Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday the deployment of additional AFP personnel at Australia’s airports under the newly formed Protection Operation Response Team (PORT). The $107 million initiative will reportedly see military style policing at airports with its members armed with MK-18 short-barrel rifles and carrying face recognition technology whilst undertaking ‘scoping’ and ‘behavioural assessment’ duties.
In light of the incessantly intrusive politicisation of security in the ‘war on terror’ (WOT) era, Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia would like to make the following comments:
1. Scott Morrison says this initiative is needed in response to the new set of realities in which we live. What he has conveniently failed to mention is the fact Western governments are the architects of the political and security instability we all face today. Two decades of the WOT has made the world less safe, not more.
2. The deployment of facial recognition technology is consistent with the Orwellian trajectory of WOT policies. The line has shifted so significantly in two decades that little argument needs to be made today about ‘due process’ or ‘rule of law’. Security is the new civility.
3. In a move that will make even China blush, the new technology will undoubtedly be used disproportionately against Muslims, a fact that is already evident with existing experiences, existing powers and existing technologies. The racial profiling of Australia’s Muslim population is near complete.
4. Although funding for this initiative was announced in the last budget, this latest announcement, with its specific details, comes on the back of more terror raids and at a time of peak travel. It’s a well-worn cycle, where terror raids are splashed across our screens, public anxieties heightened, and new laws or new powers deployed without question.
The exploitation of security for political purposes shows no signs of abating. The government wants to talk tough about a perceived ‘threat’, while China is actually threatening Australia’s security.
5. It is not without coincidence that at a time of a struggling economy, where cuts to vital services have been unashamedly announced, the Morrison government still pours millions of dollars into security at the behest of its agencies. Whilst ASIO and the AFP endlessly fill their coffers, and the government beefs up their electoral chances, the question of who really benefits from these initiatives needs to be asked that much more urgently.
Media Office of Hizb ut-Tahrir
7th December 2019
The abuse carried out by the two police officers is but a representation of the wider political order
Body cam footage showed two officers racially abusing and mistreating two Muslim women of Afghan background. Any mistreatment of this nature is confronting and upsetting, as it represents the abuse of power against the vulnerable, and abuse by those who are entrusted with upholding the safety and security of citizens. Though the like of these incidents, and worse, have been meted out to other marginalised sections of the community, this time it was visibly Muslim women in hijab that were the target. Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia makes the following comments in this regard:
– Abuse of power is a hallmark of the western political order. Increasing discontent is giving rise to protests, demonstrations and clashes against the establishments the world over, whether the source of discontent emanates from the faltering capitalist economic policies, ideological shifts or from the pure marginalisation and mistreatment by those in authority against groupings. Australia is no exception, with decades of abuse and propaganda against minority groups, increasing surveillance upon the population, exclusive and unchecked power being concentrated to a particular office, prosecution laws against whistle-blowers and the like, all contributing to localised discontent.
– In the last two decades specifically, Muslims have been the subject of a vicious, deliberate and dangerous propaganda campaign, resulting at worst, in events such as the Christchurch massacre. Questioning our allegiances, introduction of anti-terror laws known to target the Muslim community, widely publicised raids, media demonisation of Islam and Muslims, disproportionate and exaggerated negative coverage of Muslims with emphasis on their religion, CVE funded programs, attacks on Islamic injunctions, state bullying and singling out of Muslim children and their beliefs, terror related press conferences by Prime ministers flanked by law enforcement officials, the list is as long as it is ugly.
– It is only expected that what we witnessed of abuse and bullying by law enforcement officers trickled down from the political and ideological mainstream. Many more such incidents have reportedly occurred, though not reported upon. This is the underbelly of mainstream politics, largely unchecked and enjoying the silent blessings of the political class.
– Muslims not only have to endure wholesale oppression and abuse by invading Western security forces dressed in fatigues abroad, but also endure abusive discrimination by authorities in suits and uniform locally.
– Western secular liberalism is faltering spectacularly. Humanity is suffering under the current political world order. Islam stands as the shining example to lift humanity out of its current oppressed state. Muslims understand that there are exploitative forces unwilling to change the status quo. Although no one wishes injustice upon themselves, Muslims will patiently face it for a better world for all.
Media Office of Hizb ut-Tahrir
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