Hizb ut-Tahrir obsessed with radicalising students’
Shiraz Maher: Commentary
At universities across the country, Hizb ut-Tahrir operates freely behind a series of “front groups” holding events covertly and spreading its dangerous message of confrontation and separation. In recent years it has become more sophisticated in how it does this, circumventing attempts to clamp down on its activities.
Literature has been produced specifically for universities, presented in soft and temperate tones without any reference to the Hizb ut-Tahrir, and making it difficult to detect its presence. The aim is simple: to disseminate the party’s ideas to the broadest constituency possible while identifying those who are sympathetic to its message. Once sympathisers are spotted, intense pressure is applied on them to join.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is so committed to finding new recruits at universities that during my time as a member (2001-05) a specific “universities team” was created, which co-ordinated and directed the activity of party activists across Britain.
Not everything is simply about winning new recruits. There are also broader objectives that the party seeks to achieve, too. Scores of foreign students from the Muslim world come to Britain every year and Hizb ut-Tahrir obsesses about trying to radicalise them. It sees their presence as a golden opportunity to project the party’s message back into the Muslim world where it is severely curbed by local governments.
There is a real danger with allowing the group to operate freely. Although it subscribes to a non-violent philosophy, on occasion its words may have inspired terrorist activity. One of Britain’s first suicide bombers, Omar Sharif, was partially radicalised by Hizb ut-Tahrir activists at King’s College London in the 1990s.As the alleged abortive terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day demonstrated, radicalisation on campus remains a real and pressing issue that must be urgently addressed.