‘Innocent Until Proven Muslim’ Conference Tackles Government Intervention in Muslim Community
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia successfully, by the grace of Allah (swt), held its major conference for 2015 on Sunday 1 Nov. Entitled “A Community Criminalised: Innocent Until Proven Muslim?” the conference focused on the reality of government intervention in the Muslim community. A capacity audience of about a thousand members of the community gathered to hear prominent local and international speakers talk about the what, how, and why of an ever-increasing insidious intervention by federal and state authorities at all levels of the Muslim community.
Uthman Badar outlined the flawed nature of the “war on terror” narrative used by government and media to justify intervention in the community. He showed that “terrorism” is an issue abused by the government to force assimilation of Muslims and impose on them a localised, apolitical, secular Islam, and to deflect from the real issues that plague this country like drugs, alcohol and domestic violence.
Wassim Doureihi went through developments in counter-terrorism strategy since the last Government Intervention in the Muslim Community (GIMC) conference in 2013, with specific focus on escalations by the previous Abbott government. He emphasised that much of the policy is intended purely to intimidate the community into falling in line with the government agenda for it.
Ismail Al-Wahwah addressed the question of why Muslims are being targeted, looking at the broader global western strategy of dealing with Islam and Muslims. He said that the struggle between Islam and kufr is as old as time, the same struggle every prophet faced. Thus the Muslim community must remain strong and stand for Islam.
Melbourne-based lawyer Ataman Atlas provided a legal perspective, highlighting the need for the Muslim community to be aware of their legal rights and to avail them. He also emphasised that more Muslim organisation needs to be vocal on this issue and speak out against government injustices.
Olisyah Azis presented potential responses to the ever-increasing government intervention that can serve as a means to empower the Muslim community. She stressed the importance of the community coming together on this issue and supporting community initiatives.
Palestinian Sheikh Isaam Ameira delivered a message of support from Palestine to the Muslims of Australia via a video message from Masjid al-Aqsa. Ibtihal Bsis, a lawyer and community activist from the United Kingdom, advised the audience by video message on how serious the situation in the United Kingdom has become and how Muslims in Australia can learn from the experience of the Muslim community in the UK.
A well-received feature documentary was screened that connected the overall counter terrorism narrative with the experiences of the Muslim community. Specific focus was given to a number of individuals who were interviewed about the personal and troubling instances of government intervention they had faced.
A key part of the conference was the session on testimonials from members of the audience who outlined how government intervention had personally affected them. Moving accounts were shared, ranging from of excessive and unjustified searches at the airport to abusive conditions for Muslim inmates at Supermax.
We thank those who came forward to share their experiences, which is not an easy thing to do, and make du’a that Allah reward them and facilitate for them a way out of their difficulty. We also thank the community at large for coming to the conference in large numbers. A conference like this cannot be successful without community participation. Allah reward all those who attended and make this conference a source of great benefit for the community.
All videos of talks can be viewed directly from the links above or from the GIMC website here.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia
5th November 2015
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