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05 July 2011

Australian Troops 'fair game' for Muslims in war on Afghanistan, Hizb ut-Tahrir believe

674197-muslim-conference.jpgAUSTRALIAN troops fighting in Afghanistan are "fair game" and Muslims "have an obligation" to target them, a spokesman for a Muslim conference in Sydney said yesterday.

Branding the Afghan war a western invasion, Uthman Badar, from the radical Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, said: "If our members exist in a country where an occupation has occurred, in capacity as individuals they would have an obligation to resist."

Asked directly if he condoned the killing of Australian troops in Afghanistan, Mr Badar replied: "If you are occupying someone else's land those victimised people have the right to resist."

He also refused to condemn tactics such as suicide bombing as long as "innocent non-combatants" were not targeted. He was speaking as hundreds of Muslims gathered in Lidcombe, in Sydney's west, to promote their call for the creation of an Islamic state ruled by sharia law, stretching from Spain to Australia. The group has already been banned in many countries overseas, including parts of the Middle East.

While our forces joined the war in Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden and fight the Taliban after the September 11, 2001, attacks, Mr Badar said the Australian government had no business being in Afghanistan.

"You have no business in interfering with the people of the Muslim world," he said. "Military occupation should be resisted militarily. People there have a right to resist."

Mr Badar also weighed into the debate about whether women wearing burqas who are stopped by police should be forced to reveal their faces, saying it was part of a concerted political attack on the religion.

"The issue is not really the burqa," he said. "The issue that policymakers have is with Islam itself."

The group, which claims to be the largest Islamic political party on earth, operating in 40 countries, is enjoying growing influence in our region with a series of Indonesian events in the last month drawing 150,000 people.

But chairman of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, Keysar Trad, said the views of Hizb ut-Tahrir were not shared by the majority of mainstream Australian Muslims. "We would like to see the conflict in Afghanistan resolved peacefully and Australian troops return home safely," he said.

Mr Trad added that Western support for Arab democracy movements was strengthening relationships with the Islamic community.

Outside the conference, police were forced to call for reinforcements, including the dog squad, when a group of about a dozen members of the Australian Protectionist Party chanting "no sharia law in Australia" almost came to blows with young men from the Hizb ut-Tahrir event.

Protest organiser and APP NSW chairman Darrin Hodges said: "Hizb ut-Tahrir have been banned in most Islamic countries in the Middle East. We don't understand why they have not been banned here."



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