To: Tony Blair, the Britsh Government, British Government Officials, MPs, & the Media worldwideBANNING NON-VIOLENT HIZB-UT-TAHRIR (HT), IS THE REAL THREAT TO THE BRITISH WAY OF LIFE
We the undersigned British citizens and residents, find the proposed ban on the non-violent Muslim group Hizb-ut-Tahrir Britain, absurd and counter to the principles of any society which holds the right to air non-violent opinions essential to debate.
The notion that HT should be banned, raised almost a month after the deplorable London bombings as part of the prime minister’s anti-terrorism proposals, smacks in the face of honesty in light of his declarations that the British way of life will not be changed. Any ban on any peaceful organisation that has been consistently against violence, is the exact opposite of what the Prime Minister claimed when he said we should not allow the British way of life to be changed. Tony Blair is violating the principle of the right to express an opinion that has been ardently enshrined in law or spirit for centuries. Our fear of terrorism will not be played upon irresponsibly to ban non-violent opinions and organisations, we will not be divided like this.
It would be unwise for the Prime Minister to give his ear to foreign dictators, those that hold personal grudges against HT or hold a competitive interest in labelling HT as part of the pro-violence fringe. Rather it would be wise for the Prime Minister to be aware that in almost every Muslim community throughout the land, he will find sympathizers or affiliates of HT who are overwhelmingly born, raised and educated British citizens. These people are not ‘foreigners abusing the hospitality they enjoy’. Despite the many lively, heated and sometimes controversial debates HT have created in the Muslim community, whether we agree or disagree with them, they have never ever seriously been accused of being terrorists, or supporting terrorism. If the prime minister is interested in engaging the Muslim youth, he would be seriously misguided in banning HT, as they have held some of the largest conferences of Muslim youth in Britain.
In recent times HT members have held panel discussions with non-Muslim politicians, MPs, thinkers and personalities including Roger Mosey, Edwina Currie, Peter Hitchens, Clive Crook and Michael Gove, amongst others, who have not complained of sensing any promotion of violence.
We cannot emphasise enough how such a move will damage community relations, alienate the Muslim Youth, and further encourage a dangerous feeling of being under siege already bubbling in the Muslim community.
The below evidences are provided for information purposes only, to illustrate that HT has consistently forbidden and condemned terrorism, racism, and totalitarianism even before the threat of a ban. By signing this petition we are not endorsing the below views, or HT’s views, we only hold that HT have a right to express them:
HT ON TERRORISM & VIOLENCE
Regarding the massacre of civilians in Algeria blamed on the GIA, in HT’s leaflet widely published on 4th September 1997 they say:
“We and all Muslims declare to Allah our disavowal of these criminal and savage massacres and those who perpetrate them, whoever they might be. We declare that those who commit such acts have nothing to do with Islam or Muslims. Furthermore, this is not the route to establish a Khilafah (Caliphate in the Muslim countries)….The route to that is the route laid down and followed by the Messenger of Allah (saw) in his campaign to establish the Islamic State: It is political activism, which starts by winning over individuals and acculturating them into the Islamic culture. It then proceeds to address the masses to generate in them a public opinion and a public awareness about and for the idea of Islam. This is the method to follow to establish the Khilafah and restore the rule by that which Allah has revealed. It is not by physical action or the use of material force.”
After Sep 11th 2001, HT issued a leaflet on Sep 18th 2001 which stated: “The rules of this Message forbids any aggression against civilian non-combatants. They forbid killing of children, the elderly and non-combatant women even in the battlefield. They forbid the hijacking of civilian aeroplanes carrying innocent civilians and forbid the destruction of homes and offices which contain innocent civilians. All of these actions are types of aggression which Islam forbids and Muslims should not undertake such actions.”
After the London Bombings HT in the UK on their website http://www.1924.org condemned the bombings many times in many ways. For example immediately after the news broke of the bombings they stated: “At a time when fingers will be pointed at us from the wider community we need to come together as a community with one voice. Yes, the rules of Islam do not allow the harming of innocent civilians.”
Doctors and medical staff who are members of HT working in London helped in the relief efforts to treat those survivors, and now it is proposed that they be banned?
HT AS BRITISH CITIZENS:
In a statement on the BBC on August 5th, HT’s spokesman Dr Imran Waheed said “Our views are very similar to those in the Muslim community. We want an end to Western interference in Muslim countries. This is nothing to do with not liking this country. We were born in Britain and there is nothing precluding a Muslim from a being a decent citizen in this country. ”
‘RESPECT’ PARTY SAY HT NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ATTACK ON GEORGE GALLOWAY
The Respect party cleary absolve HT from any blame for the distasteful attack on George Galloway on their website: “..the London Evening Standard carried a front page article on the incident, wrongly naming Hizb-ut-Tahrir as the organisation responsible for the attack on George Galloway. When members of the Respect National Office saw the report, they informed the Evening Standard that we were certainly not claiming that Hizb-ut-Tahrir were behind the attack. A short time later we were contacted by Jalal and Qasim from Hizb-ut-Tahrir who assured us it was not HT who were responsible….In fact, the attack was carried out by an organisation called al-Ghuraaba, an offshoot of the disbanded al-Muhajiroun, who subsequently invaded another of our meetings in Luton.”
HT NOT FOUNDED BY OMAR BAKRI MOHAMMED:
Among many proofs that HT was not created or founded by Omar Bakri Mohammed who entered the UK in 1986, is that Mr Mohammed M. Ramadan, a journalist and announcer at the BBC’s Arabic section in London, was a member of HT in opposition against the military regime of Qadhafi. He was assassinated on 11 April, 1980, by Colonel Qaddafi’s (Libyan) operatives outside London’s Regents Park Mosque. HT was founded in 1953 by Taqi-ud-deen an-Nabhani, in Al-Quds.
HT NOT LINKED TO AL-MUHAJIROUN
HT on the 6th of August stated on http://www.1924.org that “We would also like to point out for the record that we have no relationship whatsoever, by word or deed, with the organisation al-Muhajiroun.”
HT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN TOTALITARIANISM
On http://www.1924.org HT explain that their ideal Khilafah State (Caliphate) in the Muslim world is not totalitarian in any way:
Under the section ‘Head of state’: “The Khaleef is the head of state. He has the general leadership of the state. The citizens of the Khilafah state have the sole right to appoint the Khaleef. He can be appointed by a direct general election …or through the elected members of the ‘Peoples Assembly’ (Majlis al Ummah).”
Under the section: ‘Electing the members of the council of the Ummah’ (Peoples Assembly):
“The members of the Ummah’s council are elected and not appointed, for they are representatives of the people in the voicing of opinions”
Under the section ‘Membership of the Council of the Ummah’:
“Any person that holds citizenship of the state, if mature and sane, has the right to be a member of the council of the Ummah, and he has the right to elect the members of the council, whether the person is a man or a woman, a Muslim or non-Muslim”
There are also sections on the necessity of having an independent judiciary, the right to express opinion, accountability of government, citizens rights, the right to an education for all men or women, the prohibition of the state spying on the people, the prohibition on all forms of torture, etc.
HT IS NOT ANTI-SEMETIC
On their Website http://www.1924.org HT state:
“We reject decisively the charge of anti-Semitism because Islam is a message directed to all humankind. However, at the same time we decisively reject Zionism represented in the form of Israel and Hizb ut-Tahrir, like the majority of other Muslim organisations, is opposed to the continued occupation of Palestine by the Israeli State. The state of Israel is founded upon a land that it took by force, after it drove out its people, both Muslim and Christian. This is injustice, which we will never accept from an Islamic perspective, regardless of the race of the perpetrators. In Palestine, Islam is in conflict with Israelis – not in their capacity as Jews who historically had lived alongside Muslims in peace and security for centuries – but in their capacity as occupiers and aggressors.”
3RD PARTY & EXPERT STATEMENTS ON THE NON-VIOLENT NATURE OF HT:
According to a leaked unpublished government report produced for Tony Blair, revealed to the Guardian Newspaper printed on 8th August 2005, the prime minister has been advised that HT is not involved in violence or terrorism. Last year a paper, called ‘Young Muslims and Extremism’, was prepared for Mr Blair on the orders of the home and foreign secretaries. It says: “Most of the structured organisations, e.g. Hizb ut-Tahrir, will not directly advocate violence. Indeed membership or sympathy with such an organisation does not in any way presuppose a move towards terrorism.” The document adds that young people attracted to terrorism may shy away from HT because they do not espouse violence, and would be seen as only engaged in “pointless pontification and debate”. It has also been revealed that Tony Blair has forced home office officials to accept a ban on HT, despite their warnings 2 weeks prior to this petition, that they were against banning HT.
“Hizb ut-Tahrir [HT] is an independent political party that is active in many countries across the world. HT’s activities centre on intellectual reasoning, logic arguments and political lobbying. The party adheres to the Islamic Shariah law in all aspects of its work. It considers violence or armed struggle against the regime, as a method to re-establish the Islamic State, a violation of the Islamic Shariah.” [Restricted Home Office Documents 19/8/03, Released to Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain 1/6/05 under the Freedom of Information Act]
“Hizb ut-Tahrir – Lines to take if extensive coverage is given in the media:
Freedom of thought and speech key element of our society. Our tradition that there is a place for those who disagree with the way we do things – unless they espouse violence as a way to achieve their ends.” [Restricted Home Office Documents 19/8/03, Released to Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain 1/6/05 under FOI Act]
“We have yet to see convincing evidence that Hizb ut-Tahrir as an organization advocates violence or terrorism. Nor are we aware of any co-operation between it and Al Qaeda.” [UK FCO Minister Bill Rammell, Hansard, 19/4/04]
“Hizb ut-Tahrir quite explicitly disavows violence as its means for achieving power.” [John Schoeberlein, Director of Harvard University’s Central Asia program]