After British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced last week that his government would deport foreigners found to be "fostering hatred" and ban a Muslim radical group called Hizb ut-Tahrir, the London Evening Standard reported that officials in Blair's Home Office were "stunned."
"Home Office officials had advised against the move just a few weeks before," the paper reported, "and the department's own study of Muslim youth found the group was nonviolent."
The Financial Times said, "Home Office officials have since confirmed that Hizb ut-Tahrir is not a terrorist group."
The London Daily Telegraph sought the reaction of Sheikh Muhammad Umar, who last weekend chaired England's first-ever Muslim unity convention, held in Manchester. "The youngsters of this country follow (Hizb ut-Tahrir) and listen to them," the sheikh advised. "If we start banning them, caging them, and putting them in prison and isolate them, we are not going to get anywhere."
So, what exactly is Hizb ut-Tahrir? And why would it inspire a liberal like Tony Blair to ban it in Britain -- a move that may require government actions that in the United States would violate constitutional protections for freedom of speech and religion?
The group, whose name means "Party of Liberation," was founded in the 1950s in Jerusalem. Today, wrote Ariel Cohen in a 2003 study for the Heritage Foundation, Hizb "is a clandestine, cadre-operated, radical Islamist political organization that operates in 40 countries around the world, with headquarters apparently in London. Its proclaimed goal is jihad against America and the overthrow of existing political regimes and their replacement with a caliphate (khilafah in Arabic), a theocratic dictatorship based on the Shari'a (religious Islamic law)."
Hizb says on its website it hopes to bring the Islamic nation "to her rightful place as the first state in the world, as she was in the past, when she governs the world according to the laws of Islam."
This is Islamist globaloney: Instead of a one-world socialist state run by an atheist dictator, Hizb seeks a one-world Islamic state run by an Islamist dictator.
In a pamphlet on its website titled "The American Campaign to Suppress Islam," Hizb argues that Islam is in a life-and-death struggle with the United States and other Western nations.