COUNTERPOINT BRIEF: U.K. DECLARES HIZB UT-TAHRIR A TERRORIST GROUP

(New York, N.Y.) — Yesterday, U.K. Home Secretary James Cleverly declared the global Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (“Party of Liberation” “HT”) a terrorist group, laying down a draft order that could go into effect later this week, pending parliamentary debate and vote. Hizb ut-Tahrir is already banned in several Muslim-majority states, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, as well as Germany and China. The proscription would make it a criminal offence in the United Kingdom to belong to or promote the group, with conviction carrying up to 14 years in prison. Cleverly said of the group: “Hizb ut-Tahrir is an antisemitic organisation that actively promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating the appalling October 7 attacks.”

Expert Analysis:

CEP Senior Advisor Edmund Fitton-Brown, former UK Ambassador to Yemen

"Hizb ut-Tahrir is an extremist abomination and long-standing affront to liberal values. It seems that the West is waking up, post-October 7, to the Islamist menace that has been spreading for decades under the false guise of being ‘non-violent’ and must now be confronted and suppressed."

CEP Chief Executive Officer Ambassador Mark D. Wallace

I commend the Home Secretary’s decisive move and encourage its swift implementation into U.K. law. Starting with the Blair government in the late 1990s, Hizb ut-Tahrir has evaded successive attempts by Westminster to proscribe it as a terrorist organization, but we trust this will be the end of that charade. Other Western European governments should follow the British example, while HT America—which holds an annual ‘Caliphate Conference’ in the United States tracked by the Counter Extremism Project—also deserves much closer scrutiny by U.S. authorities.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain

Hizb ut-Tahrir was founded in 1953 with a long-term goal establishing a global Caliphate ruled by Islamic law. The U.K. branch, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, has been active since the early 1980s, coming under greater scrutiny in the early 2000s. Despite HT’s extreme ideology and rhetoric, previous attempts at proscription have failed because the group was careful to avoid direct calls for violence.

Nonetheless, HT has served as an important gateway to Islamic extremism. Several prominent individuals associated with HT have moved on to violent jihadism. Omar Bakri Muhammad went on to found and lead al-Muhajiroun, a proscribed terrorist group in Britain that adhered to salafi-jihadist ideology and through whose ranks multiple British terrorists and foreign fighters passed. Other associated individuals include the mastermind of the 9/11 attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, British ISIS executioner Mohammed Emwazi, a.k.a. “Jihadi John,” and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The government’s announcement calls for proscription under the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000, claiming that the group’s actions and rhetoric in praise of Hamas since October 7 constitute “promotion and encouragement of terrorism.” Before the group can be officially designated a terrorist group in Britain, parliament will hold a debate and vote on the measure, likely this week. If it passes, it could go into effect as early as Friday, but the group is expected to mount a legal challenge should the law pass. 

CEP Resources:

CEP Report on Hizb ut-Tahrir

CEP Letter to Ambiance Banquets, host of HT America Conference 2023

CEP’s Call to cancel HT Conference on Facebook Live

CEP Blog: Don’t Extend the Welcome Mat to Hizb ut-Tahrir

CEP Blog: Cancel Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Reservation

CEP Blog: Time for Hizb ut-Tahrir to Check Out of Illinois

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On February 26, 2015, a Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a market in Biu, Nigeria, killing 19 people and injuring 20 others. A second attempted-suicide bomber was caught and beaten by a crowd before he was able to carry out his attack.

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