Imams and Islamic scholars from across the UK have condemned the government’s decision to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir.

In a joint statement the scholars ‘representing various diverse schools of thought’, said the decision represented ‘a severe assault on the fundamental freedoms of speech, association and belief and is a clear infringement of civil liberties’. 

Forty-seven names of male and female scholars from Blackburn are included on the list.

Earlier this week , the Home Secretary James Cleverly said Hizb ut-Tahrir should be banned as a terrorist organisation and branded it “antisemitic” and warned it “promotes and encourages terrorism”.

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 laws, the Home Office said.

Labour has welcomed the plan, with shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper saying there had “long been serious concerns” about the group.

Many however feel that the ban is only coming into force to silence opposition to the bombing of Gaza by the Israeli government.

The statement from the imams and scholars read: “Hizb ut-Tahrir is a non-violent global political and religious movement that advocates its views through legitimate means. Under international law, the Palestinian people possess the right to resist Israeli occupation. 

“The press release by the Palestinian branch of Hizb ut Tahrir reflects this legitimate position, which cannot be equated with encouraging terrorism. To label such expressions as threats to UK’s national security is not only misleading but a deliberate attempt to suppress support for the just cause of Palestinian resistance. 

“We also note that the Home Secretary is turning a blind eye to British citizens who are returning from Israel, despite their engagement in acts of terror and potentially killing innocent civilians, along with the security threats posed by such individuals. 

“Instead of addressing this, the Home Secretary’s decision to proscribe Hiz but-Tahrir appears to be steering the UK toward an alarming trajectory of authoritarianism. 

“We call upon all Imams and leaders within the Muslim community in the UK to speak out against this injustice and apply pressure on their MPs to reject this. 
“Allah has commanded us to do so. 

“He says, "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). " Quran 4:135. 

“We also urge the UK government to reconsider this proscription, engage in open dialogue, and uphold the values and freedoms that are the bedrock of our society.”

In a statement, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain denied it is antisemitic or encourages terrorism and said it will challenge the proposed proscription “using all available legal means”.

The proposal was debated in Parliament this week and 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.

Founded in 1953, Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in several Arab and Asian countries, including China, as well as in Germany. Austria banned symbols of the group in 2021.