Who Is Hizb Ut Tahrir?
Hizb Ut-Tahrir is an avowedly non-violent Islamic political and intellectual group founded in 1953 in Jerusalem. Its primary aim is to work towards the creation of the political unity of Muslim-majority countries in a Khilafah or Caliphate, governed by the shariah.
Hizb Ut-Tahrir has been active in the UK since the 1980s until it was proscribed as a terrorist organisation on 19 January 2024. Since that date, the organisation has not been involved in any further activity in the UK.
Why Was Hizb Ut Tahrir Proscribed?
The UK government accused the group of celebrating and praising the operation carried out on 7 October 2023 by Hamas and other groups. The assessment was primarily based on a single press release issued by the Palestinian branch of the movement that was published within hours of the attack.
Previous UK governments tried to proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir in both 2005 and 2011, but did not consider it appropriate to do so because it was always accepted that the organisation was not concerned in terrorism and did not advocate violence.
What Does It Mean When An Organisation Is Proscribed?
Proscription means an organisation is banned in the UK and the government has assessed it is currently “concerned in terrorism”. This decision is made at the Home Secretary’s discretion.
Once proscribed, the group must cease to operate in the UK.
Despite its recent proscription in the UK, Hizb Ut-Tahrir is still recognised as a legitimate organisation - and therefore operates - in over 30 other countries globally, including in the US, Canada and Australia.
Can An Organisation Be De-Proscribed?
Proscription is not a final and irreversible measure. An application for de-proscription can be submitted and a further appeal process is available.
Four organisations have been de-proscribed to date: the People's Mujahiddeen of Iran, Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin, the International Sikh Youth Federation, and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).
Can I Be A Member Of A Proscribed Organisation?
It is a criminal offence to belong to a proscribed group. It is also a criminal offence to_ profess_ to be a member, whether orally or in writing i.e. in public or social media, whether true or false.
It is not however a criminal offence to have been a member of a proscribed organisation prior to its proscription (i.e. a former member), provided you have not have engaged in any of the group’s activities since its proscription.
Can I Express Support For A Proscribed Organisation?
It is a criminal offence to express support for and/or invite support for a proscribed organisation, in this case Hizb Ut-Tahrir.
Can I Meet With Former-Members Of A Proscribed Organisation?
It is a criminal offence to help organise, manage or address a meeting to encourage support for a proscribed group or further/promote its activities.
A meeting requires there to be more than two people and can be held in person, online or via messaging app.
You can however communicate, meet and attend meetings with former-members of a proscribed organisation such as Hizb Ut-Tahrir..
Can I Own Literature and Books by a Banned Organisation i.e. Hizb Ut Tahrir?
It is generally lawful to own books or other literature published by Hizb ut-Tahrir. The exceptions would be if you possess this literature for a purpose connected with terrorism, or if the literature would be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
Does This Mean The Shahadah Flag Is Now Also Banned?
The Shahada flag is not a specific symbol of Hizb ut-Tahrir and is not trademarked or uniquely associated with the group. It is a symbol for the ummah and is perfectly lawful to have and wave.
It is only an offence to wear an item of clothing or carry or publish or display an article which might arouse reasonable suspicion that you are a member/supporter of a proscribed group, or to publish an image of an item of clothing, symbol or article that may give the same impression*.*
Does Hizb Ut Tahrir’s Proscription Mean That I Can No Longer Espouse Of Islamic Concepts That It Also Promoted?
Hizb ut-Tahrir was not proscribed on account of its calls for khilafah and political unity under the shariah. Promoting these normative Islamic concepts, engaging in dawah, calling for an Islamic way of life, speaking about political issues and current affairs is perfectly lawful.
It is important to note that it is the group i.e. Hizb Ut-Tahrir that is proscribed and not the widely shared _and normative _Islamic ideas or ethos that it espoused.
It has always been accepted that it is not appropriate for the government to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir for simply calling towards the global Muslim political unity and the establishment of a Caliphate.
By way of example, believing in, expressing support for, or organising a meeting calling for a free united Ireland is not a crime, even if it so happens that this is also the objective of the IRA, which is a proscribed organisation.
What Role Can I Play Now?
- Do not self-censor: Continue standing by our Islamic principles.
- Speak out against the proscription and advocate for deproscription.
- Continue showing brotherhood with one another.
Legitimate dissent, criticism and speech should not be suppressed and silenced as a result. It is imperative that individuals and the community continue to rally and speak out on critical issues, calling for what is just and right.