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Home Office to ban Islamist political group Hizb ut-Tahrir

Security minister Tom Tugendhat said the Islamic fundamentalist organisation ‘encourages and promotes terrorism’

Archie Mitchell
Monday 15 January 2024 14:37 GMT
Hizb ut-Tahrir protest (1)

The government has moved to proscribe extremist Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation.

Security minister Tom Tugendhat said the Islamic fundamentalist group “encourages and promotes terrorism” as he condemned its “disgraceful celebration of Hamas’ appalling attacks on Israel”.

Home secretary James Cleverly has laid before parliament a draft order to proscribe the Sunni Islamist political organisation under the Terrorism Act.

If backed by MPs, it will come into force on Friday. It would mean "belonging to, inviting support for and displaying articles in a public place in a way that arouses suspicion of membership or support for the group will be a criminal offence".

James Cleverly has moved to proscribe the group (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

Founded in 1953, Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international political group whose long-term aim is to establish a global Caliphate ruled under Islamic law.

While their headquarters are in Lebanon, the group operates in at least 32 countries including the UK, United States, Canada and Australia.

The proscription of Hizb ut-Tahrir includes the global organisation, as well as all regional branches, including Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain.

Proscription can mean prison sentences of up to 14 years for those associated with organisations. And the resources of a proscribed organisation are terrorist property and may be seized.

Former prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron had both proposed banning the organisation but then dropped plans to do so.

But the government faced renewed pressure to proscribe the group in the wake of Hamas’ October 7 terror attacks in Israel, which prominent Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Britain appeared to celebrate. Ministers had also faced pressure to proscribe the group in the wake of pro-Palestine demonstrations, at which demonstrators from Hizb ut-Tahrir had chanted “Jihad”.

Mr Cleverly said: “Hizb ut-Tahrir is an antisemitic organisation that actively promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating the appalling 7 October attacks.

“Proscribing this terrorist group will ensure that anyone who belongs to and invites supports for them will face consequences. It will curb Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ability to operate as it currently does.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir’s praise of the 7 October attacks and associated incidents, as well as describing Hamas as ‘heroes’ on their central website constitutes promoting and encouraging terrorism.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has a history of praising and celebrating attacks against Israel and attacks against Jews more widely. The UK stands strongly against antisemitism and will not tolerate the promotion of terrorism in any form.

This group’s antisemitic ideology and praise of attacks against innocent civilians in Israel outlines the necessity of its proscription.

Tom Tugendhat condemned Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ‘disgraceful celebration of Hamas’ appalling attacks on Israel’ (PA Wire)

Mr Tugendhat said: “Hizb ut-Tahrir clearly encourage and promote terrorism.

“Their celebration of Hamas’ appalling attacks on Israel, going so far as to call the terrorists who raped and murdered Israeli citizens ‘heroes’, is disgraceful.

“We stand firmly against antisemitism and hatred against the Jewish community in the UK.”

Labour welcomed the decision to proscribe the group, saying “there have long been serious concerns about Hizb ut-Tahrir”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said they have been “exacerbated in light of Hamas’ barbaric terrorist attack on Israel”.

“Those who incite violence and promote or glorify terrorism have no place on Britain’s streets and must face the full force of the law,” she added.

Several countries have banned Hizb ut-Tahrir for their various activities, including Germany, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan and several Central Asian and Arab countries. Austria banned symbols of the group in May 2021.

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