Andrew Carswell and Geoff Chambers
The Daily Telegraph
AUSTRALIA’S Islamic leaders have demanded radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir stop voicing its vile sermons in public, hate-filled messages which they claim are tarnishing the entire Muslim community.
The stinging rebuke comes as the religion’s leaders prepare to intervene in the activist group in a last-ditch attempt to calm its members’ aggressive and scandalous approach and curb its fundamentalism.
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For years Australia’s often divided coterie of imams have been loathe to publicly scold Hizb ut-Tahrir’s tiny but vocal members, shaking their heads in private but preferring to preach freedom of expression.
Now the religion’s chief authority — the Australian National Imams Council — has had enough.
The stance follows The Daily Telegraph’s revelations Hizb ut-Tahrir’s spokesman Uthman Badar was stopped from giving a speech at the Sydney Opera House that debated the moral justification of honour killing, while the group was also found to have sickening views that men could “morally’’ marry pre-teen girls and that the US and Australia were terrorist nations for invading Iraq and Afghanistan.
“They send the wrong message about Islam and they should refrain and have better judgment about preaching a message of inflammatory nature,’’ said Imam Mohammadu Nawas, a spokesman for both the ANIC and the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed.
“The vast majority of Muslims in this country do not subscribe to anything what they say. We call on them, and any other organisation making inflammatory statements that can cause upset among the general public, to restrain. We want them to stop.’’
In response to the public condemnation to the group’s abhorrent views, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop issued a veiled threat in Question Time yesterday to any group or organisation that appeared to be supporting terrorism.
“The government will shortly introduce new legislation giving our security agencies greater powers to counter the terrorist threat. The government will not hesitate to take strong action against any person or any group that is a threat to our national security,” Ms Bishop said.
Prominent Islamic leader Ameer Ali, former president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said all Muslim groups, leaders and mosque preachers should be resoundingly denouncing the views of Hizb ut-Tahrir.
“But I don’t hear it yet. I don’t hear people coming out in sermons denouncing them. They need to do this and be at the forefront of demolishing these ideas,’’ he said.
“Indeed, most Muslims are horrified by what they are saying. So why aren’t the council of Imams stopping them? That’s surprising to me.’’
Muslim community organiser and political aspirant Keysar Trad also denounced the group, saying: “This organisation thrives on controversy and picks topics that will appeal to the disenfranchised.’’