Taji Mustafa: Government exploiting Woolwich to target Hizb ut Tahrir

Media representative of Hizb ut Tahrir Britain, Taji Mustafa

The media representative for Hizb ut Tahrir (HT) Taji Mustafa claims that the British government’s recent plan to launch a new legal case to restrict the activities of his group is a clear sign of hostile policies towards Muslims“.

The Islamic political party which is seen as a “threat” on university campuses by the government has responded by stating that there are no legal grounds to ban or restrict HT’s activities under any anti-terrorism laws.

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).

Taji Mustafa said: “If these reported discussions are true it would not surprise us, but they suggest deeply hypocritical motives. Firstly, such reports would suggest that the government is trying to further its agenda to clamp down on Muslims who advocate, by means of argument alone, that Islam provides a better way of life than any other in the world.

“Secondly, they would suggest a continued clamp-down on Muslim voices that expose and criticize colonial Western policies in the Muslim world – as well as belligerent policies within the UK and Europe.

“Thirdly, the comments from MPs from various parties expose their cheap attempts to appear more muscular than each other on matters of security.”

New legislation

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.

Mr Mustafa said: “If the reports are true, it would suggest that Cameron’s government, much like its predecessors, is more interested in cynically exploiting issues like the Woolwich killing for furthering its hostile policies towards Muslims, as well as point-scoring politics in Westminster.

“Any actions such as those proposed would be nothing more than an admission of an inability to counter Hizb ut-Tahrir’s arguments. They would be an example of the state singling out the Muslim community to ‘shut-up’ about foreign policy issues or face being criminalised”.

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.

Woolwich

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 on May 22 in Woolwich.

Mr Mustafa added: “The issue of Hizb ut-Tahrir is well-understood to have nothing to do with issues such as Woolwich. Even the so-called ‘conveyor belt’ theory they cite as a rationale has been discredited. So, why raise it, unless there was a reason to cheaply exploit Woolwich for alternative ends?”

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 last week 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.”

Hizb ut Tahrir stated on their website that: “Despite these reports and suggestions, Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK will continue to challenge malicious government policies on all manner of domestic and international issues relating to Muslims and engage with non-Muslims to present Islam as a comprehensive way of life.”

 

 

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