Islamist hardliners launching magazine
By Natalie O'Brien
THE hardline Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir is poised to launch its first magazine in Sydney this week to be distributed on university campuses, sparking concerns the group is ramping up its activities in Australia.
The plan for the publication, called Idialogue, has terrorism experts worried about the potential infiltration of universities by radical groups seeking recruits.
"It is precisely the tactic that Hizb ut-Tahrir used in the UK when they wanted to establish a jihadi network," said Carl Ungerer, director of the national security project at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Dr Ungerer said the London-based Hizb ut-Tahrir had recruited high-quality graduates from universities as it set itself up in that city.
He said the use of a magazine, which will be sold at a cover price of $3.50, is part of a global trend employed because it is a useful "dissemination device", as well as a revenue-raising exercise.
The Hizb ut-Tahrir group in Australia has started an email campaign encouraging supporters to buy the magazine and tell their friends about it.
Sidney Jones, Jakarta-based terrorism analyst with the International Crisis Group, has warned that members of the Jemaah Islamiah terror group are using publishing as a form of profitable religious outreach.
Ameer Ali, the former chairman of the federal Government's Muslim Community Reference Group, said it was widely known that Hizb ut-Tahrir had been trying to win sympathy among university students.
"It's a free country as long as they know where the boundary is," he said.
Dr Ali has previously argued against banning Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia on the grounds that this could push the group underground, making it more dangerous to deal with.
The role of Hizb ut-Tahrir in the radicalisation of terrorists was revealed last year when four of the seven suspects in the failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow were linked to a Hizb ut-Tahrir cell in Cambridge.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a secretive organisation that promotes the destruction of Western civilisation and the overthrow of governments and their replacement by Islamic rule.
1) Islamist hardliners launching magazine