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November 04th 2015 print

Merv Bendle

Tolerate Intolerance, Demean Democracy

Hizb ut-Tahrir  uses a public building to preach intolerance and draws nothing more stringent than hedged and guarded reactions from our political class. The Australian Liberty Alliance, meanwhile, is harassed and denounced. Something is wrong here, and the voting public knows it

bomb headThere is a clear double-standard operating in Australia concerning the two sides of the political debate over Islamist extremism. This is exemplified by the wildly contrasting political and media treatment of Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Australian Liberty Alliance. However, as the strong public reactions to last week’s National Anthem scandal and Sunday’s Hizb ut-Tahrir conference demonstrate, this duplicity is becoming increasingly obvious and is now galvanizing the growing resistance to Islamist extremism and the appeasement policies of federal and state governments and the mainstream media.

To begin with, the coordinated and systematic Muslim assault on Australia’s national identity continues. On cue, speakers at the Islamist activist group Hizb ut-Tahrir conference in Bankstown on Sunday followed up on the attack launched last week at a Victorian primary school, where some 40 Muslim students were allowed to walk out on the national anthem because their religious allegiance was adjudged by school staff and the Victorian Education Department to have priority over their allegiance (if any) to Australia.

Singing the Australian national anthem or pledging support for democratic values in the citizenship oath was part of a state campaign of oppression and “forced assimilation” directed at Australian Muslims, Hizb ut-Tahrir leaders declared. According to media spokesman, Uthman Badar, the federal government “claims to afford freedom, but seeks to impose values and beliefs” on Muslims, specifically in the citizenship oath when new citizens were required to pledge allegiance to the democratic values upon which Australian society is based.

“It’s not enough that you obey the law, no, you have to adopt [Australian] values” as well, said Badar, who also condemned the expectation that Muslim schoolchildren should sing the National Anthem, which he claimed “reflects a disputed view of history”. He was referring to the Hizb ut-Tahrir version of history, which blames the West for all the problems in the world.

“If you don’t share those values, why should they be forced to sing it?” he insisted.

Badar appears to be well-connected on the cultural left in Australia, as his post-colonialist view of history indicates. Indeed, he rose to public prominence last year when it was revealed he had been booked to speak at the so-called ‘Festival of Dangerous Ideas’ in Sydney. His topic: “Honour Killings Are Morally Justified”. The resulting public outcry forced the lecture to be cancelled in a reaction that Badar saw not as understandable public horror, but only as a measure of the “extent and depth” of Islamophobia in Australia.

The Bankstown conference theme was “A Community Criminalised: Innocent Until Proven Muslim?” perpetuating the self-identification of Islamists as an innocent and unjustly oppressed minority. It was Hizb ut-Tahrir’s largest and most elaborate propaganda event yet, re-asserting its claim that the federal government and security agencies are waging a brutal campaign to oppress Muslims and force them into compliance with Australian values.

“It is nothing less than forced assimilation … justified by [an] exaggerated fear of a security threat”, declared Badar, while his comrade, Wassim Doureihi, insisted the government attitude was that “you cannot allow Muslims a moment to breathe”, and that raids by security agencies on the Muslim community were designed to “terrorise its inhabitants” and implement a policy to “tie their hands, beat them, [and] break their noses”.

A notable speaker was the British Islamist, Ibtihal Bsis, who achieved notoriety in the UK by assuring a group of young Muslim women that Islamic State was not a problem. In a pre-recorded video he told Australian Muslims that, when they needed strength, they should “look at your brothers in Syria who stand and fight against an unjust ruler” — the implication being that Australian Muslims face the same threat and should behave in a similar manner.

Testimonials were also provided by Muslims in attendance about their alleged mis-treatment by customs and border-protection officers. Others complained of how difficult it was made for them when they were visiting relatives imprisoned at the Supermax jail in Goulburn on terrorism-related offences. They were affronted because they were required to communicate with the prisoners in English via a phone and were not allowed physical contact with them. They complained also that children were forced to see their fathers in a steel room behind Perspex.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is obviously extremely well resourced. No effort or expense was spared in mounting this latest move in its propaganda war.  In addition to the convenient timing, the conference was very well organised and attended. The venue was comfortable and spacious, the live and video-recorded speeches were beamed onto a large screen, the speakers made full use of the autocue, and a large media contingent was in attendance to fully cover proceedings. Pre-packaged lunches were provided for the 800 participants. Dozens of ushers wore special orange T-shirts proclaiming the conference theme, and a glossy, 36-page booklet was distributed providing legal advice for Muslims anxious to avoid cooperation with police and security agencies. Such cooperation “is outright haram (forbidden)” for Muslims, the publication declared, making clear the incompatibility of Islam and Western societies.

Throughout these harangues, “children in prams, toddlers, and teens accompanied their parents and many sat, mesmerised, to speeches suggesting Australia’s escalating counter-terrorism laws were an attack on Islam itself; that Muslims were being forced to surrender to Australian values”, The Canberra Times observed. Even as the NSW government commits $47 million of public money to a program allegedly designed to identify students at risk of radicalisation and to help counter violent extremism in schools, 800 Muslims sat entranced by the rhetoric of the Hizb ut-Tahrir extremists.

Entranced and untroubled by any of the pro forma demonstrations and screaming mobs of leftists denouncing racism and ‘Islamophobia’ designed to shut down any criticism of Islamism. Indeed, the Islamist assault on the National Anthem and Australian values has been very successful in publicizing its extremist position and in aggravating and mobilizing a Muslim sense of grievance against their adopted country. In this assault it has been supported by the media and politicians too timid to do anything about its campaign of hate.

However, they are only too happy to suppress the other side of the debate. Indeed, it is impossible to ignore the contrast between the elaborate and open nature of this Hizb ut-Tahrir conference and its favourable media coverage, and the situation of the Australian Liberty Alliance. This new political party was forced to keep secret its recent party launch meeting in Perth in an attempt to avoid the usual violent protests by Muslims and the left. Unlike  Hizb ut-Tahrir it has received comparatively little media coverage.

Moreover, while Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesmen can say the most outrageous and socially divisive things with impunity, the ALA’s featured speaker, Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, was nearly prevented by the federal government from entering Australia, while the WA state government tried to marginalize the party launch, with Premier Colin Barnett declaring that Wilders would not be allowed to speak in any government venues. Moreover, the usual protesters drowned out the ALA Senate candidates, who had to be protected by security guards.

And this coordinated attempt at suppression was implemented despite the fact that, as Paul Sheehan points out:

In the months since the immigrant influx, Holland’s most strident critic of Islam, Geert​ Wilders, has become the country’s most popular leader. His Party for Freedom (PVV), has polled an average 33.5 per cent in recent opinion polls, far more than any other party.

The present political situation around the Muslim insurgency appears therefore to be a tale of two conferences. One was a conference held by an avowedly anti-Australian, anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-democratic group that is seeking to mobilize Muslims against Australia, while the other sought to mobilize Australians in what its literature and platform depict as a democratic effort to defend the nation’s culture and heritage. society. One called for Sharia law and a Muslim Caliphate, and received government sanction and was free to meet; the other called for the protection of democratic liberties, and it was harassed by two governments and violent protesters.

However, as the appearance of the ALA, and the growing support for Wilders and other similar European politicians demonstrate, there is a major shift going on in the politics of the many Western nations that are experiencing the effects of the escalating Muslim grievance. Unfortunately, government policy is not reflecting this shift. Instead, it seems to be a policy of appeasement, designed not only to facilitate the hate-mongering of Islamist groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir, but also to further alienate and anger mainstream Australians concerned with such obvious and outrageous double standards.

Nothing better demonstrates this increasing alienation and anger than the massive volume of comments made online in response to the media coverage of the national anthem assault and Hizb ut-Tahrir conference proceedings, perhaps four or five times the number that might normally appear on controversial topics. For example, a story in The Australian on Hizb ut-Tahrir and the National Anthem went online at 1:04PM on Monday and had accumulated nearly a thousand responses by the end of the day, many extremely detailed, and most heartfelt and thoughtful.

It appears that people are fed up with government policies they perceive as wishy-washy at best. The overwhelming view was, as one comment put it,

I can’t stop laughing at how gullible Australian Politicians are, these radical Muslim preachers use democracies and freedom of speech to defeat us, and we do everything to accommodate them.

Even the observation of Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, that the Hizb ut-Tahrir speakers were “clowns”, was dismissed as an uninformed and superficial appreciation of the magnitude and existential nature of the Islamist threat. Typical comments were:

For Scott Morrison to label these dangerous terrorists as clowns, just shows how that the gov’t is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.  They’re dangerous and they should not be in our country.

In describing Hizb ut-Tahrir as ‘clowns’ Scott Morrison is being disingenious; much as David Cameron and Tony Abbott were when describing ISIL as being not really Islam. It is. We don’t want to be placated. The ideals of Hizb ut-Tahrir to establish a global caliphate to rule according to Sharia law is consistent with the ideals of Islam generally.

Morrison’s further claims that moderate Muslims are as appalled as he were similarly dismissed, as was the NSW $47 million ‘deradicalization’ program. One comment noted the performances of the new federal education minister, Simon Birmingham, and ALP frontbencher, Tony Burke, on Q&A on Monday night:

Tony Burke and the other birks and mealy-mouthed politicians, like Simon Birmingham, just said on Q&A we should be honoured the Anthem is perceived as a joyful event and therefore not to be sung during a Muslim month of morning. The Muslim voting bloc now has to be appeased.

Overall, the public commentary on these issues reveals an informed grip on Islam and the issues surrounding the Muslim insurgency far exceeding that demonstrated by professional politicians and the media, which are widely seen as out of touch and slipping behind in their grasp of the magnitude of the problem.

The contrasting treatment of Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Australian Liberty Alliance is a measure not only of a major political shift but also of the disaffection among voters caused by ill-considered government policies — a disaffection that could well shape the politics of the next federal parliament.

Comments [14]

  1. Jody says:

    “The voting public knows it”. Correct: game’s up!!

  2. wstarck says:

    A note of appreciation to Merv Bendle, one of the few academics with the courage to speak out against the mindless and oppressive conformity to the prevailing political correctness which now prevails across academia, politics and the media.

    • Jody says:

      I absolutely support those comments; it is a brave man indeed (like James Allan) who stands up against the group-think of academics.

      The global warming issue is one where dissent, like Muslim immigration, is being slowly stifled. The real concern, for me, is that the religion of global warming is being used as a Trojan Horse to promulgate the ideology of the whackadoodle Left with a view to seeing them installed in the majority of most major western governments.

  3. Bill Clark's nephew says:

    Merv, you and James Allan, and our fearless editor Roger, are to be commended for articulating the utter dismay and despair that many of us are feeling about the plight of our country. Thank you.

    Now, more than ever, it is time for our great national leaders, our Head of State and our Head of Government, to stand up and remind all citizens that the priceless gift of being an Australian demands in return respect for our laws, values, national anthem and our flag. Remind them that you cannot cherry-pick just those bits that suit you or your cause. But so far total silence from The Almighty Malcolm – nothing, nada, nix – and the same no-show from our be-knighted Governor-General. Where are you Mal and Sir Peter? Don’t you think it is part of your job-descriptions to take the lead in meeting challenges such as these to our country? Or do you think it is being statesmanlike to just sit on your hands and do nothing? Whether to respect our national anthem or not should not be left to silly muddle-headed teachers, or ignorant lefty state education ministers. Moreover, it should not be left to federal cabinet ministers to respond to them or to the ugly dangerous mobsters in the Hizb ut-Tahrir. That is the job for real leaders.

  4. Bill Martin says:

    Prominent Muslim leaders spell it out for us over and over: a genuine Muslim can not be an Australian. What part of that simple declaration do our spineless, yellow-bellied, craven, stupid, politicians, journalists, academics and other “leading lights” find so impossible to understand and accept? One can barely resist the urge to go out on the street and scream out one’s frustration. As a natural progression following the claims and assertions made by the leaders at the Hizb ut-Tahrir conference in Blacktown, we can fully expect them to formally declare war on us at any time. Will that register with our craven leaders? Or will they persist with their appeasement, saying, of course they are upset, we must understand and not jump to conclusions? The behaviour of our cowardly leaders surpasses anything the most vivid imagination could ever have conceived. It is nauseating!

    On the positive side, these despicable occurrences should greatly assist the chances of the Australian Liberty Alliance.

  5. Alistair says:

    Australians all let us rejoice
    Our land is girt by sea.

  6. Jack Richards says:

    The ALA definitely has my vote. I am so tired of being lied to and deliberately deceived by politicians of the ALP, LNP, and especially the Greens. Not so long ago the Caliph of the Islamic State declared war on the collective “west”. He instructed Muslims to “strike at the neck” and that’s just what we’ve seen here, in Europe and especially in Israel.

    No other migrant group has ever shot down random people in the street, attacked police, tried to silence any criticism of itself, produced two rape gangs deliberately targeting white girls and letting them know that it was a “race hate” crime; no other group has ever needed so much money to de-radicalise or imposed such a cost in security services, border protection, and specialised Middle-Eastern crime squads.

    They truly are a plague on this country and a clear and present danger.

    But we have utter dickheads from the PM and Premiers down through Senior police telling us “It’s just a few disaffected youths and has nothing to do with Islam”.

    Really, how stupid do they think we are?

    The suppression of the ALA and the treatment of Wilders proves to Muslims that the government are running scared. It also proves that an equal danger to this country is the radical left and that the MSM isn’t worth dried shit. You can’t believe anything in the papers or the TV news other than the football scores and yesterday’s weather. Everything is ideologically driven these days an journalism and academia are hotbeds of dogmatism and political correctness who will probably deny that Islam is a threat even while a child soldier of IS is cutting through their necks with a hunting knife.

    Surely we have learned that appeasing violent bullies never brings peace.

  7. Thanks Merv, you’re a breath of fresh air in a PC cesspit. I have spent time working in Muslim countries [one was Bangladesh] on Australian aid programs [Being a veterinarian I was a supposed expert in certain An Hus technical procedures.] I was laughed at on return by supposedly knowledgeable people when I predicted many years ago that the Muslims would be as big a pest/menace to us/western civilisation as were the communists. However I admit that I failed to realise that the so many of the left in academia and the media would so willingly embrace Islamic totalitarianism because I did not know then that many leftists have this suicidal sado-masochistic delusion that they will be able to use Islamic terrorism to weaken the west to the extent that they will be able to establish their secular socialist totalitarian nirvana.
    I know a little about refugees because I married the daughter of genuine refugees, Latvians fleeing communists. She was actually born in Australia 66 years ago [today] in a refugee camp in Greta NSW. What my in laws went through was much tougher than any of today’s economic immigrants ever face. Otto was an engineer and had to virtually start again, and was sent/conscripted to work in remote areas such as Cunnamulla. Like all previous migrants the Latvians [and other Baltic groups] merged relatively seamlessly into Australian society. The only group that hasn’t is the Muslims, and that is largely because they have been encouraged not to by leftists in the media and academia. Their religion is only an excuse.

    • Jack Richards says:

      Well said. The left who want to destroy the free enterprise system and install a socialist dictatorship see the Muslim threats and attacks on the USA as an ally. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. They truly think they can control Muslim excesses once the West has been brought to its knees.

      Back in the 1930s all the lefties claimed that the stories coming out of Russia about how rotten Stalin was were all lies and that it truly was a workers’ paradise; that there was no deliberate famine in the Ukraine and no such thing as the Gulag. They even believed the “Show Trials” because the accused confessed to the most ridiculous crimes. Robert Conquest, who wrote about what was really happening, was derided and dismissed as a crank and a propagandist. But when the USSR collapsed and the Soviet archives were open proving him right about everything he simply said “I told you so.”

  8. Stuart says:

    The hypocrisy is obviously due to the fact that the Australian Liberty alliance represents a threat to the politicians self interested goals of remaining in power , at whatever cost to the Australian people and our way of life.

  9. Simon says:

    Jamal Rifi and Co., hailed the election of Mr. Turnbull as a turning point in relations with the Muslim community. But he only means that he expects this will mean further concessions by our government.

    Muslims can never be asked, or expected, to give an inch. And with people like Hizb ut-Tahrir able to openly promote [radical] Islam who are aided and abetted every inch of the way by left-wing dullards, his expectation is more than justified.

    As to the $47m ‘anti-radicalization’ program from Mr. Baird – complete waste of money and time if ever there was one.

    Mr. Baird (and Mr. Rifi), if you really want to stop radicalization, here’s how to do it:

    1) Ban Hizb ut-Tahrir. They should have been kicked out ages ago

    2) Ban extremist teaching in our Mosques

    3) Ensure all citizens understand they are living in a secular, free society, and we want it to stay that way.

    Job done.

  10. Lemaha says:

    I am voting for the ALA. I like that they want to curtail Islam and they are going to look at thorium as an alternative power source. About time.