Britain has declared global Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir as a proscribed terrorist organization, subject to agreement by parliament, interior minister James Cleverly said on Monday.
Britain's proscription of the Sunni terrorist political group - which puts it on par with al-Qaeda or ISIS - will come into force from Jan. 19 if agreed by parliament, the Home Office said.
"Hizb ut-Tahrir is an antisemitic organization that actively promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating the appalling 7 October attacks," he said in a statement referring to attacks by Palestinian terrorist group Hamas on Israel.
The group's praise of the attacks, as well as describing Hamas as heroes on their website, constituted promoting and encouraging terrorism, Cleverly added.
The organization also has a history of praising and celebrating attacks against Jewish people, he added.
Today, we took action to proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation. The encouragement and promotion of Hamas’ unlawful attacks, and the group’s antisemitic ideology, are appalling.Being a member and inviting support for the group will be a criminal offence.— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) January 15, 2024
What will happen to those supporting the group?
Proscription means that it will be a criminal offense in Britain to belong to or promote the group, arrange its meetings, and carry its logo in public.
Those breaching the rules could face up to 14 years in jail.
Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron both tried to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, according to the Telegraph, which advocates for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate governed by religious law.
Founded in 1953 and headquartered in Lebanon, Hizb ut-Tahrir operates in 32 countries including in Britain and other Western nations, with a long-term goal of establishing a caliphate ruled under Islamic law, the Home Office said.
It has been banned by Germany, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan and several Central Asian and Arab nations.
Jewish community reactions to the decision
The board of deputies, a group representing the UK's Jewry, announced in a press release that they "commend the Home Secretary on his move to proscribe Hizb-ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation. Apart from its long-term history of antisemitism, its recent celebration of the October 7th attacks and description of Hamas as 'heroes' makes its ideology clear; the Jewish community in this country will be safer as a result of such proscription. We urge all parties to support this when it is debated in Parliament this week."
Gary Mond, Chairman of the National Jewish Assembly, told the Jerusalem Post "Countries all over the world, whatever their mode of government might be, need to act against organisations that preach hate and intolerance, of which Islamic fundamentalism is a prime example. Sadly this issue has been ignored for far too long by far too many countries, and it is to be hoped that the banning of Hizb ut-Tahrir will set a precedent, both in the UK and everywhere else."
The National Jewish Assembly also celebrated the decision, posting on X "We welcome this move by the @ukhomeoffice. Hizb ut-Tharir has been spreading antisemitic ideas across the UK as well as promoting and praising the horrific Hamas October 7th terrorist attack."
We welcome this move by the @ukhomeoffice.Hizb ut-Tharir has been spreading antisemitic ideas across the UK as well as promoting and praising the horrific Hamas October 7th terrorist attack. https://t.co/C5vuJQhYgj— NJA (@NJA_UK) January 15, 2024
For decades, Hizb ut-Tahrir have plagued campuses across the country, spreading their hateful and antisemitic ideology.We welcome this announcement and call for further action so that hate has no place on campus. https://t.co/q4J9zlmcRG pic.twitter.com/E1kRZbJDPM— Union of Jewish Students (@UJS_UK) January 15, 2024
The Union of Jewish Students, mentioning the longstanding issues caused by Hizb ut-Tahrir on campuses said they welcomed the Home Office's decision.