Banning non-violent groups is not the solution

The Muslim Council of Britain regards the Prime Minister’s statement today in which he announced a number of measures, including seeking to proscribe the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization, with concern and alarm.

“The MCB holds no brief for Hizb ut-Tahrir –– they are a group with whom the mainstream Muslim community has strong and well known disagreements concerning participation in our political process. However, banning Hizb ut-Tahrir is certainly not the solution and may well prove to be counterproductive. We understand that Hizb ut-Tahrir in the United Kingdom are an avowedly non-violent group. If there are groups that are thought to be contravening our laws, then they ought to be prosecuted in courts of law, not driven underground. Our democratic values need to be upheld, not undermined,” said Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.

“In addition, we are seeking clarification from the government to ensure that expressions of support for people who are living under brutal military occupation is not to be outlawed. That would be completely unacceptable. Our faith of Islam commands us to speak out against injustice wherever it occurs. To prohibit support for oppressed peoples would make us complicit in the injustice and would have dire consequences for the upholding of international legality,” said Sir Iqbal.

The MCB recalls the admonition given by the Chief Justice Lord Woolf who stated that: “In defending democracy, we must not forget the need to observe the values which make democracy worth defending.”

MCB press release, 5 August 2005