HTB Press Conference Challenges Cameron’s anti-Muslim Policies
Statement read out at the start of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Press Conference in central London earlier today. It was attended by journalists from various outlets including BBC News, BBC 5 Live, BBC Newsnight, Press TV, Islam Channel,and the Associated Press.
Last Wednesday (25th November), at Prime Minister’s Questions David Cameron made allegations – protected by parliamentary privilege – against our organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir (roughly translated as the Liberation Party).
The allegations were that:
• Hizb ut-Tahrir has front organisations which he named as Muslim primary schools in London and Slough.
• That, these front organisations received £113 000 of government money and, that the money came from a funding source which was meant for the prevention of violent extremism.
These allegations, were not new, but merely recycled old allegations which burned out in the past due to lack of credibility.
Moreover, Cameron repeated false allegations he had previously made – again under parliamentary privilege – about Hizb ut-Tahrir’s views towards non-Muslims especially Jews. He said, and I quote: “Hizb ut-Tahrir’s constitution states that non-Muslims are "combatants in the battlefield" and that their "blood is…lawful…as is their property". This is an organisation that said Jews should be killed "wherever you find them".
These are fraudulent misrepresentations of our views, in order to try to make his case more emotive – seeking to present our organisation as a source of violence, terrorism and bloodshed – all to simply score cheap points over a government in decline.
In light of these allegations which have received widespread media coverage, we would like to make the following points:
All the primary allegations made by David Cameron are false.
1) The allegation that these 2 schools are a front for Hizb ut-Tahrir is false.
Hizb ut-Tahrir does not, and has never, run schools. We believe unashamedly that schools that seek to provide a rounded and wholesome education which promotes Islamic values – reverence for their Creator, love of the Prophet (pbuh), brotherhood towards other Muslims, respect for others, and decent manners – is a good thing.
However, Cameron’s assertion is a lie, and not even an original one at that. The same allegations have previously been made by small time tabloid type journalists eager to make a name for themselves, but fell flat as no one took them seriously.
2) The allegation about money coming to Hizb ut-Tahrir is false.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has not and will never take a penny from any government – unlike many MPs. We have never taken nor will take money from any government either directly or indirectly.
Indeed, with regards to the allegation about the school, Mr Cameron has been forced to retract his earlier allegations and in doing so has tried to move the goal posts, shifting the arguments onto quotes ‘extremists running schools’ end quote.
3) This particular deceit was a rehash of recent statements made in a report about Hizb ut-Tahrir by a right-wing think tank – the Centre for Social Cohesion. The director of the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), Douglas Murray, a self-confessed neoconservative and author of ‘Neoconservatism – Why we need it?’ infamously said “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board.” Cameron seems to have taken this to heart.
And this is not the first association between David Cameron’s Conservatives and neoconservatism. The Conservative Shadow Education Spokesman, and former director of the Policy Exchange Michael Gove, is a self-confessed neoconservative, who is at the centre of the current debacle and several of Mr Cameron’s front bench are said to be neocons – including George Osborne and Liam Fox – and it is said that some of these lieutenants have even travelled to the United States to discuss security policy with the most hawkish US think tanks.
In short, our argument is that Mr Cameron is fast heading towards the type of divisive, dogmatic and destructive policies towards Muslims – whether in terms of community policy, security policy or foreign policy – like his political forebears George Bush and Tony Blair.
The neocons in Washington drove the “global war on terror”. They have taken Britain and America into two wars of occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq at a cost over a million civilian lives and billions of pounds. They are the architects of Guantanamo Bay and the justification for torture under the name of extraordinary rendition. Neoconservatism may be discredited in the US but is alive and kicking in Westminster and in the Tory party.
4) McCarthyist witch hunt that treats Muslims as second class citizens
Despite the trashy piece of propaganda in the afore mentioned Centre for Social Cohesion report, the same report was forced to concede that our group, Hizb ut-Tahrir could not be banned under the law as we have never advocated or supported terrorism. So instead, the CSC advocates that a kind of McCarthyist witchunt approach be taken instead against Muslims whose political views the neocons disagree with saying they “should be restricted from working in primary and secondary schools”. This seems to be what Mr Cameron has adopted.
By using words like ‘extremism’ which have no real legal meaning, and the use of non-legislative approaches – demonization in the media, regulations in the work place – to hound people whose views you may well dislike, but who have broken no law – he has heightened a climate of suspicion and fear which is aimed at silencing Muslim voices that dissent from his views and norms.
Though Cameron seems to have adopted this approach from this neocon linked think tank, no one could have envisaged that his first target would be a primary school – seeking to vilify them with accusations of ‘extremism’ and aiming to score cheap points off the government – without any evidence.
5) Cameron has built his demonization of Hizb ut-Tahrir on statements such as: “This is an organisation that said Jews should be killed "wherever you find them". This is a blatant lie.
It is a misrepresentation of our views. We have rebutted such allegations before, and I would refer you an article written by Taji Mustafa on 9th July 2007 when Cameron first uttered these despicable lies.
While some try to silence our views about the liberation of occupied Palestine and opposition to the Zionist Israeli state with accusations of anti-Semitism, no one has ever twisted an argument like this Cameron has.
And whilst he seeks to be sanctimonious after his frankly fraudulent misrepresentation of our views, in the European parliament Cameron has allied his party with people who have openly anti-Semitic and xenophobic views.
6) Cameron’s hostile views towards Muslims are not limited to domestic policy
On Afghanistan, Cameron recently argued on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that troops must remain as long as needed to prevent a ‘terrorist’ threat. This is effectively saying that British troops need to remain as occupiers indefinitely.
So when there is increasing realisation in Britain of the problems caused by this war, the death and destruction, and the lack of a solution to this dire mess, Mr Cameron’s solution is to keep digging in deeper.
If Cameron comes to office, the signs are that he is likely clamp down on dissenting voices to the West’s imperial agenda. And Hizb ut-Tahrir leads the dissent on these matters in the Muslim community.
Cameron has said he intends to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, a party with a history of non-violence spanning over 50 years across the world.
However, that is the position Tony Blair held, only to find there was no legal case to ban our organisation. Others have tried to take cheap shots and also failed. The Sunday Times was forced to issue a retraction when it printed accusations by David Davis in 2007. The BBC was similarly forced to do the same when Newsnight carried baseless allegations from a source that is now infamous as a web for fabrication!
7) Cameron, his party, and neoconservatives in general have equated Islam’s political ideas – like the Caliphate – as ‘extremist’.
It is as if they believe in thought crime – so anyone who believes in the Caliphate as a system for the Muslim world should be barred from their jobs, without any due regard to the law. So there will be one law for Muslims and another for other members of society!
Ideas like a Caliphate for the Muslim world are mainstream ideas in the Muslim world and even amongst Muslims here. It is our belief that there will inshallah (God willing) be a Caliphate established in the Muslim world sometime in the foreseeable future – with overwhelming popular support.
An ideological Islamic state that would seek a path independent to colonial subservience and occupation. A state that uses its resources for all its citizens not for foreign multinationals.
When the Islamic state is re-established in the Muslim world, Cameron and his neocon ilk will have to decide how they will live with these ideas in the world – which they so lazily label ‘extremist’.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is confident in the knowledge that it pursues an Islamic agenda for the Muslim world following solely political and intellectual methods and adhering relentlessly to our principles.
Blair wanted to ban us by depicting us as ‘terrorists’ but his lie was exposed and he found he could not. Cameron now wants to ban us and is attempting to fabricate a case through smears rather than admitting that it is our vociferous opposition to his neocon world view that he cannot stomach.
The only way Cameron is going to ban or demonise Hizb ut-Tahrir is by ditching his own ideological principles – just as George Bush and Tony Blair between destroyed any principles they held about habeas corpus and human rights.
Banning Hizb ut-Tahrir will confirm to the world what we have been saying for decades – that freedom and democracy are simply slogans used by the powerful – where rich capitalists cheat the taxpayer, exploit the world’s resources and invade others lands.
And the more recent attempts to smear Muslims with the label of ‘extremism’, setting one set of rules for Muslims, and another for everyone else will destroy any semblance of pluralism, equal citizenship and free expression that he pretends to uphold.
In truth, his arguments to date only show that people are only entitled to freedom and pluralism, and that human rights only exist as long as you slavishly follow the world view of the rich capitalists. And if you depart from this world view, then you will be lied about, vilified and banned!
So I end by re-issuing our challenge to a debate with David Cameron – like us or not, Hizb ut-Tahrir is a party of ideas. You cannot ban our ideas.
So deal with our ideas, and not with spin and smear. Either debate on the real issues – colonial western foreign policy, the governance of the Muslim world, our respective ways of life – or else, defeat yourself with your threat and smears.
27th November 2009