Hizb ut-Tahrir: Islamist group that urged chants of jihad on streets of London to be banned

Banners supporting Hizb ut-Tahrir at a protest in London last year (SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett)
Banners supporting Hizb ut-Tahrir at a protest in London last year (SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett)

An Islamist group that organised pro-Palestinian protests in London where marchers were encouraged to chant “jihad” will be proscribed a terror organisation, it was announced on Monday.

Expressing support for, or being a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir will become a criminal offence punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

The Government has been under increased pressure to proscribe the organisation after it organised a rally in the capital in October following Hamas’s brutal terror attack on Israel in which more than 1,200 people were murdered.

Protesters were encouraged to chant: “Jihad!” and carried banners referring to “Muslim armies” during the marches.

The protest ran alongside the much larger demonstration organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Metropolitan Police officers said they reviewed footage from the Hizb ut-Tahrir gathering in which a man could be seen chanting “jihad, jihad” but came to the conclusion that there were no “offences arising from the specific clip”.

However, it sparked outcry from MPs and the Jewish community, who demanded a crackdown on public expressions of extremism and antisemitism.

Hizb ut-Tahrir leaders have described Hamas as “heroes”, called for “an end to western world order” and delivered homophobic speeches.

It is already banned in other parts of Europe, including Germany, and much of the Middle East and Asia.

The group has insisted it does not support Hamas and does not advocate the use of violence.

However, Luqman Muqeem, a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s UK branch, has said the Hamas attack on Israel “made us all very happy”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly moved to proscribe the group by putting an order before Parliament which would make joining the organisation illegal in the UK under terror law.

The proposal will be debated in Parliament this week and, if approved, the ban would come into force on Friday making Hizb ut-Tahrir the 80th organisation to be proscribed in the UK.

It would mean "belonging to, inviting support for and displaying articles in a public place in a way that arouses suspicion of membership or support for the group" will be a criminal offence.

Mr Cleverly said: "Hizb ut-Tahrir is an antisemitic organisation that actively promotes and encourages terrorism, including praising and celebrating the appalling October 7 attacks.

"Proscribing this terrorist group will ensure that anyone who belongs to and invites supports for them will face consequences. It will curb Hizb ut-Tahrir's ability to operate as it currently does."

It comes as Britain warned Iran-backed Houthi rebels “take a lesson” from US-UK bombings on their sites in Yemen and stop attacking ships in the Red Sea or face more air strikes.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps delivered the stark message just hours after it emerged that another missile had been fired towards a US warship.

He stressed that the UK and US did not want to be dragged into a growing Middle East conflict as the war between Israel and terror group Hamas rages on.

But he also emphasised that the Houthi rebels could not act like “thugs” to “harass” ships.

After the US-UK air strikes last week, Mr Shapps told BBC Breakfast: “We said that this was a discrete action.

“Of course, if the Houthis don’t stop we have to look at this again.

“We very much hope that they will take a lesson from this and stop harassing shipping which has a perfect right to be travelling through the Red Sea.”

In his Lancaster House speech on Monday morning Mr Shapps said Britain’s “decisive” action in the Red Sea offers “a direct blueprint for how the UK must continue to lead in the future”.

He said “enough was enough” and precision strikes were authorised in response to Houthi attacks because they “chose to ignore” clear warnings.

“The result is that the Houthis have been dealt a blow.

“Our decisive response in the Red Sea and our uplift in support for Ukraine offers a direct blueprint for how the UK must continue to lead in the future, offering our unwavering support to our allies in times of struggle, galvanising global response to any malign actors seeking to break rules-based international order and acting decisively when the moment calls for us to defend ourselves, deter and lead.”

US fighter aircraft shot down a missile fired towards a warship in the Red Sea, military chiefs said, amid fears America and Britain risk being dragged into a growing Middle East conflict.

The incident came ahead of Rishi Sunak delivering a statement to Parliament on the UK and US air strikes last Thursday on Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen blamed for nearly 30 attacks on commercial and military warships in the Red Sea.

Mr Shapps, who stressed that the world is now a “more dangerous” place, made clear that Britain, and America, wanted to wait to see how the Houthi rebels responded to the Allies strikes last week involving Four RAF Typhoon FGR4s, as well as US fighter aircraft, ships and a submarine.

The targeting of 16 sites with more than 60 attacks is believed to have partially hit the Houthis ability to launch missiles and drones against commercial and warships in the Red Sea.

Five of the rebel Houthi group’s fighters were reported to have been killed and six wounded.