Muslims told to shun democracy
- Sally Neighbour
- From: The Australian
- July 05, 2010 12:00AM
LEADERS of the global Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir have called on Australian Muslims to join the struggle for a transnational Islamic state.
British Hizb ut-Tahrir leader Burhan Hanif told participants at a conference in western Sydney yesterday that democracy is “haram” (forbidden) for Muslims, whose political engagement should be be based purely on Islamic law. “We must adhere to Islam and Islam alone,” Mr Hanif told about 500 participants attending the convention in Lidcombe.
“We should not be conned or succumb to the disingenuous and flawed narrative that the only way to engage politically is through the secular democratic process. It is prohibited and haram.”
He said democracy was incompatible with Islam because the Koran insisted Allah was the sole lawmaker, and Muslim political involvement could not be based on “secular and erroneous concepts such as democracy and freedom”.
His view was echoed by an Australian HT official, Wassim Dourehi, who told the conference Muslims should not support “any kafir (non-believer) political party”, because humans have no right to make laws. Mr Dourehi also urged Muslims to spurn the concept of moderate Islam promoted by governments in the West, including in “this godforsaken country” of Australia.
“We need to reject this new secular version of Islam,” he said. “It is a perverted concoction of Western governments. It is a perversion that seeks to wipe away the political aspects of Islam and localise our concerns. We must reject it and challenge the proponents of this aberration of Islam.”
The conference, which followed the theme “The struggle for Islam in the West”, was the first major event held by the Australian branch of HT since a seminar in 2007 which coincided with calls for the group to be banned. HT is outlawed in much of the Middle East but operates legally in more than 40 countries, campaigning for the establishment of a caliphate (Islamic state) modelled on the empire founded by the Prophet Mohammed in the 7th century.
HT’s platform rejects the use of violence in its quest for an Islamic state, but supports the military destruction of Israel, which it regards as illegitimate, and endorses militant campaigns against foreign troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The federal government considered banning HT in 2007, but then attorney-general Philip Ruddock told parliament ASIO had advised him such a ban was not justified as the group did not support terrorism.
Another British HT member, Salim Atchia, told the conference the West was attempting to “beat the Muslims into submission” through intimidation and demonisation and by falsely portraying the aspiration for an Islamic state as dangerous and backward. Mr Dourehi said Muslims in the West must be at the vanguard of the push for a caliphate, which would govern all Muslim majority countries and lands that were previously under Islamic rule, such as Spain and The Philippines.
A female HT delegate, Reem Allouche, said Australian women should be at the forefront of the struggle by insisting on their right to wear the head-to-toe covering known as the niqab, in the face of legislation proposed by NSW Christian Democratic MP Fred Nile to ban it.
“This is not an issue about the niqab or hijab. This is a struggle between two ways of life, two competing ideologies, two civilisations. It’s about (the West) controlling Islam through reform and thereby controlling the Muslims,” Ms Allouche said.
A non-Muslim attendant at the conference, Ervin Zurell, provoked mild consternation among the audience when he asked why Muslims don’t “go back to the country you came from”.
Mr Zurell said afterwards that he found the conference “unbelievable” and “frightening”.