Hizb ut-Tahrir – Banned and Tolerated

Banned and Tolerated

Danish counterterrorism officials say a growing number of young Danish Muslims are being drawn to Hizb ut-Tahrir, or the Party of Liberation, a radical Muslim group that calls for creation of an Islamic caliphate and whose goal is the unification of all Muslim countries under one leader who would implement Sharia, the Islamic legal code. The group, which distributes its literature at mosques and on the Internet, is banned in most of the Muslim world, as well as in Russia and Germany, but it is allowed to operate in Denmark and Britain.

Terrorism experts say the group has played a major role in the radicalization of disaffected Muslim youth. But because its main weapon is ideology rather than explosives, Danish officials say, it is allowed to operate under the same permissive rules that allowed the publication of the cartoons.

Under Danish law, inciting someone to commit an act of terror is illegal, but spouting vitriol against the West or satirizing Muhammad is not. The State Prosecutor’s Office investigated the group in the spring of 2004 and decided not to ban it since it was not breaking the law.

Still, legal experts say that groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir are pushing the limits of Denmark’s free-speech rules.

– Source: Cartoons ignite cultural combat in Denmark, International Herald Tribune, Jan. 1, 2006

Germany’s top law enforcement official outlawed an Islamic organization Wednesday, citing the spread of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda to explain the third such ban since Sept. 11.

Little is known about the organization and structure of Hizb ut-Tahrir, but German authorities say the group whose name means Liberation party advocates the destruction of Israel and has called for the killing of Jews.


Hizb ut-Tahrir was formed in Jordan in 1953 by Taqi Eddin al-Nabahani, a Palestinian who died in unclear circumstances in the Palestinian territories in 1978. Egyptian authorities outlawed the group in 1974 after blaming it for an attempted coup.

The current leader is the Palestinian Abdul-Kaddim Zalloum, whose whereabouts are unknown. Schily said he believes the group is based in London but was not certain.

Hizb ut-Tahrir faces strong opposition in former Soviet Central Asia, where it is banned and pursued as an extremist organization.

In Uzbekistan, human rights groups say an estimated 4,000 of the country’s 7,000 political prisoners are from Hizb ut-Tahrir, and Tashkent has pushed for western countries to also blacklist the group.

– Source: Germany Imposes Ban on Islamic Group, AP, Jan. 15, 2003