Maajid Nawaz, former senior member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, talks exclusively to Newsnight
Maajid Nawaz, one of the most senior members of the radical Islamist
party Hizb-ut-Tahrir, talks exclusively to Newsnight on BBC Two tonight.
On the programme to be broadcast at 10.30pm Nawaz reveals how
Hizb-ut-Tahrir advocate the killing of millions of people to unite and
expand an Islamic super-state and why he resigned from the party.
For 12 years Maajid Nawaz was inside Hizb-ut-Tahrir, not only propagating
their views in Britain, but exporting them to Pakistan and Denmark. He
was imprisoned in Egypt for four years for being a member of the party.
Up until May this year he was on their leadership committee.
The establishment of the Khilafah – an Islamic state across the Muslim
world under Sharia law – is the central aim of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Last month
they held a series of international conferences, the largest in
Indonesia, to "accelerate" its establishment.
Hizb-ut-Tahrir publicly state that this would be achieved "without
resorting to violence" and "following an exclusively political method".
But Maajid Nawaz has told Newsnight that, once that state is established, the party does advocate violence, and violent expansion beyond the Muslim
He says: "They are prepared to, once they've established the state, to
fight other countries and to kill people in the pursuit of unifying this
state into one state. And what I'd like to emphasize is that such a
policy is not agreed upon within Islamic theology.
"... Hizb-ut-Tahrir privately and publicly condemn terrorism but the point
I'm making is that's not the danger I'm concerned about.
"The danger I'm
concerned about is creating a mentality, a psyche that can allow a state
and it deems it acceptable for a state en masse to kill people in the
cause of an ideology."
Hizb-ut-Tahrir is a global Islamist movement founded in 1953, committed
to the establishment of a unitary Islamic state across the Muslim world,
under Sharia law. It is banned in many Middle Eastern countries,
including Egypt, Syria and Turkey.
After the July 7th bombings the then Prime Minister Tony
Blair moved to ban the organisation in Britain but there was insufficient
evidence to do so.
The debate over proscribing the party has centred on
how extreme the movement is and its stance on violence. It insists that
it works through exclusively political means.
Nawaz says that his time spent in prison meant he started questioning if
there was a better way "than just meeting oppression and anger with more
anger and more oppression".
He developed serious doubts, leading to a
decision to leave.
"I regret my whole association with Hizb ut-Tahrir and the way in which I
propagated those ideas.
"... I think that what I taught has not only damaged British society and
British Muslim relations and damaged the position of Muslims in this
society as British citizens, I think it's damaged the world."
Despite his criticisms of the party, Maajid Nawaz is not joining calls
for Hizb-ut-Tahrir to be banned in Britain.
He says: " I expressly and explicitly say to the members I want them to
leave Hizb ut-Tahrir because I believe Hizb ut-Tahrir is an obstacle to
the Muslim community moving forward, not only in this country but in the
world in general. And that's why I'm here, because I regret me being a
part of that obstacle.
"My ideal scenario would be not to ban the party but it would be that
through the power of discussion and persuasion and the strength of
challenging thought with thought, that eventually the party would fizzle
out in this country and hopefully generally throughout the world."