Venue for Muslim conference cancelled

Issue 

The decision this month by Bankstown City Council, in Sydney's western suburbs, to cancel the venue for the January 27 Khilafah Conference "speaks volumes of the empty rhetoric surrounding the supposed noble epitomes of western liberal democracy", said Wassim Doureihi, spokesperson for Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, in a January 10 media statement.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia said that the council unilaterally withdrew the availability of Bankstown Town Hall for the conference without proper explanation or consultation. "Bankstown City Council will have to explain to the Muslim community and the wider Australian audience why it deems it unacceptable for the Muslim community to advocate for peaceful political change in the Muslim world, to campaign for representative government in the Muslim world and to see the end of tyranny and dictatorship in the Muslim world ...

"The Council has set a dangerous precedent by transforming itself into the public thought police. The council has publicly declared that constructive political discourse is only acceptable when Islam is removed from the national conversation."

Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia pointed out that Attorney-General Philip Ruddock "has acknowledged that there is no basis under Australian law to ban the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir ... Speaking on Southern Cross Radio on January 8, Ruddock stated: 'We looked very closely at the organisation some time ago to see whether or not it met the criteria to be banned as a terrorist organisation in Australia … It doesn't mean that we agree with what it's saying, but there are strict criteria for banning organisations and when those enquiries were undertaken we didn't have sufficient evidence.'"

Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia said it will pursue legal avenues to contest the council's decision and, despite repeated rejections, will continue to request a meeting with the council to discuss the issue.