The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal handed down its decision this week in the farcical case of sex discrimination brought against Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia in October 2014. Whilst much can be said about this case, there is little of benefit to be said about it to an increasingly hostile media and political establishment. There is, however, much of benefit to be expounded for our Muslim community. It is for her we emphasise the following considerations.
1. First and foremost, it is imperative to appreciate that the issue here is not about segregation per se at all. Rather, this is yet another manifestation of a pernicious political agenda to subjugate (secularise and liberalise) Islam. Many an aspect of Islam has been attacked in the same vein: the hijab, niqab, halal slaughter, masajid, Islamic centres, charities and schools. In recent times, the calls from political leaders to “reform” Islam have been louder and more explicit than ever before.
2. The reality of insidious government intervention in the Muslim community generally is a palpable reality acutely felt across the community. Under the pretext of countering “terrorism” and “radicalization”, the Muslim community has been violated in a myriad of ways. Her masajid and centres have been spied on, her leaders have been co-opted to work for the government agenda, her youth have been provoked and trampled upon by security forces and made an example of by draconian anti-terror laws, and her ranks have been divided into “moderates” and “radicals” with the former used to attack the latter, among other things.
3. Within the context of this general targeting of the community, there is a more specific and focused targeting of voices of resistance. Voices who have called out government policy for what it is. This is the reason Hizb ut-Tahrir is consistently targeted, namely, because of its consistent principled stances: the exposition and rejection of government intervention; the exposition and rejection of the ‘war on terror’ narrative; clear calls and work for the liberation of the Muslim world from western subjugation and the establishment of Khilafah and Shari’ah. Anyone who adopts such positions, as is the mandate of Islam itself, is systematically targeted.
4. In years gone by, federal and state governments have restricted themselves to dealing with Hizb ut-Tahrir through false propaganda and frivolous calls to ban it at election time for cheap political value. Early in 2015, the previous Abbott Coalition Government went a step further giving serious consideration to this strategy. However, the plan to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir was eventually shelved – if only for the legal and political difficulty of going through with such a ban – in favour of strategy to create obstacles in its path. This is precisely what has followed, pitiful hindrances design to obstruct: refusing visas for overseas visitors, banning speakers from universities and other platforms, pressuring masajid committees to prevent sermons, councils refusing to hire out venues, and ridiculous legal cases about anti-Semitism and sexual discrimination.
5. If political authorities thought such dismal tactics would intimidate or slow the work of Hizb ut-Tahrir, they were woefully mistaken. Despite all these tactics and consistent negative propaganda, it has been business as usual for Hizb ut-Tahrir, by the grace of Allah, the Exalted. Indeed, our last conference in November 2015, was of the most successful and influential yet.
6. It is imperative for the Muslim community in general and those who carry the noble da’wah of Islam in particular to see this struggle for what it is: the local manifestation of the global struggle between Islam and kufr, and to stand all the more firmly for Islam. Be in no two minds about the truth of what Allah (swt) has informed us in His book. The kuffar seek to dominate and subjugate for lowly ends and to deviate us from the path of Allah, and they will not be satisfied of anything less than that their beliefs and ways are actually or effectively adopted.
7. Hizb ut-Tahrir intends to continue leading the way in this respect, seeking the help of Allah first and foremost and then the support of you, the noble Muslims of our blessed community. The pressure to compromise is great but if the noble Prophet (saw) is our model, as he must be, then compromise is not for us an option. Following in his noble footsteps, we must continue to speak the truth, steadfastly and plainly, and to stand against all oppression and injustice. We must not change our ways due to pressure or, worse, turn insular and be silenced.
8. As for issue of gender segregation, it is a fundamental aspect of Islamic social practice established by the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah by consensus of the ulama. This is not the first time this noble Islamic practice has been the subject of western charges of sexual discrimination. The truth is that just as the west disingenuously universalises its truth claims, it does the same with its (dark) history and experience. “Segregation” conjures up meanings and images of intense negativity in the western psyche: the very real oppression of women and black people over centuries. Islam affirmed the fundamental equivalent humanity and value of both genders from its inception fourteen centuries ago, at a time when the western tradition was blaming women for the “fall of humanity” and debating whether she was even human. There is little more to say here than that the west needs to stop projecting its history and experience on everyone else.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia
06 March 2016
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