Radical Islamist Group Hizb ut-Tahrir Resurgent in Britain Amid Israel-Palestine Conflict: Report

Lebanese supporters of the Sunni Islamist party Al-Tahrir wave the party's flags as they march in the streets of the northern city of Tripoli after the Friday prayers during a demonstration against the Syrian regime on January 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID (Photo credit should read JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty …
JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images

A radical pan-Islamist organisation, which calls for the reinstatement of the caliphate and the global imposition of sharia law, has resurfaced in Britain amid the tension between Israel and Palestine.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, which was both David Cameron and Tony Blair tried to have banned in the UK, is reportedly behind a campaign to encourage Muslim armies of the world to “liberate” the Palestinian people in Gaza and the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

The Islamist group organised anti-Israel protests in London and Birmingham last month, according to the Sunday Telegraph,  though the paper noted that they tend to downplay their involvement in organising the demonstrations.

While placards in London and Birmingham were seen bearing the name of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a similar protest held in Luton saw activists cover up the name with black tape.

The head of government relations for the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism in the UK, Jonny Newton said that Hizb ut-Tahrir has become “more visible in recent weeks”.

For example, at a protest in Birmingham a man was filmed calling on the “Muslim armies” of the world to wage jihad to “wipe out that Zionist entity” of Israel.

“There is little doubt that they have continued to organise and recruit under the radar and without significant scrutiny since the organisation was exposed as anti-Semitic and homophobic in the 1990’s” Mr Newton said.

He continued: “Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Islamist group, the leadership of which states explicitly anti-Jewish hatred regarding Israel.

“It was inevitable that its British supporters would echo some of that sentiment on our streets, because that is what they have been doing for decades: despite repeat complaints from the UK Jewish community about the danger posed by the group, both in its own right and as a potential gateway to more violent Jihadi actions.”

Despite the Tory party manifesto of 2010 pledging that a Conservative government would “ban any organisations which advocate hate or the violent overthrow of our society, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir,” Prime Minister David Cameron failed to follow through, claiming that a ban on the radical organisation would not be “workable”.

A 2009 report by the Centre for Social Cohesion found that the ideology of Hizb ut-Tahrir is in direct opposition to the values of Western society.

“Inherent to HT’s worldview is a clash between “Western” and “Islamic” civilisations. The party believes the United Kingdom and United States of America are leading a campaign against Islam and Muslims worldwide,” the report said.

“HT actively seeks mass support for its Islamist revolution among Western Muslims. Party ideology commands them to oppose Western civilisation and to subvert their societies. All Western states are considered “enemies” of Islam and potential land for HT’s expansionist Islamist state via jihad.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, Hizb ut-Tahrir said: “We distinguish between Jewish people as a faith and an ethnicity, and the Zionist military occupation that calls itself a ‘Jewish state’ … In Britain we use the term Zionist entity as we do not recognise the name that it gives itself.

“The demonstration in Luton was a community initiative and not a Hizb ut-Tahrir rally, unlike the simultaneous demonstrations in London and Birmingham on 16th May. The chairman of the executive committee of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain was invited to speak, along with speakers from other organisations, so the party’s presence was open. However it would be inappropriate to have the party’s name on banners at an event that was not its own.

“Hizb ut-Tahrir does not promote fear, criminality or terrorism. No honest person has ever said this nor does any evidence exist to support this. Hizb ut-Tahrir does not encourage violence against civilians.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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