The United Kingdom Finally Banned This Islamist Group

The British government is finally set to ban one of the most controversial Islamist organizations in the United Kingdom as a terrorist organization, accusing it of antisemitism and praising Hamas for its deadly surprise attack against Israel on October 7th last year.

The UK’s Home Office, under Home Secretary James Cleverly, has officially designated the controversial Hizb ut-Tahrir, saying that the group was "antisemitic" and "actively promotes and encourages terrorism.

The ban under British terrorism laws came after followers of the group were accused of chanting "jihad" at a pro-Gaza rally on October 21st last year, where Hizb ut-Tahrir staged a rally in support of Palestine parallel to the much larger official pro-Gaza marches and protests worldwide. A video of the rally showed a man chanting “jihad” during the rally. Scotland Yard later said it would not take any further action against the group.

The Home Office said on January 15th that the Parliament would debate a proposal to make joining the group illegal in the UK under its terrorism laws. The banning order is set to take effect on January 19th, putting the group on par with other designated terrorist groups in the UK, such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. 

That means anyone belonging to, inviting support for, or displaying material that shows public support for Hizb ut-Tahrir will be breaking the country’s terrorism laws. The most severe offenses linked to proscribed organizations can result in up to 14 years of imprisonment. British police can also seize any property associated with the group once it has been banned.

The United Kingdom is the latest country to ban the organization, which has been accused of glorifying and supporting terrorist groups such as Hamas and has a history of praising and celebrating attacks. The UK will join dozens of other countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East that have banned the group, such as Germany, Egypt, and China.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an anti-Semitic organization that promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating the appalling October 7 attacks,” Home Secretary James Cleverly said, adding that the group’s celebration of Hamas’s attacks against Israel on October 7th and describing Hamas fighters as heroes on its website constitutes promoting and encouraging terrorism.

"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." Cleverly also referred to a report describing the group’s branch in the United Kingdom as a "logistical nerve center” where leaflets and books are produced for global consumption.

According to a government website, the Home Secretary may designate a group as a “terrorist” organization under British law if it is believed to be “concerned in terrorism, and it is proportional to do.

Shortly after Hamas attacked Israel and the subsequent war on Gaza, Hizb ut-Tahrir called on Muslim countries to “get your armies and go and remove the Zionist occupiers.

Labor’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper supported the ban and welcomed Cleverly’s 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,” Cooper 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.” She added.

Meanwhile, Hizb ut-Tahrir criticized the ban, describing calls to proscribe the organization in the United Kingdom as “a sign of desperation.” The group released a statement saying that it "completely refutes any idea that it is antisemitic or encourages terrorism."

"By seeking to proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir, Britain will join the likes of Putin's Russia, Sisi's Egypt, and a host of other authoritarian states in silencing a voice for the restoration of an Islamic civilizational alternative for the Muslim world," the statement added.

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