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UK to ban Islamist group that urges jihad against Israel

Hizb ut-Tahrir "actively promotes and encourages terrorism," Home Secretary James Cleverly said.

A Hizb ut-Tahrir protest in Britain. Source: X.
A Hizb ut-Tahrir protest in Britain. Source: X.

The British government has unveiled plans to proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir (“Party of Liberation”), an Islamist group that recently held a string of demonstrations calling for jihad against Israel.

The ban will designate the group as a terrorist organization and prohibit its activities. This move positions the U.K. in line with other Western and Arab nations that have already proscribed Hizb ut-Tahrir, emphasizing the government’s commitment to addressing the threat posed by the organization.

Home Secretary James Cleverly, in justifying the decision, highlighted the group’s vocal support for Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, labeling Hizb ut-Tahrir an “antisemitic organization that actively promotes and encourages terrorism.” If approved, this ban will align the treatment of the group with other globally outlawed entities such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Under the planned ban, set to be enforced on Jan. 19 pending parliamentary approval, people found guilty of backing the group will risk up to 14 years in jail.

Founded in the 1950s with its headquarters in Lebanon, Hizb ut-Tahrir has operated in at least 32 countries, including the U.K., U.S., Canada and Australia. The group’s primary objective is the establishment of a caliphate governed by Islamic law. Notably, it has faced bans in various Arab nations, Germany and China.

The group has been active in Britain since the 1980s, and has routinely courted controversy.

In 1994, the Guardian reported on a Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain pamphlet that urged Muslims to “throw a stone, trigger a bomb, plant mine, hijack a plane, do not ask how,” and to “fight the Jews & kill them.” 

The prospective ban comes amid growing concerns about the group’s activities, with Hizb ut-Tahrir organizing rallies in London alongside pro-Palestinian marches.

Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman previously called for the deportation of Abdul Wahid, the leader of the U.K. arm of the group, asserting that he should lose his “right to be in this country.”

The decision to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir has garnered support from various quarters, including former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper. However, the group has staunchly denied allegations of antisemitism and terrorism, vowing to challenge the proposed ban through all available legal means.

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