Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) are seldom out of the news these days. Like other organisations that peddle extremism in the UK, HuT have a tiny membership (3-4000), yet punch far above their weight through the use of the new media, by employing various front organisations and recruiting amongst the most politically active and technologically savvy.
HuT’s raison d’être is thus:
[…] to resume the Islamic way of life by establishing an Islamic State that executes the systems of Islam and carries its call to the world.
The organisation’s ideology rejects secular democracy and hence procedural secularism:
Hizb-ut-Tahrir…struggles against colonialism in all its forms and attributes in order to liberate the Ummah from its intellectual leadership and to deracinate its cultural, political, military and economic roots from the soil of the Islamic lands. Hizb-ut-Tahrir endeavors to change the erroneous thoughts which colonialism has propagated, such as confining Islam to rituals and morals.
Furthermore, as if this weren’t enough to set alarm bells ringing, HuT’s strategy is revolutionary in scope:
The party proceeds in the three periods which the Messenger of Allah (saw) proceeded in order to achieve his objective:
1- The period of study and culture in order to generate the party culture and incorporate the ideology in a group of individuals, i.e. in order to form the bloc.
2- The period of interaction with the Ummah and the struggle for the sake of making her adopt the ideology of the party as her own, make it her raison d’être and work towards establishing it.
3- The period of attaining and seizing the reins of power through the Ummah in order to implement the ideology in a comprehensive manner, because it is forbidden to seize partial power. Hence, the arrival at the ruling must be total and the implementation of Islam must be comprehensive.
Clearly, HuT is incompatible with a liberal democracy such as the UK’s, which makes today’s report in The Daily Telegraph that 3 schools with connections to HuT have received over £100,000 in government funding all the more astounding:
Accounts filed at the Charity Commission show that the Government paid a total of £113,411 last year to a foundation run by senior members and activists of Hizb ut-Tahrir — a notorious Islamic extremist group that ministers promised to ban.
The public money helped run a nursery school and two Islamic primary schools where children are taught key elements of Hizb’s ideology from the age of five.
The name of the ‘foundation’ responsible for the administration of the three schools is enlightening:
The three schools — in Tottenham, north London, and Slough, Berks — are run by the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation, a registered charity.
Shakhsiyah (or shakhsiyyah) is a transliteration of the Arabic word for ‘personality’ (شخصية) and the term ‘Islamic personality’ or Islamic Shakhsiyah, coincidentally, happens to be the title of a famous three volume treatise written by the founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Jordanian-Palestinian Taqi ud-Deen an-Nabhani. You can view the three volume treatise here and here (unfortunately the 3rd volume is not available in English, but each volume is available in Arabic here, here and here).
Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation runs two independent primary schools and two attached nurseries. The schools and nurseries run on an alternative ethos as detailed on our website. We provide other services to the community including various classes and community events.
The article goes on to examine the schools’ management team:
The foundation’s lead trustee is Yusra Hamilton, a leading Hizb activist who is married to Taji Mustafa, the group’s chief spokesman in Britain.
At least three of the four trustees are Hizb members or activists, including Farah Ahmed, the head teacher of the Slough school, who has written in a Hizb journal condemning the “corrupt Western concepts of materialism and freedom”.
A spokesman for the foundation insisted that it was not a Hizb ut-Tahrir operation but involved “Muslim women from a wide variety of backgrounds”.
And we can see what sort of ‘alternative ethos’ guides the ISF’s approach to teaching and learning, their so-called an-Nabhani inspired Shakhsiyah Model:
The Islamic belief of the purpose of life is fundamentally in opposition to the secular belief. The secular education system therefore has fundamentally different goals to the Islamic education system. It is not sufficient to insert some Islamic aspects into secular systems.
The curriculum fits perfectly with HuT’s ‘three steps to Khalifah’ goal:
The schools’ history curriculum states that children are taught that “there must be one ruler of the khilafah [caliphate]”. The schools’ website says that “in the glorious history of Islam… the Sharia was the norm”.
And the ISF, despite clearly being a HuT front organisation, received funds via local government from the Department for Children, Schools and Families:
The Shakhsiyah Foundation spokesman said the government money, from Whitehall’s “Free Entitlement” and “Pathfinder” programmes, had been claimed by parents on behalf of the school. However, a spokesman for Haringey council, which administered the grant, said this was incorrect and that the foundation had applied for the money.
This means that British taxpayers are helping to fund the ideological indoctrination of children by an extremist Islamist group; a group that former PM Tony Blair claimed he would proscribe in the wake of the 7/7 bombings, but then reneged on his promise; a group which has now been banned in Bangladesh for attempting to foment an Islamic revolution and destabilise the government; a group with nuclear ambitions.
Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary, promised to ban HuT if the Tories form the next government:
The Home Office has another key responsibility. The security of our people and of our nation. To take the lead in the battle against terrorism. And the fight against an ideology of hate and violence. An ideology that damages the reputation of decent, law abiding British Muslims as well as threatening life and limb. And let’s be clear. That ideology wants to destroy the civil liberties that make this country what it is. No Government should allow them to do so, and the way this Government has eroded those liberties is shameful and must be reversed.
Our police and security services have done a magnificent job in protecting us against the terrorist threat. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
But we are still not tough enough on those who spread a doctrine of hate in Britain. So I will immediately ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, and any other group that actively incites hatred and violence.
We also have extremists using video links to hold meetings with banned preachers of hate from overseas who urge violence against our society. If I am Home Secretary the people who organise those meetings will be arrested and prosecuted.
Under this Government the extremists have been free to protest on our streets and incite violence and hatred in the most blatant ways. We cannot and we will not allow this to continue.
HuT are unlikely to be banned under the Tories as it would be reasonable to assume that, had it been possible, Blair would have added them to the proscribed list of organisations. That he didn’t suggests two things:
1 – There is as yet, despite the plethora of anecdotal and documentary evidence (not least here), no hard evidence linking HuT in the UK to violence.
2 – Banning HuT is seen as counter-productive. When Omar Bakri’s outfit, al-Muhajiroun, and several of its offshoots were outlawed, another organisation, Islam4UK, popped up featuring many of the same individuals involved in the previous incarnations. Meanwhile, Islam4UK continue to spout extremist rhetoric within the letter of the law, as it seems do HuT.
A useful discussion on the merits of banning Hizb ut-Tahrir and the likely problems with such a strategy can be found here.