The government is on a collision course with its Muslim advisory group over its claim that Hizbollah should not be considered a terrorist organisation.
The Muslim Community Reference Group is considering writing to Prime Minister John Howard asking the government to reconsider its listing of the militant arm of Hizbollah as a terrorist organisation….
Mr Howard made it clear Wednesday the government had no intention of removing the militant arm of Hizbollah from its official list of terrorist organisations.
“No chance, full stop. No chance at all (of removing Hizbollah from the list),” Mr Howard told reporters.
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the decision to ban Hizbollah, which was first listed in 2003, had not been made lightly.
“They’re not decisions which are political,” he said….
“I’m not aware of any information that would suggest we should reconsider proscription of the military wing of Hizbollah.”
But Ameer Ali, chairman of the Muslim advisory group set up last year in the wake of the London terrorist bombings, says Hizbollah should not be lumped in with groups like al-Qaeda.
“They should not condemn Hizbollah as a terrorist group,” he told AAP.
“I don’t think they should judge that they are simply a terrorist organisation like al-Qaeda.
“It is part of Lebanese politics.”…
Dr Ali believes the government’s assessment of Hizbollah is clouded by the US and Israel.
“We are of the opinion that the Australian government does not have an independent foreign policy with regard to the Middle East,” he told ABC Radio.
“We go along with whatever the Americans say and the Americans go along with whatever the Israeli lobby says.”