Academic claims Monis’s banner linked to Hizb ut-Tahrir

December 22, 2014 by Clive Kessler
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Last Monday morning when the Café Lindt siege began I tried, in vain, to get the media, especially the ABC to recognize, admit and state that that white-on-black “Shahadah banner” was the official banner/flag of Hizb ut-Tahrir.


Clive Kessler

No, they said, and kept saying, it was simply “the Shahadah banner”—as if that were some formally recognized/codified symbolic display“device” like the “Union Jack” or the “Red Ensign”.

From Hizb ut-Tahrir  it has been borrowed and adopted by various other militant Jihadis, some of whom have been funnelled into their new activist militant groups through Hizb ut-Tahrir.

But no, that could not be said.

There was just all that endless talk of “the Shahadah banner” [and, as I have previously pointed out the knowledgeable, expert, representative community voices — Silma Ihram and Dr Anne Aly, who were offered and interviewed by the ABC and who must or should have known and recognized what this flag/banner was and its connection to Hizb ut-Tahrir—could or would shed no identifying light upon it, when asked if it had any special significance or meaning.

Ignoring the banner, they simply focused upon and emphasized the words on it, those of the Shahadah, and said that these words were general and basic to Islamand had no special political or sectarian connotations.

This idiocy came to its summit on ABC-TV news 24 when the interviewer, after solemnly declaring once ,(in fact, several times!) more that the Shahadah was/is simply the Islamic credo, asked one Muslim community spokesman/expert “so, the Shahadah is just an affirmation of the basic Muslim credo, so, perhaps you can tell me, this will help us understand better,what is its equivalent, with what can it be compared and likened, in Christianity?” [or words to that effect .. ..].

Can anybody imagine,   “with the shoe on the other foot” so to speak,  a non-Muslim being asked the equivalent question about Islamic doctrine and tradition on the ABC these days!

Here are two points:

  1. The notion that there are simple “equivalents” that can be cited between these two [admittedly cognate but] ultimately incommensurable religions is simply foolish;


  1. Even if there were,how would that man have known about it, and on what basis was the ABC prepared to have him make a pronouncement and offer general public guidance on such matters of Christian doctrine and tradition?

That said, let me now call your attention to a report in The Sunday Telegraph here of 21 December 2014 entitled “Extremists Target Young Moderates”.

That item concludes with the following words/paras.: “Monis had clear links with Hizb ut-Tahrir, banned in some countries, attending a rally in Lakemba alongside self-styled Sheikh Junaid Thorne and Uthman Badar.“

On its official Facebook page, Hizb ut-Tahrir posted a statement claiming the Shahada flag used by Monis had been ‘demonised’.

“It is the same flag that appears on the official Hizb ut-Tahrir logo.

The Sunday Telegraph [it prudently adds!] does not suggest Hizb ut-Tahrir had any involvement in Monis’ actions.

“‘The flag of Islam bears upon it the testimony of faith (Shahada) of Muslims .. .. it is not up for political exploitation,’ the statement said.”

The Shahadah banner is the first thing one sees on a visit to the Hizb-ut-Tahrir homepage at HTTP://WWW.HIZB-UT-TAHRIR.ORG/.

Despite its protestations, the ‘political exploitation’ of the white-on-black Shahadah banner by Hizb ut-Tahrir is crystal clear.

Clive Kessler is an emeritus professor of Sociology and Anthropology at UNSW.  He has been a scholarly observer and analyst of, and regular commentator upon, the rise and growing reach of political Islam for the last 50 years.


2 Responses to “Academic claims Monis’s banner linked to Hizb ut-Tahrir”
  1. Rajah Roger says:

    This has to be one of the most misguided pieces I have ever read. How can the black shahadah flash known by muslims as “rayatul islam” be the flag of any particular Islamic organisation? This flag was used by the first Muslims over 1400 years ago, so how a group formed less than 100 years ago be the owner of that flag? There are racist movements in many countries that utilize nationalist or patriotic imagery, eg. The English Defense League in the UK use the St. George flag. Do English supporters in football games, who use the same flag, all belong to the EDL? That would be a ridiculous thing to suggest just as you have suggested.
    If Monis had attended any HT event, or any other groups event, that action does not convey membership. Such events are open to all, including members of the police and security officials.
    Please try and stay objective rather than fan the flames in the direction of your choosing.

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    Yep, they were all bending over backwards to report this in the most peaceable of modes insofar as the Arabic writing on the banner was concerned. Monis was a one-off, unstable individual at the mercy of his sickness and the banner was, if not benevolent, at the very least symbolic of praise due to Allah – nothing more. Meanwhile, in reality we had a man terrorising Sydney citizens while doing everything he could to do so in the name of ISIS and his own twisted ideas.

    What do we learn from this? How very difficult it is for our media to simply say it how it is. In addition, they thought it necessary after the tragic conclusion of the siege to embellish the situation with reportage that Sydney and Australia would never be the same again and make heroes of the Australian populous by referring to our strength and unity. So, too, did the NSW Premier. I do not wish to sound harsh, and I am more than aware of the effect the siege had on all of us, but, again, could we just say it how it is and not become melodramatic, which is disrespectful to the gravity of the situation, or over-sentimental regarding our particular qualities as a people.

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