David Cameron MP
Leader of the Conservative Party
Conservative Central Office
Dear Mr Cameron,
I am writing to you on behalf of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain following your allegations, subsequently shown to be false made during Prime Ministers Questions on 25th November 2009. I am aware that you have apologised for some of your errors – but by no means all of them – and you may have read our rebuttals on our website www.hizb.org.uk. However, I felt it would be productive to write to you on some of the issues arising from this unsavoury episode.
Firstly, I’d like to address your links with neoconservatism.
The advocates of this pernicious ideology have been largely discredited in the United States, blamed for the bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the illegal detention in Guantanamo Bay and the use of torture since the start of the war on terror.
Yet key members of your team – Liam Fox and George Osborne – are said to be admirers of this philosophy and Michael Gove is a signatory of the statement of principles of the Henry Jackson Society. All of them, as well as you, strongly backed the war in Iraq.
Moreover, your recent attack on Muslim schools originated from the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) – whose director Douglas Murray is author of “Neoconservatism – why we need it” and much of your criticism of Muslims seems rooted in neocon lies.
It might be worth remembering that when George W Bush came to power he was seen as a moderate conservative, much in the way you are, but left office humiliated due to his extreme and radical policies based on this political philosophy.
Secondly, I’d like to address your pseudo-libertarianism and hypocritical criticism of Islamic groups.
You have sought to portray yourself and your party as defenders of liberty, seeing Blair and his allies damaged by 28-day detention without trial, identity cards and complicity in torture (extraordinary rendition). Yet this cannot be a real or principled position if you seek to ban our party – with its history of non-violence for more than fifty years.
Tony Blair’s attempts to label us as terrorists and proscribe our group rapidly appeared ludicrous once people started examining our party and its history. Even your friends at the CSC have been forced to admit that the law would have to be amended to stand any chance of making a ban stick; and tailoring the law to envelop our group would potentially criminalise an enormous number of other organisations, Islamic and non-Islamic alike.
Your calls to ban our group seem to be a mirror of Bush and Cheney insofar as they abandoned any pretence to uphold freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law they claimed they were fighting to preserve in the war on terror.
You also seem to be following the CSC’s advice to demonise Muslims who hold political views that you and they deem ‘extremist’. Terms like ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalisation’ have no fixed legal definition but are used to scare Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This practice, introduced during the Blair era, is a favourite trick of neocons that infest the internet. They decide who’s an ‘extremist’ – usually based on someone being an advocate of Islamic beliefs – then associate others with them (by family ties, past associations or other casual connections) and then hound them to be dismissed from jobs or silenced from speaking publicly. By treating them in a way no other community is treated in this society you relegate Muslims who hold these beliefs to a second class status and exposes the myth, paraded to the rest of the world, that a liberal society upholds pluralism, freedom of belief and equal citizenship before the law.
This neo-McCarthyism, so manifest in this recent schools debacle, is yet further evidence of hypocrisy on your libertarian claims.
But it is not your only hypocrisy. You have falsely portrayed our group as calling for the killing of Jews everywhere but entered into an alliance with far-right European parties with links to anti-Semitism.
Beyond this and beyond the fact that your accusations are false, it is magnificently hypocritical for you to lecture anyone on the sanctity of human life when you supported the Iraq war that has lead to the death of over 1 million innocent civilians.
Thirdly, I’d like to address your definition of ‘extremism’ that includes non-violent political beliefs.
Poll evidence shows staggering levels of support for ideas that Hizb ut-Tahrir has peacefully called for over the last 56 years. Ideas which you label ‘extremist’ are actually mainstream in the Muslim world.
In truth, many would say that a real ‘extremist’ is someone who said in the aftermath of Israel’s massacres in Gaza in 2009 that “it strives to protect innocent life”, ignores Israel’s systemic apartheid, proposes an aggressive policy of assimilation in the UK of McCarthyist proportions, who supported two wars of occupation in the Muslim world and who wants to criminalise non-violent voices of dissent like those of Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Yet, nonetheless we prefer to debate ideas and to explore some of the issues that clearly run counter to your Eurocentric world view. A debate could discuss British Foreign Policy, the emergence of the Caliphate in the Muslim world, and look at the impact of Secular-Liberal-Capitalism in the world against the potential impact of Islam in the contemporary world – and would be a refreshing change from the spin and smear we have seen from you to date, often made under the cover of parliamentary privilege. You may reassure yourself of our seriousness and etiquette in debating by consulting Dominic Grieve, who entertained a civilised debate with a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir on TV some two years ago.
So I repeat my offer for a public debate and look forward to hearing from you about this proposal so that we can discuss terms of the debate. A refusal to debate could be seen as a lack of conviction in your own propaganda and it has always been the choice of defeated regimes that can’t win the debate to resort to the banning and silencing of opposition.
Chairman of UK Executive Committee
Member of Hizb ut-Tahrir