Call for Muslim army in Australia

Bryan Seymour

There was a call to arms over the weekend that is, in any terms, truly frightening.

It came from a known Islamist who wants to raise an army to impose Sharia law here in Australia.

His message was met by cries of “Takbir... Allahu Akbar!” by his followers at Lakemba in Western Sydney.

"Eventually, we will bounce back and we will reclaim everything that they have taken from us,” Bilal Merhi told the crowd.

Around 200 men and another 50 women and children, behind a curtain at the back, attended the Public Rally held by extremist Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The flyer advertising Hizb –ut-Tahrir’s 'Public Event' at Western Sydney

They were told Australia's democratic government has to go in favour of an Islamic Caliphate ruled by Sharia Law.

"Now they say are brave, they have their freedoms… yeah because you have no state, no authority, you have no representation, they can be brave! But be brave when we have authority! Come forward when we have a representation with an army! Ready to defend the honour of Allah and his Messenger. They will not. They will not. And that's what we have to understand,” Merhi told the crowd.

Hizb ut-Tahrir rally speakers (L-R) Wassim Dourehi, Hamzah Qureshi and Bilal Merhi

Freedom of speech was top of the agenda as firebrand preacher Bilal Merhi said Australians use freedom of speech to mock Islam.

"We will continue to stand up and oppose your freedom to insult our Messenger! Takbir! Allahu Akbar! Takbir! Allahu Akbar!”

Women and children were among the 250 strong audience at the Rally. Photo: Supplied

As the only journalist present, the organisers allowed me to record audio, but banned cameras.

Australian law says we're allowed to film public rallies.

"We do have some media present here tonight so we do strongly encourage the audience not to engage with them,” Hamzah Qureshi, a senior Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman, told the audience.

The key speaker, Bilal Merhi came under investigation by police last October, after we aired video of him coaching children as young as six to chant extremist slogans.

In addition to this latest extremist lecture, Seven News has passed on several other videos to the Police Counter Terrorism Unit and the Attorney General.

“If people are engaged in the advocacy or encouragement of terrorism, they will be arrested, they will be prosecuted and they will be taken off our streets,” said Attorney General George Brandis.

Terror experts we've spoken with say Hizb ut-Tahrir may be crossing a legal line they've finely walked here for years.

"I think we will see Hizb ut-Tahrir a degree of legal opposition and prosecution that it's not had to face in the past and that may lead to it being proscribed, it may lead to some individuals being charged,” said Professor Greg Barton, the Executive Director of the Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash University.

Police would not comment beyond saying they are investigating.

We expect to air several more videos in coming days.

Morning news break – January 19