London, UK, July 20 – The call by some Muslim MPs to UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke to ban the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a non-violent Islamic political party that rejects terrorism and militancy, is nothing more than an attempt to stifle legitimate political expression in the Muslim community.
For over five decades Hizb ut-Tahrir has faced intense repression at the hands of the rulers of the Muslim world. In Uzbekistan, tens of thousands of our members have been imprisoned for little more than distributing a leaflet or raising a political discussion. In their treatment of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the rulers of the Muslim world have made it abundantly clear that they will not tolerate any political dissent whatsoever. Despite this intense repression, including torture, rape, imprisonment without trial and extra-judicial killings, Hizb ut-Tahrir has not wavered from the path of non-violent political work in the slightest. The dungeons of the Muslim world are full with our prisoners of conscience. The current global leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Ata Abu Rushta, was a designated Amnesty International prisoner of conscience in the late 1990s.
Dr Imran Waheed, the Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "Like the tyrant ruler of Uzbekistan, the statements of these MPs calling for action against Hizb ut-Tahrir are evidence of their intolerance of political dissent. They want the Muslim community to forget the dodgy dossier and the war on Iraq and would rather the Muslim community join the fold of the Labour Party than ask searching questions of their politicians."
"Hizb ut-Tahrir continues to enjoy wide support in the Muslim community ? indeed these MPs know that many of their close family members are active members of Hizb ut-Tahrir."
Notes to Editors:
"Hizb ut-Tahrir is a completely non-violent organisation." [Craig Murray, the ex-British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Al-Jazeera, 17/5/05]
"?it advocates the restoration of the Islamic caliphate. It differs from jihadi groups which share this objective in abstaining from violent activity." [International Crisis Group, 2/3/05]
"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 FOI 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 organisation 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]
"It will be impossible to see Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation. If Hizb ut-Tahrir resorts to violence then it can be described as a terrorist organisation. Further more Hizb ut-Tahrir, as it stands, cannot be proscribed as a terrorist organisation." [Verdict Turkish Second State Security Court, 13/4/04]
"Hizb ut-Tahrir does not advocate a violent overthrow of Muslim regimes… Instead HT believes in winning over mass support, believing that one day these supporters will rise up in peaceful demonstrations and overthrow the regimes of Central Asia." [Ahmed Rashid, Jihad: the Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia]
"Hizb ut-Tahrir quite explicitly disavows violence as its means for achieving power." [John Schoeberlein, Director of Harvard University?s Central Asia program]
"Hizb ut-Tahrir has shown dissatisfaction on the policies of the [Pakistan] government which is the right of each and every citizen?I am unable to understand as to how distribution of these pamphlets in the general public was termed as terrorism or sectarianism.? [Multan Bench, Lahore High Court, March 2005]
"Ata Abu Rushta, spokesperson for the Hizb ut-Tahrir, Liberation Party in Jordan, a party seeking to re-establish the Islamic Caliphate, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment in February by the State Security Court for lese-majesty under Article 195(1) of the Penal Code in connection with an interview he had given to the newspaper al-Hiwar. The statements on which the charges were based did not advocate violence." [Amnesty International Report, 1997]
Imran Waheed ?Media Representative
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain