Sunday, October 30, 2005

Hizb ut-Tahir should not be criminalised

Though I disapprove of religious groups who want to rule any bit of the world in any way, I am happy to provide an outlet for this group, who are avowedly non violent and wishing to express a democratic right to a point of view. Crushing dissent and avoiding debate is no way forward for Britain.
I apologise to those who don’t like long posts. Try it anyway.

“Criminalising Political Dissent in the Name of ‘Glorifying Terror’

A statement from Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain regarding the Anti-Terror Bill 2005

On the 12th October 2005 the Home Secretary presented the government’s proposed anti-terrorism bill to
Parliament. Though rightly significant attention has been given to the proposed extension of questioning
without charge from fourteen days to ninety days, other parts of the bill are equally chilling and coercive.
Within the bill under clause 1, a new offence is proposed one of ‘glorifying terrorism’, which also constitutes
the criteria for the government’s intention to widen the grounds for proscribing organisations. The
proposed new offence is steeped in controversy (it can for example be applied to any geographical location
in the world). It is essentially a political device dressed up in legal lexicon to proscribe groups such as Hizbut-Tahrir despite the latter’s explicit condemnation of 9-11 and 7-7. In addition, the new offence has the
potential of not just criminalising 1.6m Muslims in the UK, but millions of non-Muslim residents as well.
Hizb ut-Tahrir reiterates that its objective of seeking the Caliphate in the Muslim world will only be
achieved through exclusively political and non violent methods. However the party also contends that in
the very specific situation of lands which are occupied, that people have the right to engage in legitimate
resistance in the face of imperialistic and military occupation. Within the appendix we highlight a number
of quotations from a wide range of people on all sides of the political and ideological spectrum. In many
cases we disagree with some of these quotes specifically when they espouse violence to justify political
change even when this occurs in totalitarian circumstances. In addition our intention is not to pass adverse
judgements on the people we have cited but to demonstrate how absurd the proposed new legislation will
be. In summary we make the following points
• This bill fails to pass the Nelson Mandela test, as it criminalises all resistance movements. If this
bill had been present in the 1980’s when the ruling parties in both the US and the UK viewed the
ANC as a terrorist organisation, then millions of anti-apartheid activists would have faced up to 7
years in prison, including dare we say a number of members of the current British cabinet.
• Statements from as diverse a constituency (documented in the appendix) as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela,
Edward Said, Cherie Blair, Jenny Tonge, Ronald Reagan, Ken Livingstone, Arundhati Roy, the
Geneva Conventions, Timothy Garton Ash, John Pilger, Article 51 of the UN Charter and countless
others we believe may well breach the new proposed off ence.
• While simultaneously appearing tough on Islamic groups, the current Prime Minister has been
cutting deals for over eight years with Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA. This is despite the
latter’s continued involvement in violence, terror, and criminality. Tony Blair justifies this double
standard on the notion that he could not imagine the IRA killing 3,000 people. However as Geoffrey
Wheatcroft wrote recently ‘In proportion to the respective populations of Northern Ireland and the US, the
numbers killed by the Provisional IRA are equivalent to 330,000 Americans.’ Why is there one law for Irish
groups who have armed wings and another for non violent Islamic groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir?
This double standard will not help to alter the view that many Muslims hold already that the War
on Terror is in reality a War on Islam and this measure will further deteriorate the already strained
community relations in the UK.
• This bill will criminalise 1.6m Muslims and millions of Non Muslims who give verbal support to
the principle of resistance when land has been illegally and imperialistically occupied whether this

occurs in Chechnya, Palestine, the Falkland Islands or Iraq. Indeed the same nations today who are
seeking to criminalise resistance to occupation, were falling over themselves to label the Afghan
Mojaheddin as freedom fighters after the Soviet invasion of 1979.
• In recent times, the British Government has been instrumental in justifying tactics such as ‘shock
and awe’ (state glorification of terror) in Iraq, internment in Guantanomo Bay and the use of evidence
obtained from torture. It has also stood shoulder to shoulder with regimes such as Uzbekistan,
Russia, India and Israel all whom have shocking and chilling records when it comes to the use of
state terror.
• The British Prime Minister believes that terrorism is defined as merely the systematic targeting
and killing of innocent civilians. Under this definition support of Dresden, Hiroshima, Baghdad,
Vietnam and Nagasaki (under the principle of equality under the law), should also then be captured
under the proposed legislation. As the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee
recently said to the Home Secretary ‘Two years ago you invaded Iraq to bring about political change....
You may want to look more closely at the definition of terrorism that is in our current law, home secretary.’
• The current offence is consistent with the post 9-11 strategy of violently imposing an imperialistic
neo-liberal system abroad while criminalising political dissent at home. Yet the irony is that the
‘War on Terror’ is pitched as a battle of competing ideas on how societies should be governed. In
the light of this legislation, the hollowness of this purported intellectual debate will not be lost.
A nation that repeatedly and exclusively has to turn to its military, to coercive legislation, which
undermines its own core values, is a nation that has lost the debate and moral high ground
• Lastly, though it is of course possible to proscribe organisations, even non violent political parties
(indeed what is not possible now under the War on Terror), it is absolutely impossible to proscribe a
set of ideas and thoughts. The globalised world we live in, the instant access to telecommunications,
the ubiquitous nature of the internet make the attempt to censor opposing political views laughable.
The British Government will join that growing paranoid and select list of regimes in Beijing,
Tripoli, Tashkent, Riyadh and Singapore who seek not only to control the fl ow of information but
also the ability to express dissent.
We hope the above points and the attached appendix provokes suffi cient thinking and debate, to show the
absurdity of this proposed offence.
Dr Imran Waheed
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain

“Self-determination, the right to freely choose one’s own destiny, has been the central point of the Afghan
struggle. The Afghan people have clearly demonstrated that they will resist any eff ort by outsiders to impose
a leadership on them.
At every turn, it is the determination of the Afghan people and the valiant freedom fi ghters, the Mujahidin,
that stays the advance of tyranny in Afghanistan. We are proud to have supported their brave struggle to
regain their freedom, and our support for this noble cause will continue as long as it is needed.
The men and women of Afghanistan are an example to those anywhere in the world who would call themselves
free. If liberty comes with a price, the Afghan people have more than paid it for themselves and for
the future generations.”
[Ronald Reagan, December 1988]i
“Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the
French...What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justifi ed by any moral code of conduct...If they
[the Jews] must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the
shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb.
They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs... As it is, they are co-sharers with the British
in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them. I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they
had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regard as an unacceptable encroachment
upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against
the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.”
[Mahatma Gandhi, 1938]ii
“It is absurd to condemn the resistance to the U.S. occupation in Iraq, as being masterminded by terrorists.
After all if the United States were invaded and occupied, would everybody who fought to liberate it be a
terrorist or an insurgent or a Bushite? Th e Iraqi resistance is fighting on the frontlines of the battle against
Empire. And therefore that battle is our battle.”
[Arundhati Roy. Author of the Booker prize-winning ‘The God of Small Things’] iii
“Every human rights document ever formulated entitles a people to resist military occupation, the destruction
of homes and property, and the expropriation of land for the purpose of settlements.”
[Edward Said]iv
“Th e crucial point in all this is that Israel has been in illegal military occupation since 1967; it is the longest
such occupation in history, and the only one anywhere in the world today: this is the original and continuing
violence against which all the Palestinian acts of violence have been directed. Yesterday (10 December), two
children aged 3 and 13 were killed by Israeli bombs in Hebron, yet at the same time an EU delegation was
demanding that Palestinians curtail their violence and acts of terrorism. Today fi ve more Palestinians were
killed, all of them civilian, victims of helicopter bombings of Gaza’s refugee camps. To make matters worse,
as a result of the 11 September attacks, the word ‘terrorism’ is being used to blot out legitimate acts of resistance
against military occupation and any casual or even narrative connection between the dreadful killing
of civilians (which I have always opposed) and thirty plus years of collective punishment is proscribed.”
[Edward Said]

“This particular brand of terrorism, the suicide bomber, is truly born out of desperation.
Many, many people criticise, many, many people say it is just another form of terrorism, but I can understand
and I am a fairly emotional person and I am a mother and a grandmother. I think if I had to live in
that situation, and I say this advisedly, I might just consider becoming one myself.
And that is a terrible thing to say.”
[Dr Jenny Tonge, former Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park. January 2004]vi
“As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up you are never going to make
[Cherie Blair, June 2002]vii
“All three [Barak, Sharon, and Netanyahu] suffer from this racist, white man’s burden attitude. We’re not
behaving like good little natives. We’re not grateful to our colonizers for the bits and pieces they want to
hand to us. The real problem is occupation. Everywhere in the world people have the right to resist except
Palestinians who are supposed to be good little boys and girls and die quietly.”
[Hannan Ashrawi]viii
“One need not be Arab to identify with the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. Resisting occupation
is a legitimate, internationally recognised right, which many Jewish and Arab members of the
Knesset before me have affirmed from the podium of the occupying state’s parliament without it being
considered ‘support for terror.’ It is our civic and moral duty to oppose violence against civilians, even in an
anti-occupation struggle. Still, it is not our place to dictate to the Palestinians how to conduct their struggle
against that occupation, when what is needed is an end to the occupation itself.”
[Azmi Bishara, member of the Israeli Knesset for the Balad Party]ix
“Question: Do you think the anti-war movement should be supporting Iraq’s anti-occupation resistance?”
Answer: “Yes, I do. We cannot afford to be choosy. While we abhor and condemn the continuing loss of innocent
life in Iraq, we have no choice now but to support the resistance, for if the resistance fails, the “Bush gang” will attack another country. If they succeed, a grievous blow will be suffered by the Bush gang.”
[John Pilger, journalist & documentary filmmaker. January 2004]x
“What do you do if you are a young person in Uzbekistan, who sees the president of Uzbekistan boil alive
their opponents, gun down hundreds of civilian and peaceful protesters? Can any of us honestly say we
wouldn’t relish the moment when that evil man is removed violently from power?”
[Ken Livingstone, Mayor or London]xi
“In your terms, if it means fighting occupation is a terrorist movement, that is not a view that is being
shared by many people. Those who fight oppression, those who fi ght occupation, cannot be termed as
terrorist, they are freedom fighters, in the same way as Nelson Mandela fought against apartheid, in the
say way as Ghandi and many others fought the British rule in India. Th ere are people in diff erent parts of
the world who today, in terms of historical side of it, those who fought oppression are now the real leaders
of the world.”
[Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain. August 2005]xii

“It has to be attached to a context. What are we talking about? About the concept of martyrdom in general
which means off ering yourself for the sake of defending your homeland, for the sake of defending your
community, then that has to be glorifi ed of course.”
[Azzam Tamimi, Muslim Association of Britain. August 2005]xii
“Th ere is an important distinction between inciting hatred and violence in the UK, which is completely
unacceptable, and supporting a legitimate resistance movement abroad. It would be unacceptable for the
government to forbid statements of support for groups that are fi ghting oppression, such as those who were
fi ghting Saddam Hussein’s tyranny or the ANC fi ghting apartheid”
[Inayat Bunglawala, Spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain]xiii
‘’We will not allow the resistance to be trivialised as some sort of terrorist movement. It is a popular insurrection
resisting occupation.’’
[Chris Nineham, Stop the War Coalition Steering Committee]xiv
“I will not condemn an occupied people for using their legal rights, their legal rights as well as their moral
rights to resist the illegal occupation of their country”.
[Rt. Hon. George Galloway MP, when asked if he would condemn suicide bombers. December 2004]xv
“The Iraqi resistance have a right to defend their country against the occupying invader. They are exercising
that right, with a considerable degree of success”
[Rt. Hon. George Galloway MP]xvi
“These poor Iraqis - ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most
basic of weapons - are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars, with 145 military operations
every day, which has made the country ungovernable.
We don’t know who they are, we don’t know their names, we never saw their faces, they don’t put up
photographs of their martyrs, we don’t know the names of their leaders.”
[Rt. Hon. George Galloway MP]xvii
“Well, I think that as far as resistance to the US troops in Iraq is concerned, then I can understand why
people want to resist. I think if my country was under occupation I would want to resist. Now, I’ve got no
sympathy for the fundamentalist Islamists who would like to create a Sharia State in Iraq, and there are
many there. I’ve no sympathy for the Al Qaeda elements and the other foreign terrorists who are moving
into Iraq, but Iraq has been invaded. Iraq is under occupation by the troops of another nation and I think
if my own country was in a similar situation I would feel such resentment that I’m likely to take up arms
myself against that situation. I think that most red-blooded men probably would.”
[George Monbiot, author & columnist]xviii
“I am ashamed to admit that there have been times when I wanted more chaos, more shocks, more disorder
to teach our side a lesson. On Monday I found myself again hoping that this handover proves a failure
because it has been orchestrated by the Americans.”
[Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, writer & columnist]xix

“But what they cannot by any sensible reckoning be called are terrorists - nor does the US have any right to
try guerillas who attack occupation troops as criminals, which Bremer announced it plans to do this week.
It is an almost universally accepted principle that a people occupied by a foreign power has the right to use
armed force to resist - though whether force will be the best tactic is another matter. It was the crudest
self-delusion on the part of the invading states to imagine that because most Iraqis wanted an end to the
Saddam regime they would accept the imposition of a foreign occupation to replace it.”
[Seumas Milne, author & journalist]xx
“The right to resist occupation is in any case recognized under international law and the Geneva convention,
which is one reason why routine western denunciations of Palestinian violence ring so utterly hollow.”
[Seumas Milne]xxi
“The resistance war can of course be cruel, but the innocent deaths it has been responsible for pale next to
the toll inflicted by the occupiers. Its political strength lies precisely in the fact that it has no programme
except the expulsion of the occupying forces. Jack Straw said this week that the resistance was ‘opposed to
a free Iraq’ - but its campaign is in fact Iraq’s real war of liberation.”
[Seumas Milne]xxii
“It is the Iraqi resistance that will determine the future of the country. It is their actions targeting both
foreign soldiers and corporate mercenaries that has made the occupation untenable. It is their presence that
has prevented Iraq from being relegated to the inside pages of the print media and forgotten by TV. It is the
courage of the poor of Baghdad, Basra and Fallujah that has exposed the political leaders of the West who
supported this enterprise.”
[Tariq Ali, writer & commentator]xxiii
“They don’t do it for a good reason: that they are not the Fedayeen Saddam. To deny the Iraqi people the
right to resist an occupation, which they don’t like, is quite incredible”
[Tariq Ali]xxiv
“Even within an internationally recognised state, there can be such oppression that armed resistance may
be considered legitimate. This is the position expressed with incomparable force in Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell.
When the oppressed man can nowhere find justice, writes Schiller, then he reaches up into the sky and
pulls down his eternal rights that hang there, inalienable and imperishable, like the stars. If no other way
remains, then he must take up the sword. Such were the Polish uprisings for freedom in the 18th and 19th
centuries. Such was the American war of independence.
It therefore matters hugely what kind of state you’re in. It is one thing for groups like the IRA and Eta to use
political violence in states like Britain or Spain, where the means of working for peaceful change are equally
available to all in a mature democracy. It is another thing for Palestinian groups to use political violence
against an oppressive military occupation in the Gaza strip or the West Bank. Another again for the ANC
against the South African apartheid regime. Yet another for the violently repressed Kosovo Albanians to
take up arms against the Milosevic regime in Serbia.
We may want to uphold the universal principle “no violence”, but we all know that these are, in political
fact and in moral content, very different things, and some violent political actions are - shall we say - less
unjustified than others.

It is not treachery or weakness to make these distinctions. It is common sense.”
[Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at Oxford University]xxv
“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an
armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures
necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise
of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way
affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time
such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security”
[Article 51, United Nations Charter]
“The situations referred to in the preceding paragraph include armed confl icts in which peoples are fighting
against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right
of self-determination, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on Principles
of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the
Charter of the United Nations.”
[Protocol 1, Additional to the Geneva Conventions, 1977, Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 49, Point 4]
“One could argue that those resisting a foreign military occupation do not merit the label terrorists because
their acts of political violence against the military targets of a foreign occupier do not violate international
law. Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions gives lawful combatant status to those engaging in armed
conflicts against alien (or foreign) occupation, colonial domination and racist régimes. Non-uniformed
guerrillas also gain combatant status if they carry arms openly during military operations. Protocol 1 does
not legitimise attacks on civilians by militants who fall into these categories, however.”
[Wikipedia Encyclopaedia]xxvi
“Th e historic judgement by the Italian judge Clementina Forleo, Judge for the Preliminary Hearing in Milan
on 24 January 2005 adds legitimacy to the Iraqi struggle against US Occupation. Judge Forleo ruled that
the accused (five North African citizens) “cannot be classified as terrorists”, but resistance fighters. She
said: “[T]hat resistance [to] US occupation forces in Iraq by sending fi ghters does not amount to terror”.
Th e judgement was supported by an overwhelming majority of the Italian Legal Community. This historic
judgement is supported recently by the German Federal Administrative Court which ruled that the attack
launched by the US and its allies against the nation of Iraq was a clear war of aggression – as specified in
Article 4, Paragraph 4 of the UN Charter – that violated international law.”
[Ghali Hasan, columnist]xxvii
“I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any
love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation. Without
violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle.”
[Nelson Mandela, 1963]xxviii
“If the recent revelations of special branch spying on the Anti-Apartheid Movement Executive are anything
to go by I, along with Neil Kinnock, David Steel, Peter Hain and Lord Bob Hughes, would have been liable
to arrest under the new law for supporting terrorists.”
[Rt. Hon. Frank Dobson MP]xxix

“And I’m proud of our protests which helped overthrow apartheid. And how incredible that this year we
are able to celebrate the tenth anniversary of democratic government in South Africa. We salute heroes like
Nelson Mandela…That it was the labour movement who stood shoulder to shoulder in the long struggle for
freedom in South Africa. I thank you all. Labour on the side of freedom while Tory students sported ‘Hang
Nelson Mandela’ badges and Margaret Th atcher denounced Mandela as a ‘terrorist’, Th at South Africa has
come so far in so short a time, against all the odds, is testament to the transformative power of progressive
[Rt. Hon. Peter Hain MP]xxx
“I was a strong opponent of the foreign policy of the United States when I was young. I can remember my
worldwide list of campaigns: opposing US support for fascist states in Greece, Spain and Portugal; struggling
against colonial and apartheid regimes in southern Africa; fi ghting US support for dictatorships in
Latin America; campaigning against nuclear weapons; and, of course, opposing the commitment of US
troops and resources to Vietnam and Cambodia.”
[Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke MP]xxxi
“We owe it to them [the Afghan people] to help them overthrow the Taliban terrorist regime, which represses
them, and we owe it to them to provide the humanitarian support afterward that can help build
their country so it can be part of the world community,”
[US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher]xxxii


Blogger Ashley said...

"Crushing dissent" is one of the nonsensical catch-phrases the angry left slings around rather freely these days when discussing the Bush administration. Attempting rational conversation with anyone who says such things is a rather futile pursuit and so I generally ignore them.

Occasionally, though, it's good to highlight just how foolish and ignorant of the world such folks really are...

3:10 am  
Blogger Nick said...

I can't tell from your post if you are merely critical of an over extended metaphor, or if you would like to see us adopt a Korean version of law and order here.

10:57 am  

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