UK Moves to Ban the Islamist Group Hizb ut-Tahrir
The British government plans to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international Islamist political group, by designating it a terrorist organization,
The British government plans to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international Islamist political group, by designating it a terrorist organization, the government announced on Monday, citing what it said was the group’s praise for the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel.
Britain’s Home Office announced the plan in a statement saying that the new designation would mean that “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 offense.”
Parliament is expected to debate and vote on the measure this week. If approved, it would take effect as early as Friday.
James Cleverly, the home secretary, said in a statement on Monday, “Hizb ut-Tahrir is an antisemitic organization that actively promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating the appalling 7 October attacks.”
The British branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir said that the effort to ban it was “a desperate measure to censor debate about the genocide in Palestine and to stop Islam’s just political alternative,” and that it would challenge the measure using all legal means.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, a Sunni Islamist organization founded in 1953 that is headquartered in Lebanon, has long been active — and controversial — in Britain. It calls for a single Islamic government across the Muslim world and has previously celebrated violence against Israel.
Previous British governments proposed outlawing the group, but did not. Prime Minister Tony Blair said in 2005, amid a crackdown on extremism following coordinated suicide bombings in London on July 7 that year, that he would ban it, as did Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010. (Mr. Cameron is currently Britain’s foreign secretary.)
But a government watchdog on terrorism legislation and rights groups warned against those measures in 2011, arguing in part that Hizb ut-Tahrir was not violent in Britain under the legal parameters of the time, and they were dropped.
In October, a video emerged of a demonstration organized by Hizb ut-Tahrir, alongside a much larger peaceful protest, in which a man repeatedly calls for “jihad,” prompting criticism of the group.
Tom Tugendhat, Britain’s security minister, said that the group’s “celebration of Hamas’ appalling attacks on Israel, going so far as to call the terrorists who raped and murdered Israeli citizens ‘heroes’ is disgraceful.”