THE hardline Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir has started posting professionally produced propaganda video clips on YouTube.
The clips, some lasting almost 10 minutes, posted on the internet video-sharing site depict Muslims being attacked by Western forces and asks “for how much longer?”
Produced by the group’s Malaysian branch, the clips call on Muslims to “arise and shake off the dust” of European colonialism and show members marching in support of Palestinians to the commentary “O armies of the Muslim world, we wait for your help”.
US intelligence analyst Madeleine Gruen has warned that the younger generation’s pioneering spirit has made Hizb ut-Tahrir one of the world’s most innovative extremist groups.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in Europe, China and countries in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia.
However, it remains active in Britain and Australia, promoting the idea of an international caliphate, or Muslim government, to run countries with a majority Muslim population under sharia law.
Only Muslim-majority countries? Then, why is it active in Britain and Australia, among other places?
Barry Rubin, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says the group has been banned in the Middle East because people there understand the dangers, but is allowed to continue operating in the West because its governments
fail to appreciate the group prepares people mentally for terrorism.
Professor Rubin, also the director of Israel’s Global Research for International Affairs Centre, has called on the Australian Government to outlaw the group.
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has said the status of Hizb ut-Tahrir is under constant review, but said last week the threshold test for banning an organisation was the involvement in or advocacy of terrorism.
Ms Gruen says that five years ago most Western observers considered Hizb ut-Tahrir’s goal of overthrowing governments to replace them with a caliph was unrealistic and unlikely to resonate with Western Muslims.
How about now?
The group used to have a presence in about 40 countries but that has now grown to 45.
She argues the group’s membersip has swelled and several branches, including Australia’s, have become large enough to move from their “covert gestational phase to a publicly active stage”.