The UK government has announced its intention to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist group that aims to establish a global Islamic caliphate, by labeling it as a terrorist organization. The move comes after the group reportedly praised the recent Hamas-led attack on Israel, which killed 1200 people and injured thousands more on Oct. 7.
According to a statement from the Home Office, the new designation will make it illegal to belong to, support, or display any material related to Hizb ut-Tahrir in public. The government said that the group poses a threat to national security and public order and that its ideology is incompatible with British values and democracy.
The proposal to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir will be debated and voted on by Parliament this week. If passed, it could come into force as soon as Friday. This is not the first time that the British government has attempted to outlaw the group, but previous efforts have failed due to legal and practical challenges. Both former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, who is now the foreign secretary, vowed to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2005 and 2010 respectively, following the July 7 London bombings and other terrorist attacks.
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Hizb ut-Tahrir is a transnational Islamist movement that was founded in 1953 and has branches in over 40 countries. It advocates for the overthrow of secular governments and the establishment of a single Islamic state governed by sharia law. The group has been linked to several violent and terrorist incidents and plots around the world, including in Germany, Denmark, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan. However, the group’s leaders have denied any involvement in violence and claimed that they are peaceful and law-abiding. The group has also distanced itself from Hamas and other militant groups, saying that it does not endorse or use violence to achieve its goals. It rose to prominence in the early 1990s under the leadership of Omar Bakri Muhammed.
“Hizb ut-Tahrir is an antisemitic organisation that actively promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating the appalling 7 October attacks.− James Cleverly, UK home secretary.
A Banned Organization
Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) has been outlawed in many countries around the world, including most of the Muslim-majority states. This raises the question of why HT is so unpopular among its co-religionists, and what are the implications of its activities for regional and international security.
One of the main reasons why HT is banned in many Muslim countries is that it poses a challenge to their political legitimacy and stability. HT rejects the existing nation-state system and advocates for pan-Islamic unity under a single leader, the caliph. It also denounces democracy, secularism, nationalism, and human rights as un-Islamic concepts that have corrupted the Muslim world. HT’s ideology is considered radical and ultraconservative by many Muslims, who do not share its vision of a rigid and puritanical Islamic society.
HT’s ideology also translates into actions that are often violent or subversive. HT members have been accused of involvement in various terrorist attacks and plots in different countries, such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, and Turkey. HT has also been linked to the assassination of a secular blogger in Bangladesh, who was critical of religious extremism. Moreover, HT has been spreading anti-Western and anti-Semitic propaganda in the West, where it operates legally in some countries, such as the UK and Australia. HT has called for the destruction of Israel, which it calls “the Zionist entity”, and has referred to Jews as “monstrous”. HT has also incited violence against Western allies in the Middle East, such as Egypt and Turkey, by organizing rallies and demonstrations outside their embassies in London.
HT claims that it is a peaceful and non-violent movement and that its members are merely expressing their political dissent. However, this claim is contradicted by the evidence of its involvement in violent and extremist activities, as well as by its intolerant and divisive rhetoric. HT is not a legitimate political opposition, but a dangerous and radical group that threatens the security and stability of the Muslim world and beyond. HT should be exposed and countered by the authorities and civil society, as well as by the mainstream and moderate Muslims, who reject its ideology and agenda. While one can claim that Palestine needs the support of the global community; support from a terrorist-affiliated faction such as HT can only harm the Palestinian cause, not advance it.