Hizb ut-Tahrir: A danger to the West? Part one

world | Sep 20, 2007 | By Adrian Morgan

Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation) is banned in virtually all Arab nations in the Middle East, such as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. It is banned in Tunisia and Libya, and also Turkey. It is regarded as such a threat that it is even banned in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which are already cauldrons of extremism. It is banned in all the former Soviet states in Central Asia, and since February 2003 it has been banned in Russia. It has been banned in Germany - on account of its anti-Semitism and its desire to use force for political ends - since March 2003, and it is also banned in the Netherlands. Yet in Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia, the group remains free to operate.

In Britain in August 2005, then-prime minister Tony Blair announced his intentions to ban the group. Hizb's reaction was to conjure up a veiled threat - a vision of angry young Muslims instigating riots across Britain should the group be proscribed. Blair's extremist advisers from the Muslim Council of Britain opposed the ban and said they would only accept it if the right-wing BNP party (British National Party) were also banned.

Blair quietly allowed the notion of banning the group disappear from his agenda. His unelected successor, Gordon Brown, was questioned in parliament on July 4, 2007, about the Labour Party's failure to ban the group in Britain. Brown prevaricated, saying that "more evidence" was needed. He then said: "We can ban it under the Prevention of Terrorism Act [2006], and, of course, of course - I think the leader of the opposition forgets I've been at this job for five days." Brown had been prime minister for seven days, but had been in the upper echelons of Blair's government for ten years.

In August 2005, after Blair brought up the issue of a British ban, Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock ordered an investigation into the group by the national intelligence service, ASIO. Wassim Doureihi, spokesman for the Sydney branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), agreed to cooperate with any ASIO investigation. Eventually, Ruddock decided against banning the group.

What has happened in Britain and Australia is that politicians and legislators have looked at the surface and not the substance of Hizb ut-Tahrir, and have decided that it is not a threat. The group has numerous front groups, which dissolve and rename themselves. It has numerous websites, where extremist documents appear, only to be removed when attention is drawn to them. In recent years, Hizb members have presented themselves publicly as articulate and even moderate. In Britain, where the group has a strong base, its spokespeople dress smartly in suits and ties. It produces a glossy journal, called New Civilization, which also appears online. Though this discusses the Caliphate, it downplays the group's support for revolution and violence.

Publicly, HT claims to be against terrorism and violence. In practice, HT has been increasingly involved with incidents of terrorism in the former Soviet nations. Lebanese members of the group have been implicated in failed bomb attacks upon two trains in Germany last year. HT openly seeks the destruction of democracies and the establishment of an Islamic super-state. It also publicly supports terrorism against Israel.

Behind its public proclamations, it has produced virulent anti-Semitic documents, such as the



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Adrian Morgan is a British bas
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

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