Britain to designate Hizb ut-Tahrir as a ‘terrorist’ group

UK government says the group is anti-Semitic and encourages ‘terrorism’.

UK Home Secretary James Cleverly says the organisation has a history of praising and celebrating attacks on Jewish people [File: Kin Cheung/AP Photo]Published On 15 Jan 202415 Jan 2024

Britain has moved to ban the group Hizb ut-Tahrir, saying it is anti-Semitic and should be designated as a “terrorist” organisation.

Parliament this week will debate a proposal to make joining the group illegal in the United Kingdom under terrorism laws, the Home Office said on Monday.

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

Hizb ut-Tahrir’s celebration of the October 7 Hamas attacks on southern Israel and descriptions of Hamas members as heroes on its website has constituted promoting and encouraging “terrorism”, Cleverly said.

Cleverly said the organisation has a history of praising and celebrating attacks on Jewish people.

Shortly after the Hamas attacks and the subsequent war on Gaza, the group called on Muslim countries to “Get your armies and go and remove the Zionist occupiers.”

Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron tried to ban the group while in power, but both dropped the plans.

The group, founded in 1953 with its headquarters in Lebanon, operates in 32 countries, including Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia. It has a long-term goal of establishing a caliphate ruled under Islamic law, the Home Office said.

The group is already banned in several countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt and Germany.

According to the British Home Office, if parliament agrees with the designation, the label will come into effect from Friday, putting the group on par with other designated groups, including al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS).

The proscription will also make it an offence to support the group, which would be punishable by up to 14 years in prison and could lead to asset seizures.

According to the government’s website, Cleverly may label a group a “terrorist” organisation under British law if the organisation is believed to be “concerned in terrorism, and it is proportional to do”.

Labour Party Home Secretary Yvette Cooper welcomed the announcement.

“It is right that the government has looked urgently at the evidence and intelligence information available to them about the threat posed by Hizb ut-Tahrir, and we welcome and support the decision to proscribe them,” she said.

“Those who incite violence and promote or glorify terrorism have no place on Britain’s streets and must face the full force of the law.”

On Hizb ut-Tahrir’s website last month, the group said the call to ban the organisation in Britain was “a sign of desperation”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies