David Cameron makes new bid to restrict Hizb ut Tahrir

Hizb ut-Tahrir are legally active in the UK

The British government is to launch a new legal case to restrict the activities of Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) which it sees as a “threat” on university campuses and  as “fertile ground” for radicalization.

Prime Minister David Cameron will start a fresh bid to enforce new legal restrictions on HT as concerns were raised that the group sees British campuses as a fertile recruiting ground, although it is already banned by the National Union of Students (NUS).

New laws

The new law will be designed to restrict the activities of HT and is currently being drafted but David Cameron’s aim to ban the group entirely has been dismissed because no evidence exists that the group has any involvement in terrorist activities.

HT has thousands of members and supporters in Britain. Tony Blair also attempted a ban in the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings, but was warned by police and security services that outlawing the group could be counter-productive as there was no proof of violent activities.

The Conservatives pledged to ban HT in their election manifesto, saying the group advocated “the violent overthrow of our society” but there was no evidence that linked the group to violent extremism.

Hizb ut-Tahrir

HT (Party of Liberation) is an Islamic political party founded by Palestinian scholar and judge, Taqiuddin al-Nabhani in 1953. The group is active in over 60 countries in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia.

Their main objective is to re-establish a caliphate in the Muslim world ruled by Shariah law, unifying all countries under a pan-Islamic state which recognises no borders or nationalities. They do not participate in the democratic system in any of the countries they are present in.

The group has stated very clearly that they have no wish to establish a caliphate in the UK or in the West, and their methodology to establish the Islamic state is not through an armed struggle (jihad) but rather to win over the public opinion among Muslim masses.

HT is very critical of western foreign policy in the Muslim world, mainly the War on Terror, as well the rulers of the Muslim world who are perceived by the group as “proxies” of Western colonial powers.

The group was heavily persecuted in the Arab world and Central Asia but since the Arab Spring HT are now openly active in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. They are currently banned in Russia, Turkey and Germany whilst legally active in Denmark, Holland, the US and Australia.

“Class B” radical groups

David Cameron is now considering forming a “Class B” of “hard-line” groups, which would restrict their activities and in essence be short of an outright ban.

The legal logistics of putting together such a system will go to the new anti-terrorism taskforce better known as the new “Extremism Task Force” set up after the killing of British soldier, Lee Rigby in Woolwich in May.

One of the possible outcomes would mean that HT would be banned from holding meetings in public buildings such as universities, community centres and event halls.

Security Minister, James Brokenshire told MPs this week said that the Home Office was “committed to tackling the group’s activities on university campuses”. He said: “Such groups are not free to spread hatred and incite violence as they please. The police have comprehensive powers to take action under the criminal law to deal with people who incite hatred, and they will do so. We will seek to ensure that Hizb ut-Tahrir and groups like it cannot operate without challenge in public places in this country.”

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