Hizb ut-Tahrir declared terrorist organisation by UK

Government says group’s praise for the Hamas attacks on Israel is encouraging terrorism

Hizb ut-Tahrir supporters gather outside the Egyptian embassy in London on November 25. Getty Images
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International fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir is to be designated a terrorist organisation by the UK government, making support for it a criminal offence.

The Lebanon-based Sunni political organisation operates in 32 countries including the UK, US, Canada and Australia, and has the long-term goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate.

Britain’s Home Office said Hizb ut-Tahrir’s praise for the attacks in Israel on October 7 by Hamas, whose fighters the group's website describes as “heroes”, constitutes promoting and encouraging terrorism.

Home Secretary James Cleverly has laid a draft order before the British Parliament to proscribe the organisation under the Terrorism Act 2000.

“Hizb ut-Tahrir is an anti-Semitic organisation that actively promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating the appalling 7 October attacks,” Mr Cleverly said.

“Proscribing this terrorist group will ensure that anyone who belongs to and invites support for them will face consequences. It will curb Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ability to operate as it currently does.”

According to the Home Office, 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 offence.

Some proscription offences can be punishable by up to 14 years in prison, it said.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has organised rallies in London, which took place alongside pro-Palestine marches in the months since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Conservative MP Bob Blackman last month called for the leader of the UK arm of the group, Abdul Wahid, to be deported, saying he should have his "right to be in this country" cancelled.

Founded in 1953, Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in Germany, Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as several Central Asian and Arab countries. Austria banned symbols of the group in May 2021.

The organisation joins groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, the far-right National Action and most recently the Wagner Group in being proscribed by the UK.

“Hizb ut-Tahrir clearly encourages and promote terrorism,” said UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat.

“Their celebration of Hamas’s appalling attacks on Israel, going so far as to call the terrorists who raped and murdered Israeli citizens ‘heroes’, is disgraceful.

“We stand firmly against anti-Semitism and hatred against the Jewish community in the UK.”

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism praised Mr Cleverly for the “significant announcement”, which it said came after it had contacted the Met Police to tell them about Hizb ut-Tahrir’s activities.

“When we discovered that Hizb ut-Tahrir had appeared to praise the Hamas attack of October 7, we wrote to the Metropolitan Police Service to prevent the group from holding its demonstrations on the streets of London," the group said.

“The Met took no action and the rallies went ahead, in which there were calls … to wage 'jihad'. Still, the Met refused to take action, making excuses to defend this rhetoric instead.

“We therefore wrote to the Home Secretary calling for the controversial group to be proscribed.

"It is absolutely the right step and shows that the government is listening. The Met should take note.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain said that it "completely refutes any idea that it is anti-Semitic or encourages terrorism", and the move "is a desperate measure to censor debate about the genocide in Palestine and to stop Islam’s just political alternative.

"It also demonstrates that all the talk about diversity, anti-censorship and freedom of speech, are only acceptable as long as one agrees with the extremist Zionist agenda of 10 Downing Street."

It said the organisation "has never resorted to any sort of violence or armed struggle" and "throughout its history worked through intellectual and political means, while its members have been tortured and killed in the thousands".

The organsation said it will "challenge the proposed proscription using all available legal means".

Updated: January 16, 2024, 8:51 AM