A leader of a hardline Islamist group which campaigns for sharia law says Muslims who leave the religion should be put to death.
Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar was frank when asked about the group’s policy at a forum in Bankstown, in Sydney’s south-west, on Saturday night.
‘The ruling for apostates as such in Islam is clear, that apostates attract capital punishment and we don’t shy away from that,’ Badar said in the presence of children. An apostate is someone who decides to leave Islam.
His extraordinary admission was exclusively captured on camera by Daily Mail Australia and the matter has now been referred to the Australian Federal Police by Justice Minister Michael Keenan.
Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar confirmed his group supports killing apostates
Freelance journalist Alison Bevege holds up section 7c of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s constitution
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia removed references to that apostasy policy from its website as Alison Bevege, a freelance journalist, sued the group for making her to sit in a women’s-only section at a separate talk in October 2014.
On Saturday night, Ms Bevege held up a printed copy of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s draft constitution of the khilafah state published on the UK site, which was on the group’s Australian website until 2015.
This outlines their vision for a global Islamic caliphate, which has Muslims and non-Muslims living under sharia law.
She asked about their policy of killing people born as Muslims who leave the faith.
Article 7c of the document said: ‘Those who are guilty of apostasy (murtadd) from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have by themselves renounced Islam.’
Badar initially responded by saying the policy wasn’t on its website before explaining how the group’s apostasy policy was compatible with Islam.
‘The whole thing covers different aspects of Islamic sharia law,’ he said.
‘The role of apostasy in Islam is very clear. Again, this is one of the things the West doesn’t like and seeks to change the role of apostasy.’
A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan condemned language that incites or advocates violence.
‘Language that incites or advocates violence is not freedom of speech,’ the spokeswoman said.
‘This matter has been referred to the AFP.’
Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar’s remarks came as he delivered the keynote lecture for the forum – ‘Sharia and the modern age’
Alison Bevege (pictured) confronted Uthman Badar at the forum, which was advertised by Hizb ut-Tahrir
He said Islam was incompatible with a secular separation of religion and state, democracy, individual rights and even the process of science, which he called ‘scientism’.
He compared calls to fit Islam within a secular society to domesticating a wild animal, putting Hizb ut-Tahrir at odds with secular Muslims who reject sharia law.
‘The West seeks to domesticate Islam, to control, to bring within, the way you domesticate animals,’ he said.
Badar described calls to reform Islam from secular Muslims as ‘pernicious’, ‘insidious’ and ‘dangerous’ and called for radical change.
‘Always when you hear these sorts of calls, alarm bells should ring,’ he said.
‘The Islam people are calling for fits very well within modernity. They’re giving in to the pressure to conform.’
Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesmen Wassim Doureihi (left) and Uthman Badar (right) in February 2015
About 100 people were at the publicly-advertised lecture with men making up about two-thirds of the audience.
Women were segregated from the men on the left-hand side of the room, apart from Ms Bevege who stood at the back.
Following the lecture, a group of men followed Daily Mail Australia to a parked car.
One older man bizarrely demanded to know if men and women had equality in Australia.
Shakil Ahmed, pictured, attended the talk and said it was depressing to hear Hizb ut-Tahrir voice their support for killing ex-Muslims in Australia
An ex-Muslim from Bangladesh, Shakil Ahmed, attended the talk and later described his disgust with Hizb ut-Tahrir and Islamists, which orchestrated marches in his home country in 2013.
Islamists staged marches in the capital Dhaka after the murder of gay rights activists and atheist bloggers.
‘Their primary demand was the death of apostates and blasphemers,’ Mr Ahmed, 20, told Daily Mail Australia.
He said it was depressing to hear Hizb ut-Tahrir voice their support for the killing of ex-Muslims in Australia.
‘What I felt instinctively is that the reason I left my country was so that I could escape from the exact same people that I found in that room,’ he said.
As an ex-Muslim atheist in Bangladesh, he was discreet about his beliefs.
‘Apart from a close circle of family and friends, we don’t integrate with others as we don’t know how they would react to our views,’ he said.
Another Bangladeshi student Shubhajit Bhowmik also attended the lecture.
The Hindu blogger was on the same death list as atheist blogger Avajit Roy when he got hacked to death in 2015 in Dhaka for promoting secularism.
Farabi Shafiur Rahman, an extremist blogger and member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Bangladesh was arrested in connection with Roy’s murder.
‘Once you escape from death, then you will hardly find things that will scare you,’ Mr Bhowmik told Daily Mail Australia about seeing Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia leaders in the flesh.
Hizb ut-Tahrir supporters in Bangladesh have been known to target ex-Muslims and atheists
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in Bangladesh since 2009 but this didn’t stop them demonstrating in the capital Dhaka in late 2013
Another Islamist group of religious madrassah teachers, Hefazat e Islam, circulated hit lists of Bangladesh and emerged after Hizb ut-Tahrir was banned in 2009.
Like Hizb ut-Tahrir, they have campaigned in Bangladesh to dismantle parliamentary democracy, scrap aspects of the constitution that contradict sharia law and wind back women’s rights.
The latest revelation about Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia comes as Islamists in Pakistan take to social media to demand the killing of atheist blogger Ayaz Nizami.
He and two others were charged with blasphemy this week by a court in Islamabad and face the death penalty.
Hizb ut-Tahrir operates in 40 nations, including Australia and the United Kingdom, but is banned in Bangladesh along with other Muslim and Muslim-majority nations including Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.
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