Islamist group challenges David Cameron
David Cameron has been demanding that the group be proscribed in the UK, but this Labour government, so intent on cosying up to the Muslim vote, is refusing to budge. There is, they say, ‘no evidence’ to justify such a draconian course of action. And so the UK is just about the only country on the planet where this group does not merely operate; it flourishes, and is at complete liberty to spout its vile message.
Hizb-ut-Tahrir is intimately related to groups like the Al Muhajiroun, and shares the ideology of the Al Qaeda and other religious terrorist groups. Their grievance is that the Ummah needs a Caliphate in order to unify Muslims globally, and which will resolve all disputes and conflicts. While there is no direct evidence of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir having taken recourse to violence to achieve their aims, there is no doubt that individual members have advocated such, and rendered vocal, ideological and even material support to jihadi terrorist groups.
There is also some evidence to suggest that after the Iraq war, many of its members have become disillusioned with the non violent tactics and have been advocating a more pro-active approach. Many of its splinter groups, including the Al Muhajiroun of Britain and the Akramiya and the Hizb-un-Nusra in Central Asia have called for a ‘more active’ involvement in the struggle against corrupt Islamic regimes and the hegemonic Western powers.
Yet this is still insufficient for HM Government, with whom Hizb ut-Tahrir is indeed pleased. But not with the Leader of HM Opposition. In an open letter to Mr Cameron, they say:
We have become accustomed to matters of security being cynically played by you for political point scoring. Your persistent call, with no evidence, for the criminalisation of Hizb ut-Tahrir and other Muslim groups and thinkers illustrates many things.
Firstly, you mislead the general public who expect their leaders to produce well informed arguments based on evidence. The complex issues that have created today's security environment have been reduced by you to the single issue of Islam's political ideas and its adherents. You, like Tony Blair and George W Bush before you, simply seek to divert any responsibility for creating today's security environment away from western government policies in the Muslim world.
Secondly, it confirms your party's credentials as an anti-Muslim party, who care little for community relations. You expose the promotion of a Muslim to the Shadow Cabinet as a veneer for your actual policies, by silencing her views on these matters (such that she utterly contradicts what she had argued for over two years) and by having her stalked in her brief by one of the most hawkish MPs.
Thirdly, the trail of your argument can be traced to various right wing neoconservative think tanks in Washington, via their sister organisations in the UK. It is well known that you have self declared neoconservatives in your front bench team and we are aware that some of your senior staff have been sent to Washington to consult with these people on these matters. These same people who have advised you on the matter of Hizb ut-Tahrir, also call for the bombing of Iran (as they called for the war in Iraq), the withdrawal of Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights and the termination of your relationship with the Conservative Muslim Forum (recently described by one supporter of yours at the Heritage Foundation as a flirtation with Islamic extremism). Such views merely illustrate the fragility of the so-called principles of freedom and tolerance that you claim to believe in.
You prefer to ban ideas rather than debate them. You believe that voices that confront the policies of this country in the Muslim world should be silenced. Your views on non-violent groups like ours simply reinforces the belief in the Muslim world that this war on terror is not about preventing violence but preventing Muslims from living in their lands according to their way of life - Islam - and seeking to impose your systems on them. This is a recognised pattern that we have seen under repressive regimes in the Muslim world.
We are willing to debate any of these matters with you in a public forum. The cowardice of making your accusations in Parliament - where you enjoy the cover of legal protection - is telling. Your persistent call for a ban and the censoring of debate and discussion on important issues, suggests to me that you would not accept this offer, because you have no arguments and no proofs to bring to the table. However, our challenge stands regardless.
Dr Abdul Wahid
Chairman UK Executive Committee
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain
Cranmer has a few suggestions for a response to this, which must be forthcoming, and which should also be publicly disclosed.
Mr Cameron should agree to a debate (conducted in writing), and the Conservative Muslim Forum , Atta-Ur-Rehman Chishti (the Conservative candidate in Gilligham), and Baroness Warsi should all leap at the chance to publicly support their Leader in this, voluntarily, enthusiastically, with no compulsion whatsoever. The unified response of the Leader with these prominent Conservative Muslims would constitute an impressive riposte. The content should be based on thorough research and empirical evidence (with which Cranmer is prepared to assist), and eschew completely all historical generalisations, political misconceptions and theological ambiguities.
The focus should be the group’s deeply flawed ideology. Since this is the tool by which they recruit and exploit teenagers and young adults, it must be countered by discerning the inconsistencies and innate contradictions in their beliefs, which are abundant. The most obvious is their insistence on the founding of a Caliphate by non violent means, yet the revolution required to usher in the Islamic state would cause much bloodshed, and such a model could only be held together by further bloodshed. Hizb ut-Tahrir has no grounded theories on statecraft.
Mr Cameron should network with intelligence organisations in other countries; Germany and Denmark in particular. A sense of the group’s European strategy must be acquired and analysed. If the Conservative Party’s demands were consistent with the actions of other EU member states, it will make Prime Minister Brown appear ‘weak’ on terrorism, and ‘isolated’ in Europe.
As the Shadow Chancellor basks in the glory of his recent award, he should probe the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how Hizb-ut-Tahrir is financed in the UK. Do they receive donations from charities or individuals? Do these charities conform to the criteria laid down by the Charities Commission, or are they propagating a political ideology at variance with the stated aims of the charity?
And finally, Mr Cameron should acquire examples of Hizb-ut-Tahrir propaganda. Their publications and other audio and video materials speak for themselves, and manifestly incite hatred. The group should be asked to explain what it sees as the logical consequence of the message it preaches, and to justify the implications for national and international security. In particular, Mr Cameron should focus on the divisions within the UK’s Muslim communities that the group exacerbates.
All of this will raise public awareness through a strong intellectual campaign, and expose the ideological hollowness of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir agenda. And, as a very useful consequence, Mr Cameron will project an image which will put Prime Minister Brown somewhat in the penumbra. Mr Cameron thereby highlights the undeniable reality that the Muslim communities need politico-religious activism and leadership to address and articulate their genuine grievances. The Hizb-ut-Tahrir is not the solution; like the MCB, it is a part of the problem.