from a trabscript of ABC's PM - Hizbut Al Tahrir's spokesman outlines group's aims: Monday, 25 July , 2005 18:20:00, Reporter: Mark Colvin ...
MARK COLVIN: At the weekend the Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison backed a general review of Australia's anti-terror laws, pointing to people and groups which incite terrorist activities through religious preaching or writing. One group already under the spotlight is Hizb-ut-Tahrir, whose British arm is being investigated for alleged links to one of the London bombers.
Hizb-ut-Tahrir's spokesman in Australia is Wasim Doureihi. When I spoke to him this afternoon, he began by describing his group's aims.
WASIM DOUREIHI: Well Hizb-ut-Tahrir is an affiliated political party with a stated aim of resuming Islamic way of life by (inaudible) Islamic state ...
MARK COLVIN: When you say you want to establish an Islamic state, where?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Within the Muslim world can be one of those countries ... but the purpose of course is to unify the Islamic lands, to remove artificial borders that we imposed upon through the colonial empires of past.
...MARK COLVIN: So do you want to get back everything that belonged under the caliphate 200 years ago?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Absolutely, and beyond.......Now, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen overnight but at the end of the day, the political landscape within the Muslim world needs to be altered to conform with Islam, not western colonial interest.
MARK COLVIN: Now this restoration of a caliphate is one of the stated aims of Osama Bin Laden. Do you differ from him in any way?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Absolutely. ...Our methods of change is through intellectual and political work. We disallow violence as a means to establish our objectives, we engage through discussion, dialogue, discourse as a means to move the hearts and minds of the Muslims ...there are obvious challenges...
...MARK COLVIN: In 2002 on the British website of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, they posted a passage from the Koran saying "kill them wherever you find them" followed by material arguing that the Jews are a people of slander, a treacherous people, they are fabricate lies and twist words from their places.How is that non-violent?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Well the reality is we have to differentiate between what that article was espousing and the sphere in which that argument is constructed.What we're talking about…
MARK COLVIN: Kill them wherever you find them, that's violence isn't it?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Yes, but you have to answer the question. How you interpret this aya, or this verse, in the Koran.Now essentially what this verse is referring to is that when your land is occupied that you have a duty to reverse that occupation, and I think this is arguing…
MARK COLVIN: But the words say kill them wherever you find them.
WASIM DOUREIHI: Most definitely. But here we're talking about not as a method to achieve change, this verse in the Koran is specifically in reference to land that has come to be occupied, and the duty under Islam to reverse that occupation. This is completely separate to the work to achieve the change in order to establish an Islamic state.
MARK COLVIN: So where does that apply, where do you think that it's alright to kill Jews?
WASIM DOUREIHI: No one's espousing the killing of Jews. What we're saying is that…
MARK COLVIN: Well it does, sorry, that passage actually specifically does say it's alright to kill Jews.
WASIM DOUREIHI: This aya is in reference, this verse is in reference to occupiers. It's not specifically directed to Jews. It's directed to occupiers. Now that can be in Palestine, that can be in Iraq, that can be in Afghanistan and other places…
MARK COLVIN: But this passage that I'm quoting to you is about the Jews.
WASIM DOUREIHI: No it's not. That's…
MARK COLVIN: "For Jews are a people of slander". Do you agree with that? A treacherous people?
WASIM DOUREIHI: I'll agree with whatever Islam espouses.
MARK COLVIN: And what does Islam espouse when it comes to the Jews, according to you?
WASIM DOUREIHI: The issue here is bigger than the Jews. When you put it in the context of what we are trying to achieve…
MARK COLVIN: Well it can be the issue because he's put Hizb-ut-Tahrir, has been accused of being an anti-Semitic organisation. Is it an anti-Semitic organisation?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Well we have been accused of a lot of things. Our literature speaks for itself and our actions and our history speaks for itself.
MARK COLVIN: Well how about you speak for yourself and tell me whether you are an anti-Semitic organisation?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Well when we engage in the work to create the change, that change occurs for intellectual and political means. We're not about killing this person or that person. We are directly, directly aligned to the work to move the hearts and minds through discussion and debate.
MARK COLVIN: Okay, the simple question again. Are you anti-Semitic?
WASIM DOUREIHI: This is a matter that concerns the group itself. Now when you talk about the broader issues, about the Islamic viewpoint towards the Jews or towards any peoples, and clearly this is an issue that is beyond the Hizb itself.
MARK COLVIN: I'm sorry I'm going to ask you the question again. Is Hizb-ut-Tahrir an anti-Semitic organisation?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Well let me ask you, what exactly does anti-Semitic mean?
MARK COLVIN: Well I would have thought that the passage which I quoted before, "the Jews are a people of slander, a treacherous people who fabricate lies and twist words" would fall pretty squarely into the category of anti-Semitic.Do you accept those words or do you reject them?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Well I accept what the Islamic position is in respect of this point. Now, I don't hide any passage of the Koran and I don't apologise for any passage of the Koran.We have to be very clear about this point, but at the same time we have to be clear about what, how we interpret this passage of the Koran and the context in which it applies.It's not a blanket statement. It's not an official position in respect of how we should deal with certain people in all times at all places. It came down in a specific context, was applied in a specific context and most definitely should be implemented in its given context.
MARK COLVIN: If you were to establish this caliphate that you want to establish, would you go and live there or would you try to make Australia part of the caliphate?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Well I am a Muslim who was born in this country. My children will be born in this country. I am forever part of this country.
MARK COLVIN: Do you want Australia to be part of the caliphate?
WASIM DOUREIHI: Well the debate that needs to be had is that just because a peoples are born under certain conditions does not necessarily imply they have to accept those conditions.Definitely by virtue of my Islam I will propose, I will propose, through discussion, through debate, an alternative ideology.....