Dr Abdul Wahid’s Weblog

Dr Abdul Wahid’s Weblog

A Response to David Davis MP in the Sunday Times

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Press Release
Sunday, 12 August 2007
Dated: Sunday 12 Aug 2007

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The most recent, and frankly absurd, attack on Hizb ut-Tahrir, (The wrong voice for Muslim Britain, Sunday Times, 5th August 2007 ) is the Conservative party’s latest desperate attempt to counter Labour’s cynical stance on the extension of pre-charge detention. It is degrading to see someone who aspires to high political office resort to an argument based on sloppy research, inaccuracies and recycled and outdated allegations, which are false.

David Davis has the audacity to lecture Hizb ut-Tahrir on the value of life when we opposed a war that he and his party supported, which claimed the lives of over 650,000 civilians. Like this government, he and his party have voiced neither outrage nor disgust at those deaths. Unlike him we have made it clear that Islam values the lives of people in Glasgow , London , New York , Iraq or Afghanistan . Whilst he attacks us for coupling the word “innocent” to the word “civilian”, wrongfully implying a hidden meaning, he ignores his own use of the same term during a Parliamentary debate (26th October 2005) when he said “There are common-sense elements to this which are self-evident: for example that it is always wrong to blow up innocent civilians”.

He resorts to trying to prove guilt by alleging association. Contrary to his assertions, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Muhammad Babar have never been members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, and there is no evidence that Richard Reid was ever influenced by “Hizb ut-Tahrir preachers”. He tries to attribute Omar Bakri Mohammed’s views post 9/11 to a previous association with Hizb ut-Tahrir, which ended in 1996. If this ridiculous logic were to be applied to the Conservative party’s

real [not mythical] associations with its former members, they would be linked with actions and beliefs they utterly disagree with. Their former deputy Chairman Lord Archer and former Minister Jonathan Aitken were both convicted of perjury. The fascist Oswald Mosely was once a Conservative MP and the father of the BNP Chairman Nick Griffin was once a Conservative counsellor. Does Mr Davis believe that these examples prove his party is a conveyor belt to perjury and fascism?

He recycles the false assertion that Hizb ut-Tahrir seeks to establish a Caliphate in the UK , which is contradicted on the first page of our pamphlet – “Radicalisation, Extremism & Islamism – Realities and Myths in the War on Terror”- that he himself quotes from in the article.

Mr Davis writes, with unintended irony, that: “Perhaps most significantly, HuT fails to explain why legitimate grievances and genuine reform cannot be addressed by participating in our political system, rather than opting out”. His dishonest call for a ban on a non-violent organisation, simply to look tough on security, provides ample explanation of why cheap Machiavellian politics can never address the complex issues facing Muslims locally and globally. Is it surprising that so many people mistrust politicians when they spin arguments for political gain, or allow themselves to be deceived by those who feed them falsehoods? Is it surprising that almost forty percent of the electorate ‘opt out’ of the system?

He seems outraged that we criticise secular liberal democracy, when there are attempts at imposing this political model by force on the Muslim world despite its wholesale rejection there. Unlike Hizb ut-Tahrir, he offers no alternative to the failed colonialist model of the past century in the Muslim world. A model that perpetuates political and economic injustice.

We call for real solutions based the noble Islamic values and beliefs: motivating Muslims towards working for the restoration of Caliphate in the Muslim world; motivating all people in general to stand against the tyranny that exists there – tyranny that is perpetuated by British government policy; and a real engagement between Muslims and non-Muslims to further understanding between communities in Britain. Ours is a serious and positive agenda for Muslims, presented at our hugely successful London conference last week. Sadly, his article is the tired rhetoric of the past.

Dr Abdul Wahid
Chairman UK Executive Committee
Hizb ut-Tahrir
http://www.hizb.org.uk
5th August 2007

Written by Dr Abdul Wahid

March 14, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Interview: Hizb ut-Tahrir and Politicisation of Muslims in Britain

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Highlights from an Interview with Chairman of UK Executive Committee, Dr Abdul Wahid for the September 2007 edition of Islamism digest – The full interview can be found in the print edition of the digest available from http://www.cfsot.com

ON THE WAR ON TERROR:

Islamism Digest: How is the West trying to perpetuate the so-called War on Terror?

Abdul Wahid: The West’s different strategies in the War on Terror vary from place to place. In the context of Iraq – where the United States is failing badly – the strategy has defaulted to trying to induce a sectarian conflict, not only in Iraq but in the wider Middle East. In the context of Pakistan the West is using the Musharraf regime to fight its military battles there, particularly in the border regions with Afghanistan. In the context of Muslim diasporas in the West, Britain in particular, there is a two-fold strategy. One is a legal strategy designed to reduce the political space for Islamic activism. The other is a so-called ‘hearts and minds’ strategy which is in reality an attempt to impose its own vision of Islam – in other words a compliant and subservient Islam – upon the Muslim community in the West.

ID: Are you referring to attempts to promote quietist Sufi Tariqas [orders or paths] as an alternative to Islamism?

AW: I think that is too generous! They are using the label Sufi to promote a form of Islam that is virtually unrecognisable to a broad spectrum of Muslim opinion, including Sufis. This is an Islam without Shari’a; without Khilafah; an Islam without Islam basically!

ON “TERRORISM”

ID: Can the international community develop a common definition of terrorism?

AW: I think the international community in its present form has no desire to develop a common definition of terrorism primarily because powerful states want to define terrorism according to their own interests. The United States has its own definition of terrorism according to its interests; Russia will use its own and so on and so forth. What we don’t see – and are unlikely to see – is an emergence of a definition that would hold these powerful states to account. A simple definition of terrorism which included the targeting of civilian life for a political cause would be first and foremost applicable to Western states and their military onslaughts on Iraq and Afghanistan and going back many decades and centuries to France in Algeria, Britain in India and countless other examples.

ID: How does Hizb ut-Tahrir define terrorism?

AW: I would look at terrorism from a global and broad-based perspective. We can look at state-sponsored terrorism in Iraq which has so far cost 650,000 civilian lives; we can look at decades of Israeli terrorism in Palestine; we can look at corporate terrorism which subjugates literally billions of people to the volatile forces of the market.

ID: This is interesting since you are extending the definition to include ‘corporate terrorism’. Would you then regard the behaviour of Western drug companies in Africa as a form of terrorism?

AW: Whether it is the drugs companies and their refusal to address the proliferation of AIDS in Africa, or whether it is the food companies that coerce countries to grow crops for export purposes at the expense of the local population having food on their tables, these actions cause immeasurable amounts of suffering and are tantamount to terrorism.

ON MUSLIMS AND FOREIGN POLICY

ID:  Some people contest your argument that foreign policy is the decisive factor in leading a tiny number of Britain’s young Muslim male population to resort to terrorism. They would argue that many of the so-called ‘radicalisation’ factors were present before the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. While I don’t want to discuss this in particular I’d like to know what you think the British government can do (aside from changing aspects of its foreign policy) to diminish the terrorism threat to the UK?

AW: First of all, it is important not to underestimate the impact of foreign policy. It is very unfortunate that the new foreign secretary David Milliband has explicitly said that Britain needs to maintain its activist stance in the world; which effectively means its engagement and interference in the Muslim world. Upon his return from Pakistan Milliband explicitly endorsed the actions of the military dictator of Pakistan. So once again we see the British government dealing immorally in its international politics and thinking that no consequence and anger flows from these policies. On the domestic front, the British government’s approach to the Muslim community has been very divisive inasmuch as it has tried to set up rival factions and more broadly the government has isolated the Muslim community by over-emphasising, even exaggerating the security threat in a way that effectively tarnishes that whole community. The government has also tolerated the media’s onslaughts on aspects of Islamic identity (in particular the Islamic Hijab and Niqab) which has further undermined community relations in the UK. Furthermore, the government has tried to reduce the root causes of the security threat to aspects of Islamic ideologies thereby absolving itself of any blame or responsibility.

ID: Supporters and apologists of the British establishment would say that why should the Muslim community in the UK – which only comprises 2% of the total population – have the opportunity to shape this country’s foreign policy.

AW: The first thing I would say is that if the people who hold that view really regarded the Muslim community in Britain as fellow citizens then they would allow them to advance their political opinions openly and without fear of harassment and proscription. The fact is if they wish to silence our opinion, and it would be more honest for them to say so openly. Secondly, the reality in contemporary Britain is that there exists a tiny elite – often representing powerful commercial interests – which determines foreign policy and policy generally in this country. As the war in Iraq proved, it is not the masses that determine policy in this country. A clear majority of the British people were against the Iraq war but the power elites simply ignored their wishes.

ON CAMPAIGN AGAINST Hizb ut-Tahrir

ID: There is renewed media attention on HT’s alleged ‘radicalisation’ function; how do you explain this? Is it a prelude to the party’s proscription?

AW: I think the government realised that proscription is very hard. Indeed, the former Home Secretary John Reid said that there is no evidence that Hizb-ut Tahrir is a violent organisation and on that basis it is difficult for the rest of government to argue forcefully for proscription. In light of this, the tactics have reverted to smear, slander and innuendo to try to discredit the organisation.

ID: It is clear that former members or at least sympathisers of HT, like Shiraz Maher, are leading this campaign. What is the motivation of these individuals and how important are they?

AW: In regards to motivation you’d have to ask them that question. I think it is clear that these people are not significant players. Sudden 180 degrees ideological and political transformations are very strange indeed. But you have to look at the wider picture and recognise the fact that powerful forces in the right and left wings of British politics are against any form of Islamic political activism in this country.

ID: Do you believe these dissidents are part of a wider disinformation campaign against Hizb ut-Tahrir and are you fearful of their activities?

AW: I am not in the slightest bit worried by their activities. I do not know if it is part of a co-ordinated disinformation campaign but it is in the public domain that some of these people [former HT members] have openly admitted communication with the security services. We will get on with our activities and mission as before and will not be deterred in the slightest by smear campaigns.

ID: Leaving the government aside, do you accept that HT has an image problem in the UK dating back to the late 1980s?

AW: If there is a misunderstanding about HT then it is clearly our duty to rectify that.

ID: One key misunderstanding – especially on the part of the media – is that HT wants to extend the Islamic Khilafah to the West. How would you rectify this misunderstanding?

AW: All we can do is to repeat what we have always said. HT’s methodology for the past 50 years has been very open and clear; working for the re-establishment of the Khilafah solely in the Muslim world. We have done this by preparing public opinion at all levels of society to bring change. We have repeatedly clarified that it has never been part of our programme to work for the re-establishment of the Khilafah in the west.

ID: But you work intensively with Muslims in the West. Do you think this heightens suspicions?

AW: Debates about the future politics of the Muslim world are generated in the West. Muslims in the West are part of the Muslim Ummah and need to be part of that debate whether in the West or the world over. Moreover, they regularly travel to Muslim countries and are in constant communication with Muslims in the Islamic world. All of this interaction has a major effect on global Muslim public opinion. Furthermore, our role in the West is to encourage our community to lead a model Islamic life and convey the true message and mission of Islam to the wider community.


ON MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN BRITAIN

ID: What is your ideal Muslim leadership in the UK?

AW: Any effective leadership has to remain independent from government manipulation and interference.

ID: There is now a lot of talk and speculation about the direction of the Muslim community’s development in the UK. How do you see the Muslim community ten years from now?

AW: I think there are several consensuses building up in the Muslim community. One is that isolation is simply not an option. Second, there is a growing realisation that the ideas, values and symbols of Islam are under concerted attack in the UK and that there is a need to defend these ideas and values both intellectually and politically. Third, many Muslims aspire to lead an authentic Islamic life and all available evidence suggests that this trend will intensify in the years to come. This is best epitomised by the battles which Muslim women are constantly having to face in simply following the Islamic dress code.

ID: Do you see engagement and Islamisation as parallel processes in the UK?

AW: Islamisation means Muslims adhering to Islamic values, living as decent and productive citizens in the UK, whilst at the same time standing up to the injustices that take place around the world. If we engage on this basis then we actually have something valuable to offer to the wider society in the UK. After all, many British people often bemoan the erosion of these values in this country.

ID: It seems you want to substitute the word engagement with integration!

AW: The government talks the language of integration but in fact it pursues the politics of assimilation. I think the term engagement is clearer and relieves the Muslim community from the burden of religious-cultural divestment and assimilation.

Dr Abdul Wahid

Chairman UK Executive Committee

Hizb ut-Tahrir

Islamism Digest, Volume 2, Issue 9

September 2007

Written by Dr Abdul Wahid

March 11, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Open Letter to David Cameron MP, Conservative Party Leader

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We have become accustomed to matters of security being cynically played by you for political point scoring. Your persistent call, with no evidence, for the criminalisation of Hizb ut-Tahrir and other Muslim groups and thinkers illustrates many things.

Firstly, you mislead the general public who expect their leaders to produce well informed arguments based on evidence. The complex issues that have created today’s security environment have been reduced by you to the single issue of Islam’s political ideas and its adherents. You, like Tony Blair and George W Bush before you, simply seek to divert any responsibility for creating today’s security environment away from western government policies in the Muslim world. Secondly, it confirms your party’s credentials as an anti-Muslim party, who care little for community relations. You expose the promotion of a Muslim to the Shadow Cabinet as a veneer for your actual policies, by silencing her views on these matters (such that she utterly contradicts what she had argued for over two years) and by having her stalked in her brief by one of the most hawkish MPs.

Thirdly, the trail of your argument can be traced to various right wing neoconservative think tanks in Washington, via their sister organisations in the UK. It is well known that you have self declared neoconservatives in your front bench team and we are aware that some of your senior staff have been sent to Washington to consult with these people on these matters. These same people who have advised you on the matter of Hizb ut-Tahrir, also call for the bombing of Iran (as they called for the war in Iraq), the withdrawal of Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights and the termination of your relationship with the Conservative Muslim Forum (recently described by one supporter of yours at the Heritage Foundation as a flirtation with Islamic extremism). Such views merely illustrate the fragility of the so-called principles of freedom and tolerance that you claim to believe in.

You prefer to ban ideas rather than debate them. You believe that voices that confront the policies of this country in the Muslim world should be silenced. Your views on non-violent groups like ours simply reinforces the belief in the Muslim world that this war on terror is not about preventing violence but preventing Muslims from living in their lands according to their way of life – Islam – and seeking to impose your systems on them. This is a recognised pattern that we have seen under repressive regimes in the Muslim world.

We are willing to debate any of these matters with you in a public forum. The cowardice of making your accusations in Parliament – where you enjoy the cover of legal protection – is telling. Your persistent call for a ban and the censoring of debate and discussion on important issues, suggests to me that you would not accept this offer, because you have no arguments and no proofs to bring to the table. However, our challenge stands regardless.

Dr Abdul Wahid
Chairman UK Executive Committee
Hizb ut-Tahrir
November 2007

Written by Dr Abdul Wahid

March 11, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Dr Abdul Wahid Speaks on Pakistan and British Foreign Policy at London Event

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Leader of the National Executive Committee of Hizb ut Tahrir Britain, Dr Abdul Wahid presented an important speech in London discussing the ongoing Pakistan crisis and the role of western governments in supporting the dictator and tyrant Musharraf.

He showed the duplicity in western governments rhetoric versus practise when it comes to the regimes in the Muslim world. Dr Wahid also talked about the duty of Muslims living in the UK to stand firm in calling Islam and the Khilafah despite the atmosphere of fear being generated by the government iwith its draconian anti-terror legislation.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Written by Dr Abdul Wahid

March 11, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Public Lectures, Video

“Has Political Participation Failed British Muslims?”

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“Has political participation failed British Muslims?” This was the title of a debate held on Tuesday 26th February 2008 at the London Muslim Centre, hosted by the Cordoba Foundation. The response: a resounding 78% of the audience agreed with the motion, after a lively, frank and civil 90 minute discussion following Islamic etiquettes of debate.

The panel consisted of human-rights lawyer Makbool Javaid and Abdul Wahid of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain arguing that political participation had failed, with Muslim Peer Nazir Ahmed and Osama Saeed, a prospective SNP candidate and activist, both feeling it had not failed. All the participants agreed the importance of that political engagement through discussion, campaigning, building communities, presenting a case for Muslim interests and trying to affect opinion within political circles. However, the area of difference was over the worth of engagement with the party political system.

Lord Ahmed argued that Britain offered unrivalled opportunities for Muslims and justified Muslims being involved in party politics by citing the example of the Hifl al Fudhool in the time of the Messenger SAW. Osama Saeed mentioned many examples which might benefit Muslims such as legislation against religious discrimination and Shariah compliant finance.

Abdul Wahid responded to these points that Hilf ul Fudhool – a discussion forum in pre-Islamic Arabia – could not be compared to the Westminster parliament, a legislative body where debate was within the exclusive framework of specific secular criteria. He also mentioned that the religious discrimination legislation from Europe had nothing to do with Muslim involvement in the political system and the Shariah compliant issue arose out of a consumer demand, pressure from city financial institutions and Muslims presenting their case to the Treasury outside of the party political process.

He said he rejected the binary argument that only assimilation in to the political system or isolation/separatism were the only two alternatives but that if people wanted to know whether Muslim participation in the system had brought fruits they should look at the recent Archbishop-Shariah debacle. Not one of the Muslim parliamentarians explained the meaning of Shariah in civil and personal matters to the media, and none defended the viscous and fanatical media attack on Shariah more generally. Indeed, some cynically used the opportunity to join in the attack on the Archbishop, and criticise Shariah themselves. He explained this by saying that the system corrupts even well intentioned men and women, who enter politics meaning to help their community, but find they have to submit their principles and wishes of their community to the party line. To be selected as a candidate and then to rise up the party requires ever increasing degrees of submission, and in today’s anti-Muslim climate in Europe, that inevitably meant more denunciation of Islam and Shariah. He told the audience because of this, they might join in the system, but only at the expense of their Islam. He argued for a better alternative of political activity for Muslims, based on Islam and political activism to build self-reliant community institutions to tackle the real issues affecting our community – as well as to carry dawah by example of living by Islamic values.

Makbool Javaid challenged the premise that the system should only serve the interests of those who participated. He did not feel that Muslims, alone, should have to do more than other citizens to be treated with fairness. However, anyone who felt that playing the system was the only way to move forward should look to the example of the black community in the USA . It should be a lesson to us that the USA, with a serious black contender for President, a black Secretary of State, and numerous black mayors and police chiefs that Hurricaine Katrina two years ago revealed a black under class comparable to some African states. Political participation had not helped these people, and the various black politicians who had climbed the career ladder had not been able to elevate their community significantly.

During the Q and A session the discussion covered alternative ways of political engagement, as well as the hukm shari issues related to legislation and backing secular political parties. Lord Ahmed argued that you didn’t have to agree with all policies of a party to support it. Abdul Wahid responded to this by saying that governments whip their MPs on manifesto issues, and when you vote you effectively tick a box for the candidate who stands on that manifesto.

Written by Dr Abdul Wahid

March 11, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Dr Abdul Wahid Discusses Pakistan Political Crisis at London Meeting

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Following the assassination of the former Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto and the rioting across Pakistan which followed, Chairman of the National Executive Committee of Hizb ut Tahrir Britain gave a speech in London on the crisis. Discussing how the violent politics of Pakistan’s history and its continual failure as a state, like other Muslim countries, is the consequence of a failure of leadership and political system that allows western colonial states to interefere and dictate both internal and foreign policies.

Dr Wahid emphasized how Pakistan must move towards a new leadership and a new system of governance if the cycle of political violence is to end. Dr Wahid re-iterated Hizb ut Tahrir’s global call for the return of the Khilafah as the system that will bring unity through Islam, independent leadership, the rule of law and security to the Muslims of Pakistan and across the world.

Click Here to Listen to the Speech

Written by Dr Abdul Wahid

March 11, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Dr Abdul Wahid: A Mini Interview by Prospect

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1. Because Hizb ut-Tahrir is a radical Islamic group that stresses non-violence (at least in Britain) many people are shocked at the suggestion that you might be banned. But there are two serious problems with HT. First, you seem to play a “transmission belt” role for many young British Muslims who get their first taste of the fundamentalist world view from you and then move on to more violent groups. Second, you have openly opposed the idea of co-operating in the handing over of terror suspects to the authorities. How can you reassure politicians and the public on those two points?

It certainly should shock people that we may be proscribed. Not even Sinn Fein was banned, with declared links to a terrorist organisation at the height of the ‘troubles’. I totally reject the ‘transmission belt’ role you assert. It is built upon many false premises and I can explain why I am confident it is not true. Our political culture does not only stress non-violence, but stresses the importance of finding intellectual and political solutions to our problems. We say this because we consider that the problems of the Muslim world are due to declined thinking leading to political ineptitude. Hence, our mantra is that all our various problems in the Muslim world, including occupation, are symptoms of a deeper one that needs a political solution. That is something that people who hear us speak and read our literature are very clear on. Our objective is political and intellectual and so too are our means. Indeed, in some parts of the Muslim world we are accused of being too political in our solutions. We deal with a population politicised by world events, and channel their emotion into this non-violent political work. It is, in fact, foreign policy and the rhetoric of politicians that makes Muslims, young and old, angry. We replace anger with hope by providing a convincing political solution and invitation to work with us for that solution. That has been our position for over fifty years, even in the face of severe repression in some parts of the world. The assertion that we act as a “conveyor belt” for terrorism was first put by Zeyno Baran of the Nixon Center in America and was soundly refuted at the time by one of our members, Dr Abdullah Robin. (See http://www.1924.org/comment/index.php?id=1240_0_13_10_M )

On your second point, we have never said we oppose the handing over of terror suspects to the authorities. We have said that if an individual Muslim was faced with someone who was unwavering about committing harm to others, one would have no choice but to tell the authorities in order to prevent the harm to others. What we advise people to be careful of is to beware the climate of paranoia that exists at sensitive times. The lives of many innocent people have been ruined by over suspicion. Indeed many arrests in the UK and some detainees in Guantanamo bay were innocent people maliciously reported to the police.

2. You reject the “conveyor-belt” tag but what did you feel when you heard that the two British Pakistanis who blew themselves up in Tel-Aviv had passed through the study group of one of the HT founders in Britain?

I think you are alluding to Omar Bakri in your question, who incidentally was not a founder of our group in Britain, and who was expelled from it over nine years ago. I feel people need to look at HT for what we stand for, and not make assumptions based on anecdotal situations where many confounding factors are ignored.

3. You used to openly support suicide bombings in Israel on the grounds that Palestinians feels that they have no other means of being heard, have you changed your mind on that?

Look, there is a fundamental question you have to answer first. Do people who have suffered the occupation of their land, expulsion, homelessness and the loss of self-determination have the right to resist? If it is accepted that an occupied people have a right to choose when to fight and when to make peace, only then can we discuss whether means they use are valid or invalid. Certainly, the means any people use will be dependent upon their resources. So people with tanks, plans and guns would undoubtedly use these and people without these would use whatever means they do have. To deny this principle would be to say to the weak that it is illegitimate to defend themselves by the only means they have at their disposal.

4. You talk about the importance of political solutions and yet in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries you reject both violent overthrow of the system and political participation in the system – so how will you prevail?

With respect to the way we want to see change occur in the Muslim world there are many examples of how such changes occurred in recent history. Fundamentally, a pillar of our methodology is to change public opinion at a grassroots level. If you work on thoughts and opinions in society you create a ground swell of support for those ideas in society. When that support is sufficiently strong then systems can change.

South Africa’s example was one where public opinion changed, the system changed and then a new political system was established.

5. The more successful you are in Britain the worse it is for integration. A friend of mine said that at his school in Hounslow in the late 1980s the main role of HT members was to stop Muslims going out with non-Muslims. That may seem a trivial example (although a similar action by white Christians would be dubbed racist) but your general stance is one of Muslim chauvinism. You accept a duty of care towards your fellow citizens but hold yourself apart from British society (rejecting participation in the political system etc) encouraging an enclave mentality and openly opposing the vast majority of Muslims who try to accommodate their faith to living in western nation states.

Contrary to what you may believe we do not want to see social disharmony in the UK. Where we differ from the majority is that we would like to see this on terms where Muslims hold on to distinct values and a strong identity based on Islam. This is because we and others, including some non Muslims, genuinely think Muslims adhering to their faith have something to offer society by way of example. I concede that as a community we have not been good at engaging with the wider society, and there is huge ghetto-isation that produces problems that need to be managed.

We are against party political participation, but accept that many Muslims disagree with us and we discuss these disagreements with each other. However, it would be narrow minded for any one to think, would it not, that political life in the UK is restricted to party political involvement. We see our role within the sphere of civil society to be far more important than voting for career politicians once every few years in the hope that they fulfil their promises.

6. What would you say to a Muslim who wanted to leave the faith?

I would try to convince them not to, basically because there are rational proofs to belief in God and the authenticity of the Quran that many don’t realise. That is one reason why historically very few people have left this faith, and why increasing numbers return and turn to it.

7. Would you support the introduction of Shariah law for Muslims in areas of high Muslim population in Britain, as is now happening in parts of Canada?

No. Fundamentally it will not work, and we have always said this. Shariah needs comprehensive implementation, and that is why, despite being in the UK, we wish to see a Caliphate in the Muslim world.

8. How will you continue your work if HT is banned?

We are working hard to avert a ban, and if it comes our way we plan to fight it legally all the way.

9. Finally, back to the possible ban. You sound very reasonable – yet many organisations not known for their illiberalism – like the National Union of Students – have banned you. Could it be that there is quite a big gap between what you say and what your over-enthusiastic members actually do on the ground?

Approximately 10 years ago we were new to campuses and some were over enthusiastic with their first taste of political activism. Unfortunately, despite maturing in our work, old impressions have stuck. The NUS ban was passed in that era, but when it was proposed for renewal last year, the college that was first asked to propose maintaining the ban, UCL, voted not to do this. The proposal was then passed by Leo Baeck College in London and passed on to the NUS. Within days of the proposed proscription one University Student Union has condemned the proposal as well as individual members of the NUS.

The point is that in places where there is a recent and significant first hand experience of our ideas there has been weakening zeal for both the NUS ban, and no appetite for proscription.

I would add one final point, that illiberalism is often over looked when applied to more socially conservative ideas, in particular religious beliefs. This is in no way unique to Muslims. Many people who carry a strong faith will often find themselves facing illiberal attitudes.

Dr Abdul Wahid
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain
Prospect
September 2005

Written by Dr Abdul Wahid

March 9, 2008 at 8:32 pm