29th January 2011 – Hundreds of Muslims attended a public meeting to hear about the unprecedented events unfolding in the Middle East. The audience was addressed by leading members of Hizb ut-Tahrir and had opportunity for questions and comments.
Sajjad argued that change was happening in a region that people had long since given up on. The relentless oppression by the regimes, the economic hardship faced by ordinary people due to the neglect by governments, and changes in means of communication had meant that people were rising up to remove the old regimes, and that the ‘walls of fear’ had been knocked down.
Dr Imran Waheed showed how western colonial governments in America, Britain and Europe had backed cruel tyrants like Ben Ali, Mubarak, Karimov of Uzbekistan and others. He quoted from Thomas Jefferson who said that the west’s colonial policies were there to serve their own interests. He predicted that they would deny their associations once these dictators were removed and cautioned that colonial governments would try and install new men favourable to the west, or colonised by a western mindset. He argued that real change could only come under a Khilafah state, which could be independent of the west and which solved people’s problems according to Islam.
Ons Chafi, from Tunisia, spoke of his recent trips there before and after the uprising. He described the hardships and oppression endured by ordinary people under Ben Ali, where there were no jobs, women were not permitted to wear Islamic dress, and people were in fear of arrest for simply praying in the mosques. He described an occasion when his mother was forbidden from making a complaint to the police about her stolen handbag unless she removed her headscarf.
Finally, Taji Mustafa, called the people to work hard to support their brothers and sisters struggling and sacrificing around the world for change and for Islam.
The panel called Muslims in the UK to speak to as many people as possible about the Khilafah system; counter the propaganda in the media against political Islam; and warned that the attack on Islamic values and symbols – like hijab, niqab and Aqeedah issues – were all part of the same colonial agenda to prevent Islam from rising as an independent force, challenging the hegemony of capitalism.