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Race-hate complaint against Hizb ut-Tahrir to be fast-tracked


By Anthony Klan

THE NSW government has said it will deal with complaints brought against Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir by the Jewish community as “expediously as possible” because it is a matter of serious concern to the broader community.

NSW Anti-Discrimination Board president Stepan Kerkyasharian said he legally had 28 days to assess complaints of racial vilification brought by the Jewish Board of Deputies but he would progress the case as quickly as possible. “These matters need to be dealt with as expediously as possible,” he said. “It is obviously something that is of concern to the broader community as well.”

On Monday Jewish Board of Deputies president Jeremy Spinack and chief executive Vic Alhadeff wrote to the discrimination board seeking to have two key Hizb ut-Tahrir members — including spiritual head Ismail al-Wahwah — prosecuted under race-hate laws for allegedly calling for violence against Jews.

At a gathering last July in Lakemba in Sydney’s west, Mr Wahwah delivered a speech in Arabic calling for Muslims to engage in jihad to “rid” the world of Jewish “hidden evil” and threatening violence against Jewish people.

Hizb ut-Tahrir yesterday hit back at the Jewish Board of Deputies’ complaint, accusing Mr Alhadeff of “falsely exploiting the words of Hizb ut-Tahrir”.

“The comments in question were made at the time of the most recent offensive against the people of Gaza, an offensive that indiscriminately razed homes, schools, hospitals and mosques, killing thousands of men, women and children in the process,” a statement from the group said.

“Any words expressed at that time must necessarily be viewed in the context of this aggression, and any references to Jews in this context must necessarily be viewed as reference to Jewish occupation.”

If Mr Kerkyasharian decides a “serious breach” of discrimination laws has occurred he can request the Attorney-General and the Department of Public Prosecutions launch criminal action. If he determines a lesser, “unlawful”, breach has occurred, the Anti-Discrimination Board can host a “mediation session” between the Jewish community and Hizb ut-Tahrir.

If mediation is unsuccessful — that is, no party admits fault — then the case goes to the Administrative Tribunal which can impose fines of up to $100,000.

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