There is a new wave of sophisticated, articulate Islamic fundamentalists trying to spread the word among moderate Muslims in Sydney. Young men, wearing regular clothes, with neatly trimmed beards, broad Australian accents and fluent in Arabic, they appear to be fully assimilated, second-generation Australians.
But they belong to a political group called Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) that calls for the creation of a global Islamic state, or caliphate, under strict sharia law.
The message from these young men is one of division, non-assimilation and rejection of the values of the "kafir" - non-Muslims.
At a public lecture at Bankstown Town Hall earlier this month, Hizb ut-Tahrir organiser Soadad Doureihi, his brother Wassim, and Usman Badar, president of Sydney University's Muslim Student Association in 2005, outlined their utopian goal of the ultimate overthrow of Western democracies.
"Islam can never coexist one under the other or one within the other," Soadad told the crowd. "When the state is established, when people see the mercy of Islam they embrace Islam in droves."
The April 8 lecture, to about 200 men and 50 women, was titled "Should Muslims Subscribe to Australian Values?"
Banned in Britain, Germany, Holland, Russia, and much of the Muslim world, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) has been invited to speak at Sydney Boys High at least twice, and often addresses students at Sydney University.
Borrowing its methodology and ideology from Marxist-Leninist groups, HT calls itself a political party which works to "change the situation of the corrupt society so that it is transformed into an Islamic society", its website says.
It opposes integration and assimilation of Muslims into Australian society.
Wassim told the Bankstown crowd: "The pushing to integration and assimilation is to get us to think and believe and feel in a certain way that Islam will not condone.
"On the collective level everyone accepts you have to have one set of laws and no Muslim in this country is demanding today the implementation of sharia law.
"In this country, yes, we believe this is the best way forward but . . . our current struggle is the implementation of Islamic law in the Muslim world and that will serve as a model for the rest of humanity. [But] if governments want to interfere in the individual, personal affairs of any citizen, they are going to create the conditions of civil unrest and chaos like in France."
Soadad had a message for youth: "They must be aware of the plot of the kafir, the plot of the Western society to enforce on them a palatable Islam . . . Secularism is a clear assault on the fundamental belief of a Muslim. Democracy is a clear assault on the fundamental belief of a Muslim also."
HT says it advocates non-violence, and yet, terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna, from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, told a conference in 2004, "key members of the al-Qaeda organisation [such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi] formerly belonged to the HT organisation . . .
"The upper echelons of organisations of key interest to us, operating at a violent, extremist, radical level, consist of former members of HT."
In Australia, HT's threat is its anti-integration message.
An audience member in Bankstown asked: "The reality is many of us live in Australia as citizens. We or our parents and families have accepted this citizenship with the full knowledge of Australia's social construction and her values. Can we not as Muslims hold these Australian values [while] keeping our Islam intact?"
Badar, a graduate of Malek Fahd Islamic High School in Chullora, who was such a good student he appeared on the 2002 HSC all-rounders list, answered: "It comes back to the theory that Western values, their opposition, the conflict is so clear, so stark there is no middle ground.
"How do you come to middle ground on whether sovereignty belongs to the people or to Allah? You can't.
"Yes, our parents came here. I wouldn't say they were fully aware of the Australian values and systems, way of life and so on . . . But what's more important is why did they come here? What were they running away from? Was the country in which they lived not providing for them? What was the cause of the conditions in that country?
"They were running away from the very same values . . . If you are saying they came here so we should accept or follow those values, there's a clear contradiction. The simple matter of fact is there is no middle ground."
No middle ground. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a fringe group, rejected by most Australian Muslim leaders. But its message is alluring to the disenfranchised. Is the answer to ban it? Wassim says the more the group is attacked, the more it grows. "The more we come under pressure the more we return closer to Islam."
Video of the lecture is at http://www.risala.org.