Well, that is quite a story on tonight’s 7.30 Report about The Mine and the weird Islamic fundamentalists. It is worth revisiting my diary for July 28 2005, July 27 2005 and July 26 2005. There were many earliier entries on Diary-X referring to the Islamic Student Forum in 2003, but they sadly have gone. There have been two forums since, but I did not attend them. My friend the Mufti of Watson’s Bay was one of the speakers at the first and second ones, and in fact told the students in no uncertain terms before the second one to make sure no “total crap” was handed out. The bulk of the sessions was reasonable, or where fundie/conservative (not the Mufti, that’s for sure!) it was sadly like Christian and Jewish glazed-eye literalists, the usual “I have a hotline to God” routine, you know: “The Book says, and it’s true because the Book says it’s true and when the Book says it is true it is true because the Book says it’s true because it is a True Book etc — in eternal circularity…” Mister Tariq, the principal fundie at the seminar, seemed to take everything literally and regarded Abraham, for example, as his best mate and as real and as knowable as John Howard. He also had this line where covering your wife (as in hijab) was cool because she was a precious possession, and just as you’d cover your Porsche if you had one… (Mind you, head scarves don’t offend me in the least if that’s what the wearers want to do; they even look rather nice quite often.)
All of which is sad, and the Khilafah mob are crazy as cut snakes in many respects. The argument on The 7.30 Report last night went thus:
JONATHAN HARLEY: The group may be small in Australia, but Hizb ut-Tahrir spans the globe. It’s strongest in Central Asian republics where it’s being fiercely repressed by authoritarian regimes threatened by its radical ideology. The party is banned too in a number of Arab countries. In Russia and Germany it’s listed as a terrorism group and in Denmark a Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman has been convicted of submitting anti-Semitic propaganda, the substance of which an Australian spokesman has refused to renounce.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL CRISPIN BLACK, TERRORISM INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: A lot of people call it a conveyor belt towards terrorism, others have called it a precursor organisation towards terrorism.
We now know Khilafah and Hizb ut-Tahrir are one and the same, which is very recent knowledge for those of us on the outside of the Muslim community. In 2003 on Diary-X I wrote:
Khilafah: extreme but not necessarily terrorist
In a wholesale rejection of what we in the West might call the postmodern condition, in a yearning for a pure and noble state rooted in the dream of the past, in rejecting the undeniable humiliation of Muslims over the past few centuries and the depradations of the capitalist and imperialist world, very many seem now to be turning to a movement that I can only see as ultimately disastrous. It should definitely be added that not all people who adhere even to these views are terrorists or condone random violence, but there can be no doubt that it is such an ideology that drives those Islamists who are terrorists, just as anarchism and communism inspired terrorism in the past.
Is Khilafah the communism of the 21st century?
We should recall that just as in McCarthyist times thoughtful people who criticised US policy, or who questioned this or that about capitalism, were labelled as “Commies”, “dupes”, or “fellow-travellers”, often without justification, so too today any Muslim or Muslim group who questions the assumptions and policies of the US government is likely to be labelled “a conveyor belt to terrorism”. We do need to be careful. Was David Lange “a conveyor belt to terrorism”?
Let’s hope the HSC English course subverts my young friends thoroughly with its emphasis on what a text is, multiplicity of readings, nature of “representation” and importance of context, and that they proceed not to insulate their Holy Book from the rules of textuality.
I was glad to see, when I dropped into the Islamic Students’ meeting last Thursday, that they were mucking around with a tennis ball when they were meant to be praying…
They are really nice kids in fact; what they do in the school is done under exactly the same rules that apply to the Christian group and the Jewish group.
Entry revised 23 August. See also on this blog “Muslim Marginal Man”.