Evidence of antisemitism in the jihadi group Hizb ut-Tahrir, compiled by the Community Security Trust and revealed by this newspaper for the first time, played a key part in the government’s decision to outlaw the group last week.
But the terror organisation plots to launch a legal battle to overturn the decision as part of a fightback plan that has been in place for years, the JC has learnt, raising fears that it may be successfully reversed.
The official ban means it is now a criminal offence to belong to or express support for the organisation, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
This is open to challenge. The group had been developing a strategy to overturn a ban for years, making a point of recruiting professionals, including lawyers, according to Rashad Ali, a former Hizb ut-Tahrir leader who has rejected his former beliefs.
The planned appeal raises fears that if it were successful, it would effectively grant licence to extreme Jew-hatred and support for terror. But a government source insisted: “If they do try to challenge the ban in court, we are determined to take them on and win.”
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s British website currently has a statement saying: “The British Government proscribed Hizb ut-Tahrir on 19 January 2024. A legal challenge is proceeding.”
Ali, who left the organisation in 2003, said: “They will have scrutinised the legal situation very carefully. I expect them to shut down all UK activity and then put forward a front group composed of people chosen to appear as respectable as possible to a Western audience, which will launch the court challenge.
“But if the ban were to be overturned, it would be disastrous. It would give them and their extremist statements a new legitimacy that they currently lack.”
A CST spokesman said it was vital to publicise Hizb ut-Tahrir’s extremist statements made since October 7 because they “illustrate just how damaging a court decision lifting the ban would be”. He added: “CST has been campaigning for action to be taken against Hizb ut-Tahrir for many years, by exposing their extremist activities and highlighting their antisemitism.
“We are pleased that this research has contributed to the decision to finally proscribe this pernicious organisation, which is long overdue. We fully expect Hizb ut-Tahrir to try to circumvent the ban by operating via front groups and fake names, and we will ensure that any such efforts are also brought to the attention of the authorities.”
The evidence of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s antisemitism contained in the material gathered by the CST is overwhelming.
It shows that after October 7, Hizb ut-Tahrir released a torrent of antisemitic propaganda glorifying the massacre, praying for a Hamas victory and calling for further atrocities in order to “crush the Jews”.
In podcasts and online, the group has claimed that “the entity of the Jews is nothing more than the filthy tool that carries out the dirty work of the Crusader Western civilisation”.
It has repeatedly glorified the “mujahideen”, or holy warriors, of Hamas, who showed how “the Jewish entity is weaker than a spider’s home” when they “entered their settlements and struck terror in their hearts”.
Writing in this week’s JC, security minister Tom Tugendhat said: “[Proscribing Hizb ut-Tahrir] is about sending a message, both here in the UK and across the world, that we will fight terrorism today, tomorrow and always.”
Members notoriously called for “jihad fisibillah”, or “jihad for the sake of God”, at a public protest in London.
But they have also openly supported the October 7 atrocities on podcasts and in statements available on their websites. Many of the recordings were voiced by unnamed people speaking in English accents.
On 8 October, Hizb ut-Tahrir glorified the murder of two Jewish tourists in Alexandria and the massacre in Israel, which it described as “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”, the name given to it by Hamas. The murders had caused the “screams and wailing of Jews”, and showed that “there is no safety for Jews in the Islamic land, even if the world supports them”, an member bragged on a podcast, before vowing that the anger of the Muslim world would become “a fire that burns Jews and those who ally with them”.
The killings of the tourists was “a simple example of what should be done to the Jews”, the podcast added.
The same day, an online statement by the group called Hamas terrorists “heroic”, saying the attacks had “warmed the hearts of Muslims and revived the spirit of Jihad in their souls”. This was followed by a prayer for a Hamas victory in Gaza.
Two days later, the women’s section of the group’s Central Media Organisation – a global hub that serves the organisation’s 32 national branches – announced online that Hamas “should not be dehumanised as mere terrorists”.
Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, it said, Hamas was the “legitimate opposition to the Western elite’s nefarious foreign policies”. Hizb ut-Tahrir’s extremist statements continued throughout the autumn and into this year. In November, a podcast said that the massacre “shook the Israeli entity to the core and gave the common Palestinians the hope that liberation is possible from occupation.” It added: “The exhilaration was so real, the celebration that yes, Israel can be easily defeated.”
Another, posted in January on a Hizb ut-Tahrir online channel called News Right Now, said the world was “aware of how great the resistance fighters of every battalion in Gaza are, and their remarkable bravery and extraordinary success day by day in the destruction of Merkava tanks, Zionists outposts and through killing and injuring thousands of Zionist army personnel.”
Hamas, it said, was “motivated by the love of Allah” and had shown and that “the Zionist entity can easily be eradicated within a few days” if armies from Muslim countries were to join the war. Allah had “promised victory for the Muslims of Palestine”, and thanks to October 7, “the pieces of it are falling into place”.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has become known for finding ways to evade measures to repress it.
Earlier this year, the JC revealed that despite being banned from British campuses by the National Union of Students in 2004, the group had recently been sending speakers to address student societies at universities including Bradford, Birmingham and the London School of Economics.
Ali, now a counter-terrorism expert at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, said that the group’s contingency plan in the event of a wholesale national ban has long involved moving abroad.
The move overseas began this week, the JC has learnt, with part of its propaganda operation apparently relocating to Lebanon.
British governments have talked about proscribing Hizb ut-Tahrir for almost 20 years.
But it has so far escaped this blacklist by insisting that it is not antisemitic and does not support violence.
However, antisemitic statements have been published in Hizb ut-Tahrir’s literature since it was founded 1986.
In 1990, its magazine Khalifah said that any negotiated peace with Israel must be rejected because it would “legitimise” the Jewish state’s occupation of Muslim land, and called for a violent jihad, in which the “Muslims must fight the Jews and kill them”.
After a Hamas suicide bombing killed eight Israelis in 1994, Khalifa glorified the attacker for sacrificing himself through “jihad fisibilillah”. By such means, it said, Muslims would “continue their jihad against the filthy kuffar [non-believers]”.
Similar statements have been made by leaders speaking at British universities since 2021, including pledges to “wipe out the Zionist entity”.