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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Cameron reiterates promise to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir [by Robin Simcox]

- on March 15, 2010

David Cameron talks to Martin Bright in this week's Jewish Chronicle about how a Conservative government would deal with certain issues relating to extremism in the UK. His comments are a mixed bag. It was encouraging to see Cameron talk about addressing Islamist radicalisation flourishing on campus, although his comments were frustratingly light on substantive policy. He was also badly briefed. Cameron mentioned that under the Conservatives, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, and Ibrahim el-Moussaoui, Hizbollah's media relations officer, would both be banned from the country. Admirable sentiments; the only problem being that Labour already banned Qaradawi from entering the UK in 2008, and did the same to Moussaoui a year later.

What I found most interesting was that Cameron again insisted, this close to the election, that revolutionary Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir will be banned by a Conservative government. This has been repeated so many times now, not only by Cameron but also by Chris Grayling and Pauline Neville-Jones, that I find it hard to believe it will be quietly dropped should the Conservatives win power.

As I have written previously, the legal grounds for banning Hizb are extremely shaky indeed. While they provide the ideological basis for terrorist acts, there is no evidence that the group has direct links to terrorism. Russia is the only European country to have banned the group outright. In Germany it is illegal to conduct any activity in the group's name, although membership of the group remains legal. However the ban that is in effect there relates specifically to Hizb's antisemitism, and is something unique to the German constitution. The Public Order Act of 1986 already protects Jewish communities from racial hatred here in the UK.

Should Cameron win power, how he plans to go about making good on this promise can be added to the list of significant challenges he is going to face.

*) From The Centre for Social Cohesion

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