The UK government, represented by Home Secretary James Cleverly, has announced its intention to proscribe the international political organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir under the Terrorism Act of 2000. 
This “draconian” move is based on allegations of anti-Semitic views and the organisation’s purported promotion of terrorism, particularly in relation to the 7 October attacks and their supposed endorsement of Hamas.
If the proscription is ultimately approved by Parliament, it will lead to severe legal repercussions, including imprisonment of up to 14 years, for those found belonging to, supporting, or even vaguely endorsing the group. 
“Britain will join the likes of Putin’s Russia”
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain immediately condemned the announcement.
In a statement, the organisation said,
“Hizb ut-Tahrir completely refutes any idea that it is anti-Semitic or encourages terrorism.
“We have repeatedly called for the re-establishment of the Islamic system in the Middle East that allowed Jews, Muslims, and Christians to live side by side for centuries. It is Islam’s sublime values that remove oppression from society and doesn’t discriminate on colour, race, religion, or gender.
“By seeking to proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir, Britain will join the likes of Putin’s Russia, Sisi’s Egypt, and a host of other authoritarian states in silencing a voice for the restoration of an Islamic civilisational alternative for the Muslim world.
“It also demonstrates that all the talk about diversity, anti-censorship and freedom of speech, are only acceptable as long as one agrees with the extremist Zionist agenda of 10 Downing Street.” 
Public response and legal assessment
The decision follows heightened pressure on the government, especially after a London rally organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir, where calls for “jihad” were reported whilst calling on Muslim countries to intervene in the genocide of Gaza, about which Israel is currently awaiting a judgment from the International Court of Justice at The Hague. 
However, the Metropolitan Police, after reviewing footage of the Hizb ut-Tahrir protest, found no evidence of any specific offences.
Specialist lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service concurred with this assessment.
Despite this, a segment of the public, along with MPs and Israeli interest groups, have vocally demanded a crackdown on expressions of what they perceive as “extremism and anti-Semitism” — in truth, support for Palestine and condemnation of Israel.
Controversy over government stance
The government’s decision to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir has raised significant concerns regarding its commitment to freedom of expression and the targeting of Muslim groups.
This is further amplified by the contrast in the government’s approach towards Muslim organisations and its handling of Islamophobic groups.
Critics point out the apparent double standard, noting the lack of legal action following the Metropolitan Police and CPS review of the protest footage.
Moreover, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s insistence on their non-violent stance contradicts the government’s assertions, deepening the debate over Downing Street’s counter-terrorism policies and their impact on free speech. This is reigniting calls that echo those of the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Max Hill KC, who suggested terrorism laws be scrapped. 
Contrast with international policies
The UK government’s readiness to target Muslim organisations, while simultaneously supporting allies in wars that devastate regions and massacre scores of innocent civilians, is seen by many as hypocritical.
This stance raises questions about the consistency in the government’s domestic and international policies, especially in the realm of counter-terrorism and human rights.
The involvement of the UK in global conflicts, often resulting in widespread destruction and profound loss of innocent lives, contrasts sharply with its domestic policy of banning organisations based on suspected “extremist” views.
The hypocrisy is amplified considering the UK government’s recent unsanctioned bombardment of Yemen. 
The debacle continues as the government’s actions are being scrutinised for their lack of alignment with principles of freedom, justice, and human rights, both at home and abroad.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is not a terrorist group. It has a history of promoting non-violent struggle and has not been connected with any terrorist plots or activities. It is for these reasons that previous plans by both Blair and Cameron to ban the organisation had been shelved.
In moving to proscribe the organisation, the UK is demonstrating three things:
1. The lowering of the threshold for proscription in order to silence free speech.
2. Its subservience to Israeli policy.
3. Its desire to join the great bastions of freedom that have also banned the group — Russia, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Germany.
To proscribe a group, the Home Secretary must believe that it is concerned in terrorism (not ‘has been concerned’). This means that he must believe that the group currently commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, promotes or encourages terrorism, or is otherwise concerned in terrorism.
The Home Secretary seems to have exploited the 'encourages terrorism' aspect of this by relying on a single press release by Hizb ut-Tahrir's branch in Palestine on 7 October 2023.
There are two important points to consider.
Firstly, this was not issued by Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain and there does not appear to be anything the government can point to that suggests HTB encouraged the operation or promoted terrorism generally. It was issued by a branch operating in Palestine where the Palestinians have been resisting apartheid and illegal military occupation for 75 years. Context matters.
Secondly, the press release was issued on the same day as the 7 October response. It would have been very late that night, and really on mid-late Sunday when news of the extent of what had happened came to light. It is telling that this press release refers only to military targets.
Is the ban proportionate?
Even if the group is deemed to be concerned in terrorism, the Home Secretary must determine whether proscribing it is proportionate.
In coming to that decision, he must consider:
1. The nature and scale of the organisation’s activities.
2. The specific threat that it poses to the UK.
3. The specific threat that it poses to British nationals overseas.
4. The extent of the organisation’s presence in the UK.
5. The need to support other members of the international community in the global fight against terrorism.
It is evident that it is the fifth factor that is the only consideration that matters in this decision.
Parliament will rubber-stamp the proscription as it has always done. These are parliamentarians who are so petrified of falling on the wrong side of Israel that, with thousands of children killed by Israel, they could not bring themselves to even vote for a ceasefire.
Once the proscription goes through, it will become an offence to express support for Hizb ut-Tahrir or to invite support for them. So if you do support HT, you have this week to say so without breaking the law. After that, there is no freedom of speech to have a mature conversation about the group without nasty trolls reporting you.
It will also be a criminal offence to arrange, manage, or assist in arranging or managing a meeting in the knowledge that the meeting is to support or further the activities of HT, or is to be addressed by a person who belongs or professes to belong to HT.
Before everyone begins cancelling people they know who are HT members and supporters and stop meeting with them, please note:
A meeting for the purpose of the legislation is defined as involving three persons or more, so 1-on-1 meetings would not break the law.
The explanatory notes to the Terrorism Act 2000 also permit the arrangement of ‘genuinely benign’ meetings: a meeting at which the terrorist activities of the group are not promoted or encouraged.
How will this ban be policed?
Another concern will be the offence of wearing clothing or carrying articles in public or publishing an image of an article that arouses reasonable suspicion that the person is a member or supporter of HT. This will be very difficult to police as HT has adopted the Muslim shahada flag as its emblem. The same flag has been adopted by the present Afghan government.
A shahada frame or flag is a common feature in most Muslim households. It is a reminder of the most fundamental aspect of the Islamic faith, without which one cannot be a Muslim. The shahada are the first words uttered into the ears of a newborn and the final statement of a Muslim before death. For that reason, it is often seen on t-shirts, bandanas, jewellery, decoration pieces, and even draped over coffins being taken to the cemetery. Should we prepare for mass arrests?
It is incredible that at a time when 3,000 British citizens have travelled to Israel to participate in a genocidal military campaign against the Palestinian people — currently being considered by the World Court — Britain has once again demonstrated where its loyalties lie and moved to ban a non-violent group because its Palestinian branch issued a press release within hours of the 7 October response, praising the attack on military targets.
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