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Hizb ut-Tahrir leader’s race-hate speech fails to trigger action




THE AUSTRALIAN - August 19 2015

By: Anthony Klan

NSW authorities have failed to decide on whether they will take action against the leader of Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir over an alleged race-hate speech, despite the state anti-discrimination board calling for a “swift response” after a formal complaint was made almost five months ago.

In March, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies lodged a complaint against Hizb ut-Tahrir’s top Australian cleric, Ismail al-Wahwah, after video footage surfaced of him calling on Muslims to “rid” the world of Jewish “hidden evil”. Weeks later NSW Anti-Discrimination Board president Stephan Kerkyasharian determined a “serious breach” of race-hate laws had occurred and referred the case to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions and NSW police.

If the DPP or police are to take action against Mr Wahwah, they will be required to do so within weeks because under race-hate provisions action must be taken within six months of a complaint being lodged.

In the 26 years since anti-discrimination legislation was enacted in NSW in 1989, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board has referred 30 cases to the DPP.

The DPP has not prosecuted one of those referrals.

Mr Kerkyasharian said he was concerned by the perceived lack of action by the DPP and police. “I would have expected this matter would have been resolved one way or another by now,” he told The Australian. NSW DPP spokeswoman Anna Cooper said police had approached the DPP for advice on the matter, which had been provided, but she could not comment further.
“Details of advice provided to the NSW police is privileged and the NSW police have the legal privilege to discuss the details of the advice should they choose to do so,” Ms Cooper said.

A police spokeswoman would not comment on the matter other than to say: “The matter is still under investigation and waiting to be finalised.”
The DPP has come under fierce criticism in recent weeks at the coronial inquest into Sydney’s Lindt cafe siege because of its failure to act to prevent gunman Man Haron Monis from being released on bail over earlier offences. The DPP has also angered families of victims of the siege by using legal techniques to try to have documents relating to Monis’s bail scrapped from the inquest.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an Islamist group that calls for the overthrow of Western democracies and the creation of a worldwide Islamic caliphate. Its stated aim is not to use violence to achieve this goal but to do so using democratic processes.

Earlier this year, Tony Abbott said the government was considering banning Hizb ut-Tahrir. The group has substantially lowered its profile in recent months and its Australian web page has been down since at least the weekend.

The group has previously denied the allegations it had breached race-hate laws and said it “never advocates violence”.
 



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