Here is a selection of the articles which we have carried recently about Hizb’ut Tahrir.
My view is that Hizb’ut Tahrir is a racist and totalitarian party. It has a sufficiently large number of supporters to make its political programme something that people should worry about. I do not, however, think that the Government has made a convincing case for its banning. I am not persuaded that the banning will combat effectively the ideology which Hizb champions and propagates. I am, however, concerned that the true nature of its politics is often not properly reported and is therefore not widely known. When its spokesman is invited to appear in the broadcast media, interviewers frequently appear ill briefed. Other racist and totalitarian parties of the far right are not given a free pass by parts of the press. In the past, I suspect, many journalists have simply not understood the politics of Hizb, and other extreme Islamist organisations. That does not surprise me. Since 1996, when Omar Bakri Mohammed left Hizb to form Al Muhajiroun, Hizb has spent a great deal of time and effort sanitising the public face of its politics. In that sense, it has followed a similar path to the fascist British National Party. However, we are not fooled by fascists simply because the put on a suit and a tie. The liberal media should not assist Hizb’ut Tahrir in achieving its goals.
UPDATE: Clive Davis reports a conversation with a senior BBC reporter who – beyond thinking that Hizb’s spokesman sounded “articulate and reasonable” – clearly had no idea at all of what it is that Hizb’ut Tahrir stands for. That’s the problem in a nutshell.
Indeed, a friend of mine suggested to me last night that the main reason Hizb has been singled out for banning might be to encourage journalists to examine its politics. That would, of course, be a cynical reason for threatening a ban. That said, the racist and totalitarian ideology of extreme Islamism does require proper scrutiny by the liberal press, rather than “understanding” or other forms of apologetics. It would be a pity if an opportunity to unmask the near-fascist theories of Hizb’ut Tahrir focused instead exclusively on the wisdom of the proposal to ban it.
In this article, I compare the reporting of Hizb with the reporting of the BNP.
In other articles:
– we covered the furore surrounding the revelation that the Guardian had employed a Hizb’ut Tahrir activist as a reporter, and allowed him to cover the Begum jilbab case, which is widely regarded as having been fronted by Hizb’ut Tahrir. We congratulated the Guardian for acting swiftly to resolve its dilemma.
– we considered a vox pop given by the BBC to Dr Imran Waheed of Hizb’ut Tahrir, which strangely made no mention of the extreme and racist politics of his party.
– we uncovered the racist propaganda which Hizb recently published on its website, but which it has recently removed.
– we also carried a few articles on the various groups which are derived from Hizb splits, including Al Muhajiroun, Saviour Sect, Al Ghuraaba, and the mysterious people who tried – unsuccessfully – to lynch George Galloway during the 2005 election campaign.
In other news, Hizb UK founder Omar Bakri Mohammed may (or may not) now have left the United Kingdom for Lebanon for good.