Alison Bevege, The Daily Telegraph
October 14, 2014 10:00pm
I WAS directed to the back of the room, far from the business of the evening. “Why must I sit at the back?” I asked, “I want to sit at the front.” I was not permitted because of a physical characteristic over which I have no control.
Like Mississippi blacks in the 1950s sent to the back of the bus for the colour of their skin, I was segregated due to my gender.
The public meeting was organised by political group Hizb ut-Tahrir to complain about Western intervention in the Middle East and declare a “new world order” under Islam. They forced non-Muslims into gender segregation, openly discriminating against women.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, and has called them un-Islamic.
Sheik Ismail al-Wahwah mocked him for this.
“He’s a mufti too? He is takfir.” The word “takfir” signifies an “unbeliever” and the sheik is right — Tony Abbott is no authority on Islam.
For more than a decade governments have replaced the word “Islamist” with “terrorist” to avoid offending the religious or fuelling bigotry against innocent Muslims.
Sheik al-Wahwah said the police even asked him to wipe “blessed” from the meeting title “War to end a blessed revolution”.
Euphemisms such as “death cult”, “hate preacher” and “un-Australian” have further debased the dialogue.
It is contemptuous of the public to suggest they aren’t smart enough to be told the truth with accurate words — or to guess it without.
From sloppy words comes sloppy thinking. The war on “terror” is a war on Islamist fascism.
As a secular state it would not even be our business except the Islamists are here, colonising us.
Islamists want holy men to dictate what you can eat, what you can wear, and when you will be lashed or stoned to death.
They want any criticism of their political and religious ideology outlawed.
And they are winning.
In the 1970s, secular Muslim women in Iran could choose western clothes; in Afghanistan they attended college — freedoms now unthinkable.
In March 2007, a global group of prominent Muslims and former Muslims signed the St Petersburg declaration in Florida demanding the separation of religion from state. It called on all governments to reject Sharia law, fatwa courts and clerical rule.
It was signed by people like Sharia law expert Hasan Mahmud of the Muslim Canadian Congress whose activism helped ban all faith-courts.
The St Petersburg declaration calls for Islam to be expressed as either a religion or a political philosophy, but not both.
By contrast Hizb ut-Tahrir wants a caliphate with a Koranic constitution ruled by Sharia law where Muslims cannot leave.
During question time, I asked Sheik al-Wahwah what the penalty was for Muslims who no longer believed in Allah.
Four times I asked, but he would not answer. He did not want to publicly admit the penalty is death. People are killed for apostasy. It is a “religious crime”.
A faceless woman pressed my arm kindly with a gloved hand.
“When people join Islam, they find such peace they never want to leave,” she said.
Hizb ut-Tahrir may never openly encourage violence, but they are dedicated to furthering the Islamist goal. They are another political expression of the ideology that spawned IS, al-Qaeda, al-Muhajiroun and a thousand others.
When I asked the sheik why a secular country such as Australia would not want to ban his group, he brought up freedom of speech.
The point has merits; freedom is measured by views you don’t agree with. Even Hitler was in favour of views he liked.
But Hizb ut-Tahrir imposes a system that strips people of inalienable human rights: liberty, gender equality, freedom from religion, freedom of expression, equality for homosexuals, universal suffrage.
And Sheik al-Wahwah does not extend his concept of free speech to criticising Islam. People were murdered for “insulting Islam” over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.
It is not Hizb ut-Tahrir that needs banning but the ideology behind it: Islamist fascism.
The federal government should adopt the principles of the St Petersburg declaration and ban Islamist fascism without delay.
Alison Bevege is a freelance journalist who is based in Sydney.