UPI Editor In Chief
19th November 2005
Re: Foreign agitators in French riots? UPI, 19th November 2005
Dear Michael Marshall,
I write to complain about today's article entitled ' Foreign agitators in French riots?' on the UPI website (http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20051118-113424-7573r).
The article repeats a very serious, untrue and baseless allegation about our organisation when it stated :
As the violence that has rocked France since Oct. 27 subsides, some analysts are concluding that London-based Hizb ut-Tahrir activists helped stoke the flames.
After the rioting continued for several days, Hizb ut-Tahrir concluded that the demonstrations had political value and sent some Pakistani, Algerian and Moroccan members to France, according to Indian analyst B. Rahman in a piece for the South Asia Analysis Group.?.
This allegation was initially made by B. Raman and we already had a letter of complaint published by a website that carried his original allegation a few days ago (http://www.outlookindia.com/rantsmag.asp?fodname=20051116&fname=raman&sid=1). Hence, the more surprise when it was then repeated by a respected News Agency like UPI.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is well known to be a solely political and intellectual organisation that has eschewed violence throughout its more than 50-year history around the world (despite the enormous oppression its members have faced.) We have always advocated a specific set of solutions to the problems of the Muslim world that are about the political establishment of an Islamic state. Below are comments about Hizb ut-Tahrir.
"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]
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Bill Rammell said, "We have yet to see convincing evidence that Hizb ut-Tahrir as an organisation advocates violence or terrorism."[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]
Indeed, when riots took place in Birmingham, Britain last month, our members were credited with discussing with the youth and encouraging them to remain calm and to show restraint. One of our members also chaired a meeting of three hundred community and business leaders and a representative of West Midlands Police, an event which helped to calm the situation. The meeting was covered by the Evening Mail, Birmingham Post, BBC and GEO TV, amongst other media organisations.
At a time when there is growing misunderstanding and hysteria surrounding Islam and Muslims, journalists owe it to their readers to get their stories right so as not to contribute to the stoking up of misunderstanding between communities.
In conclusion, this article has repeated a serious and unfounded allegation about our organisation. We hope that you will correct this inaccuracy at the earliest opportunity.
Thanking you in advance of your reply.
Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain