We have become accustomed to matters of security being cynically played by you for political point scoring. Your persistent call, with no evidence, for the criminalisation of Hizb ut-Tahrir and other Muslim groups and thinkers illustrates many things.
Firstly, you mislead the general public who expect their leaders to produce well informed arguments based on evidence. The complex issues that have created today’s security environment have been reduced by you to the single issue of Islam’s political ideas and its adherents. You, like Tony Blair and George W Bush before you, simply seek to divert any responsibility for creating today’s security environment away from western government policies in the Muslim world.
Secondly, it confirms your party’s credentials as an anti-Muslim party, who care little for community relations. You expose the promotion of a Muslim to the Shadow Cabinet as a veneer for your actual policies, by silencing her views on these matters (such that she utterly contradicts what she had argued for over two years) and by having her stalked in her brief by one of the most hawkish MPs.
Thirdly, the trail of your argument can be traced to various right wing neoconservative think tanks in Washington, via their sister organisations in the UK. It is well known that you have self declared neoconservatives in your front bench team and we are aware that some of your senior staff have been sent to Washington to consult with these people on these matters. These same people who have advised you on the matter of Hizb ut-Tahrir, also call for the bombing of Iran (as they called for the war in Iraq), the withdrawal of Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights and the termination of your relationship with the Conservative Muslim Forum (recently described by one supporter of yours at the Heritage Foundation as a flirtation with Islamic extremism). Such views merely illustrate the fragility of the so-called principles of freedom and tolerance that you claim to believe in.
You prefer to ban ideas rather than debate them. You believe that voices that confront the policies of this country in the Muslim world should be silenced. Your views on non-violent groups like ours simply reinforces the belief in the Muslim world that this war on terror is not about preventing violence but preventing Muslims from living in their lands according to their way of life – Islam – and seeking to impose your systems on them. This is a recognised pattern that we have seen under repressive regimes in the Muslim world.
We are willing to debate any of these matters with you in a public forum. The cowardice of making your accusations in Parliament – where you enjoy the cover of legal protection – is telling. Your persistent call for a ban and the censoring of debate and discussion on important issues, suggests to me that you would not accept this offer, because you have no arguments and no proofs to bring to the table. However, our challenge stands regardless.
Dr Abdul Wahid
Chairman UK Executive Committee
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain