not readily supported by facts.
But wild conspiracies do not amount to promoting terrorism and Hizb ut Tahrir has loudly denounced the caliphate claimed by Islamic State as an aberration and condemned its killings of innocents and non-believers.
Underpinning its philosophy is the belief that “offensive jihad” – launching pre-emptive attacks to achieve the aims of the caliphate – is forbidden, as is violence that targets innocents, no matter what their faith.
“Defensive jihad” – or Muslims defending themselves against direct oppression – is, however, considered legitimate.
The group supports the rights of Muslims to resist the Western interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, including with violence against those they believe have taken up arms against them.
This principle extends to Syria, and has led to the group giving tacit support to Australians travelling there to join the resistance against the regime, with the recent exception of taking up arms with the Islamic State group.
For the past decade, security agencies in the West have repeatedly considered whether the group should be banned. Invariably, they have declined.
The main concern has been that the group is a “conveyer belt” for jihadists, a weigh station where they are inculcated with radical ideology before they leave for a group with more violent tendencies.
Nawab Osman, an academic at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore who did his doctorate in Australia on the group, says the “conveyer belt” theory doesn’t stack up. Hizb, overall, acted as a bulwark against Islamic radicals taking the next step and turning to terrorism, he said.
A ban, he added, would be counter-productive.
“All you will do is create martyrs out of Hizb ut Tahrir. It will grow and it will grow underground. That makes it much more difficult for security agencies to monitor.”