The reductive refashioning offered by Hizb ut-Tahrir makes sharia immutable, something that is beyond thought or change. The particular sharia they advocate was formulated in the ninth century and is frozen in history. Inherently violent towards women, minorities and criminals, it has never been willingly accepted by Muslims but always had to be forcibly imposed by authoritarian regimes. Inevitably, HT’s adherence to the idea of one caliphate with one sharia leads it to put a particular spin on the idea of jihad: it must be an all-out offensive war. A “concept” document from the group makes this clear: “Jihad is a war against anyone who stands against the call to Islam, whether he is an aggressor or not.”
So, while HT may not directly engage in violence, it certainly preaches engagement with violence.
What HT peddles, in fact, is an escapist romantic fascism of a sort that appeals to members who simply want to be told what to do. Not for them the awesome responsibility of making their own choices. They are not responsible for the British society in which they live and neither will they be responsible for the Islamic society of which they dream – because there, too, they will merely be told what to do.
Violent though Hizb ut-Tahrir’s vision is, society’s answer should not be to ban it, but rather to expose and ridicule the intellectual poverty of its delusions. Ridicule, as opponents of the religious hatred legislation are so keen to point out, is a potent weapon. It should be our weapon of choice in the fight against Islamic fascism.
Hat tip: Austerlitz