Push for caliphate in Australia
THE Federal Government says it is powerless to ban a Muslim group calling for Australia to be taken over as part of an Islamic superstate.
Attorney General Phillip Ruddock said today there was not enough evidence to ban the Hizb ut-Tahrir group despite its continuing call for Australia to become part of a Caliphate or "Khilafah".
The group, already banned across the Middle East, the United Kingdom and Germany - will host a Sydney conference this month to promote an Islamic takeover. A conference advertisement posted on internet site youtube.com shows crowds of Muslims marching, praying and protesting to dramatic and warlike music and explosions.
In what appears to be a call to arms, the video features slogans attacking the United States and capitalism, and features militant anti-Western Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shaking his fist, before the slogan "embrace the revival" "The Muslim world has awakened from its slumber … and is ready to resume its political destiny.
"From the darkness will emerge a new light," the video says. Articles published on the group's website claim that Israel is an illegal state, that "Iraq is an occupied land" and its residents have a duty to resist the Coalition.
In one article dubbed "The Clash of Civilisations", an anonymous author claims a clash of Western and Islamic civilizations is inevitable, and that Muslim scriptures show Islam "has come to dominate this Earth" and that Muslims "must sacrifice everything to achieve this".
"This means we must … establish the Khilafah in order that we can challenge the capitalist nations intellectually, economically, politically and militarily until we defeat them, thus liberating their peoples from the darkness and subjugation and fulfilling our own covenant with Allah," the article says.
The site today also called on Australian muslims to come to the aid of Islamist fighters in Somalia against Ethiopian forces. But today the Federal Attorney General Phillip Ruddock said the organisation could not be banned as a terror group under current laws.
"We looked very closely at the organisation some time ago to see whether or not it met the criteria to be banned as a terrorist organisation in Australia," he told Southern Cross radio today. "It doesn't mean that we agree with what it's saying, but there are strict criteria for banning organisations and when those enquiries were undertaken we didn't have sufficient evidence.
Mr Ruddock said the organisation's aim of creating an Islamic state were clear in the latest video advertisement, but it had also reportedly said it wanted to do so by peaceful means.
Government agencies would examine the latest propaganda to see whether it changed the situation, but agreed many people would see the material as provocative, he said. "There's no doubt in the context of a great deal of violence that's been pursued in other parts of the world, that people might assume when they're advocating that Australia have Sharia law … and a Caliphate that should be a role model for the rest of the world that people might be alarmed,"
Mr Ruddock said. "If they look at some of the approaches by orgs such as al-Qaida and so on, there may well be a concern they they might be heading in the same directions. "But by their own activities, there is no evidence for banning them as a terrorist organisation."