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Britain bans Hizbut Tahrir as terrorist group

Courtesy: Dawn News

LONDON: The UK government on Friday officially banned Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir, making it a criminal offence for the first time to belong to the group, or invite support for it.

The development marks a significant move against the group, which has been considered by the successive UK governments for a ban, and takes place after ministers criticised it over demonstrations held against Israeli strikes on Gaza.

The UK home secretary in a statement on the ban said: “Hizbut Tahrir promotes terrorism. It is a vile, antisemitic group. It has no place in our country. From today, any member of the group — or anyone who invites support for it — will face the full force of the law.”

James Cleverly@JamesCleverly
I have made the decision to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK. Their promotion and encouragement of the abhorrent attacks perpetrated by Hamas goes against everything our country stands for. Belonging to and inviting support for this group will be a criminal offence.
Home Office@ukhomeoffice
Today, we took action to proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation. The encouragement and promotion of Hamas’ unlawful attacks, and the group’s antisemitic ideology, are appalling. Being a member and inviting support for the group will be a criminal offence.

Last week, Mr Cleverly said the group’s “promotion and encouragement of the abhorrent attacks perpetrated by Hamas goes against everything our country stands for”.

The group’s public position is that it does not support Hamas or advocate the use of violence to achieve an Islamic state.

The ban came into force on Friday after parliamentary approval and effectively places the group in the same category as banned organisations Al Qaeda and the militant Islamic State group.

post-7/7 bombings in 2005 to ban the group but were abandoned due to concerns that a ban would boost potential recruitment.

Successive home secretaries, including Theresa May, contemplated a ban but refrained from doing so based on legal advice.

The group was back on the radar of UK authorities after it organised public events related to the Gaza conflict. The catalyst for the ban was the group’s failure to condemn the Oct 7 attacks by Hamas, praising them on its website.

The ban was largely welcomed in the UK, but some analysts on social platforms said it boded badly for free speech in the UK. Turkish writer and journalist Mustafa Akyol said: “The UK, which used to be a beacon of free speech, is about to take a wrong turn. Hizbut Tahrir is an Islamist party with a strident ideology that I have strongly opposed. But it is not engaged in any violence. Banning it will be a dangerous step towards criminalisation of ideas.”

Others said it was remarkable that the group remained unbanned for all these years despite the two-decade war on terror or when the Islamic State declared a caliphate which has been at the heart of Hizbut Tahrir’s call.

There were also some commentators saying it was surprising the UK banned a fringe Muslim organisation with a relatively small following and impact.

Former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of Woke Army Asra Nomani was among those who thanked Mr Cleverly for the move, calling the group “extremists”. “They indoctrinated Daniel Pearl’s kidnapper, Omar Sheikh, years ago in London,” she posted to X.

Asra Nomani@AsraNomani

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