The Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir has called on the Australian government to “mind its own business” in the Middle East and get out of Afghanistan, saying insurgents have an obligation to fight back.
Up to 700 people attended the group’s third annual conference, titled Uprising in the Muslim World: On the road to Khilafah, at Lidcombe in Sydney’s west on Sunday.
Hizb ut-Tahrir says its vision is to establish a global caliphate, or Islamic state, including an independent judiciary. The group is banned from public activity in Germany and outlawed in some Middle Eastern countries.
Sunday’s conference questioned the role of Western governments in the riots and political upheaval across north Africa and the Middle East during the so-called Arab Spring.
Uthman Badar, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s spokesman, criticised the role of western governments in the events.
“Western governments led by the United States and the United Kingdom have played a very intrusive and exploitative role in these uprisings,” he said.
Mr Badar pointed to “cosy relationships” between international leaders and Middle Eastern dictators, including a meeting between foreign minister Kevin Rudd and then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in the presidential palace in December 2010.
The meeting occurred just two months before Mr Mubarak was ousted.
“We say to the government of the United States and Europe that you are on the side of your puppet regimes and that the uprisings of these people against your tin-pot dictators is an uprising against you as well.”
Mr Badar called on the Australian government to “mind its own business” in the Middle East and withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
He said people in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel had an “obligation” to resist military occupation.
“If it’s a military occupation they should resist militarily,” he said.
“Certainly if our members exist in a country where an occupation has occurred in capacity as individuals they would have an obligation (to resist).”
When asked if he condoned the killing of Australian troops in Afghanistan, Mr Badar replied: “If you are occupying someone else’s land then those victimised people have the right to resist”.
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s vision is to establish a global caliphate or Islamic state, which would include an independent judiciary and equal rights for citizens regardless of religion or race.
The conference included five talks from Islamic scholars, a reading from the Koran and videos about the recent uprisings.
Among the audience was controversial Sydney Sheik Man Haron Monis, who was accused of sending offensive letters to family members of dead Australian soldiers in 2009.
Outside, in a nearby park, members of the extreme right wing Australian Protectionist Party (APP) called on the government to ban the group, labelling it a “conveyor belt for terrorism”.
The dozen-strong group held banners rejecting Sharia law and draped themselves in Australian flags.
Darrin Hodges, NSW Chairman for APP, said Hizb tu-Tahrir “incited violence” and was banned in most Islamic countries.
“We don’t understand why they aren’t banned in Australia,” Mr Hodges said.
Germany has banned the group from public activity, which Hizb ut-Tahrir said was subject to a legal challenge.
The group said it was banned in some countries in the Middle East due to its political activism.