Australian media is full of suggestions that the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, will ban Hizb ut-Tahrir as part of his national security announcement this Monday.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a fundamentalist Islamic organisation. As it says on its Australian website:
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political party whose ideology is Islam, so politics is its work and Islam is its ideology. It works within the Ummah and together with her, so that she adopts Islam as her cause and is led to restore the Khilafah and the ruling by what Allah (swt) revealed. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political group and not a priestly one. Nor is it an academic, educational or a charity group. The Islamic thought is the soul of its body, its core and the secret of its life.
Readers will of course remember the shock and then outrage when 2 Islamic terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo in Paris and killed 12 people. The clamour to defend free speech was overwhelming. Who can forget the parade of hypocritical world leaders in Paris a few days later proclaiming Je suis Charlie? Here is a photo to remind you.
Will any of the Je suis Charlie crowd be defending Hizb ut-Tahrir and its rights to freedom of speech and association? No.
After all, Charlie Hebdo was a magazine whose main role was to attack Muslims in France, an oppressed group. In doing that it reinforced the power of the State and the racists in the name of secularity.
Hizb ut-Tahrir represents one response to the alienation that is found both in capitalist society generally and in Australia and a repudiation of bloody Western Imperialism and its invasions of and control over Muslim countries through overt and covert means.
None of our political rulers will defend Hizb ut-Tahrir. They believe in free speech for the oppressors, not the oppressed.
Banning Hizb ut-Tahrir sets a precedent. If ‘dangers to society’ like it can be outlawed, what about socialist organisations that argue for a new world, a democratic society in which production is organised to satisfy human need?
Oh, that would never happen, I hear you say. It is only terrorist organisations that the State will target.
Not true. In World War I the Hughes government banned the Industrial Workers of the World, made membership illegal and closed down their printing presses.
After the Second World War the Menzies government banned the Communist Party of Australia. The High Court held the ban was unconstitutional.
The various anti-bikie laws currently in place in a number of States aren’t just capable of applying to so-called criminal bikie gangs. In Queensland for example any organisation can be declared an outlaw group.
Remember David Hicks, Mamdouh Habib and Muhamed Haneef. Remember David Eastman. Remember the tens of thousands of asylum seekers and their children we lock up for no crime. Remember all the Aborigines our rulers imprison and our police silence.
I have no truck with Hizb ut-Tahrir. However if we seriously believe in freedom of speech and association, and understand the sorry history in Australia and elsewhere of silencing people, including the left, then we have to defend the group against attempts to ban it. Je suis Hizb ut-Tahrir.