Hizb ut Tahrir claims they are non violent while threatening to incite riots in response to government calls to ban them
Group which wants to turn the United Kingdom into the United Khalifate was banned from campuses for urging killing of Jews
MIM:So much for Hizb ut Tahrir's claims of being a 'non violent group' ... even if this is bluster it should be enough for the government to crack down on the grounds that they are threatening violence (!)
A radical Islamic group declared yesterday it would resist all attempts by Tony Blair to ban the organisation.
Officials of Hizb ut-Tahrir warned that the government's proposals would be interpreted by the Muslim community as part of an 'anti-Islamic' agenda and could trigger civil unrest.
Speakers for the Islamic political party announced they had begun seeking legal advice to fight any attempts to ban the organisation, which has existed in Britain for more than 50 years. The announcement coincided with fresh warnings that Britain's deteriorating race relations could lead to a repeat of the inner-city riots in the Eighties.
'The move is a perilous route that is harming community relations and could lead to civil unrest comparable to that which affected the black community,' said Imran Waheed, spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir. He also rejected calls for the Muslim community to root out extremism and dismissed claims that the organisation was harbouring terrorists as 'ludicrous'.
However, experts believe that Hizb ut-Tahrir's extreme views may have helped to radicalise young British Muslims. The National Union of Students banned Hizb ut-Tahrir from campuses in 1995 after its speeches, leafleting and methods in a number of universities caused worry and distress. Leaflets called for Muslims to 'exterminate' the Jewish authorities in Israel.
The group, however, says it does not advocate or condone violence. Instead it aims to restore the caliphate, the all-encompassing Muslim state which existed in the first years of Islam, and to spread its power around the world.
Until recently, the government tolerated Hizb ut-Tahrir. Home Office documents released to the group two months ago under the Freedom of Information Act advised that all media inquiries about the organisation should be used to promote Britain's tolerance to dissenting voices.
The group claimed it had received no explanation from the government on why it was now facing a ban.
However, many of its thousands of members are understood to have taken the view that the government was keen to eradicate critical voices concerning its foreign policy, particularly over the war in Iraq.
Waheed said: 'God help us if the level of frustration grows among the Muslim community and there is no-one there like us to challenge it. He (Tony Blair) has made statements that many in the Muslim community have interpreted as anti-Islamic. He could have gone on the record and made clear his position, but to my knowledge he hasn't.'
A later statement from the group described the moves as a blow against British democracy. 'Placing a ban on a political party with a 50-year history of non-violence will lead many to question the talk of freedom of speech, tolerance, people power, human rights and democracy.'
Now the Muslims have a Catch 22 excuse making a pretence of keeping HT out of the mosque while defending their distributing leaflets outside the mosque on the grounds that ;"I am worrying that all Muslims will be banned from speaking tommorrow". And; " We can't do anything about that can we?"
Young zealots at the mosque door
But before they are able to go their separate ways, a man in his early thirties begins to hand out leaflets entitled Moderate or Extremist - Plans to Divide the Muslim Community
This scene is identical to others likely to be taking place outside mosques up and down the country, as members of the radical Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir disseminate their beliefs.
This group is among those the Prime Minister said are to be banned as he unveiled a raft of measures to tackle extremism.
Such is the general rejection of the group by mainstream Muslims in Britain, supporters have been banned from distributing their literature inside many mosques and forced on to the streets. Though the group does not enjoy an especially large following, it is well organised and its appeal is particularly strong to young British-born Muslims.
Outside the Youth Foundation mosque, the zealous Hizb ut-Tahrir man tells anyone asking him to move on that they are betraying their religion. He says he will be continuing the work he has undertaken for the past five years.
Managers at the mosque have become increasingly tired of Hizb ut-Tahrir's presence outside their progressive mosque, and one worshipper said that at last week's Friday prayers the imam took the unprecedented step of mentioning the group by name and urging people not to pick up the leaflets.
But with Blair's announcement a few hours old, Imam Majdi Aqil, who has just led prayers, says he has concerns about moves to proscribe the group: 'I'm against banning any organisation because of its thoughts. I'm against them, but any group should have the freedom to express their views. We have to fight thoughts with thoughts. If we do not do it this way it will drive them underground. If they are banning them today, I am worried that they will ban all Muslims from speaking tomorrow.'
Back on the street, 27-year-old Irfan Khan is distributing copies of mainstream Muslim youth magazine, The Revival. He clashes with the Hizb ut-Tahrir man, telling him he is tarnishing all groups distributing literature.
'I think they are troublemakers and a menace to Muslims in this country because what they want is nonsensical in a place like Great Britain,' he says. 'I think it's about time they banned these groups. We banned them from our mosques and they went on the roads. We can't do anything about that can we?'