Douglas Murray Douglas Murray

The long-overdue banning of Hizb ut-Tahrir

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Well, better late than never, I suppose. This week the Home Secretary James Cleverly announced that the government has finally decided to ban the Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. For some readers this may sound like a familiar story.

In the aftermath of the 7 July 2005 terror attacks in London, the then prime minister Tony Blair declared that ‘the rules of the game are changing’. One of his most ardent promises was that he would ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group which was already banned in many Islamic countries that might be said to have a wiser attitude towards the extremists in their midst than we do.

It is hard to convey to anyone in a position of power in the UK just how weak our police have made us look

But Blair’s promise faded away. There were rumours of legal advice that claimed the group would be harder to ban than Blair might have liked. So when David Cameron was coming close to power and wanted to sound like he was going to be tough on Islamic extremism, he picked up the same theme. He too promised to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir in a big way, and he too promptly did nada.

To be fair to them both, HT have been cruising for a banning in a particularly spectacular way in recent months. Ever since the attacks of 7 October, HT has taken a prominent role in those deeply peaceful, completely pacifist marches which pollute the streets of London most Saturdays. And while HT are far from being the only wrong ’uns involved, it has often seemed like they have been trying to win every week’s ‘most frothing-at-the-mouth bearded maniac’ prize.

For instance, it was members of HT who congregated at one of the marches beneath banners which called for ‘Muslim armies’ to arise. Of course the Metropolitan Police observed these and other such events from a safe distance, swatting away the occasional passer-by who said that all this ‘Muslim armies arising’ stuff might be slightly rich fare even for the streets of diverse, tolerant 21st-century London.

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Douglas Murray
Written by
Douglas Murray
Douglas Murray is associate editor of The Spectator and author of The War on the West: How to Prevail in the Age of Unreason, among other books.

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