Australian Jews warn of radical anti-Israel group


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Jewish groups are expressing concern about a radical Islamic group banned in America that has held two recent conferences in Australia.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global movement that promotes a single Islamic state, or caliphate, is accused of promoting jihad and inciting anti-Israel and anti-Jewish invective.

It staged a conference in Sydney last month and a meeting in Melbourne on Sunday in a bid to recruit new members, prompting the Anti-Defamation Commission of B’nai B’rith to warn that “Australians would be foolish to ignore the violence and hatred this group has expressed in other countries.”

Jewish Community Council of Victoria President John Searle said he would be writing to the local government council to ensure that it was aware it rented its town hall to an anti-democratic group with a history of racial hatred.

“Hizb ut-Tahrir describes Israel as ‘a dagger in Muslim lands’ and argues that democracy is not for Muslims,” he said.

But in a statement on its website, Hizb ut-Tahrir said of the Melbourne meeting, “There is no room for anti-Semitism or another form of racism in Islam. In Palestine, Islam is in conflict with ‘Israelis’ not in their capacity as Jews but in their capacity as occupiers and aggressors.”

Despite two investigations by Australia’s counterterror organization, the group is allowed to operate in the country. Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in Germany, Russia and several Muslim countries.

Conservative British commentator Melanie Phillips in an article last month in The Australian newspaper blasted British Prime Minister David Cameron for failing to keep a pre-election promise to ban the organization.

“It has taken no legal action against it, despite calls by British Jewish leaders for Hizb ut-Tahrir to be prosecuted after it repeatedly called on its website for the killing of Jews and the annihilation of Israel,” Phillips wrote.


Recommended from JTA