Â A leader of a radical Muslim group which Tony BLiar promised to ban four years ago has called on followers to support “jihad” against Israel at a rally in London.
* Ah yes; Tony BLiar! Wasn’t he the guy who said he would deport 500 Muslim clerics and did none of it? Â Isn’t he the guy who reads the Koran every day and thinks we’re all stoopid?
Dr Imran Waheed, told followers of Hizb ut-Tahrir that there could be “no peace” with Israel and urged them to “fight in the way of Allah”.
A leaflet distributed by the international wing of the organisation also called for Muslim countries to “eliminate the state of the Jews”.
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The remarks increased pressure on Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Patrick Mercer, the Tory chairman of the Commons Counter-Terrorism Subcommittee, said Dr Waheed’s comments appeared to represent “incitement to violence” and accused the Government of performing a U-turn on an earlier commitment to ban it.
Speaking in Downing Street in August 2005, just a month after the London bombings, Mr Blair announced a wider crackdown on extremism, adding: “We will proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir and the successor organisation of Al Mujahiroun.”
The group, advocates the setting up of an Islamic “caliphate” or nation and describes itself as “unashamedly anti-Israel”.
But it insists that it is exclusively non-violent and denies accusations of anti-Semitism.
Critics say that the group, which has thrived on university campuses, is a gateway to more extremist groups, something which it also vehemently denies.
Addressing a rally at Marble Arch in January following the Israeli military action in Gaza, Dr Waheed â€“ the group’s media adviser in Britain who was banned from entering Indonesia in 2007 â€“ said that there was “no need for conferences, no need for treaties, no need for negotiations”.
In the speech, highlighted by the think tank the Centre for Social Cohesion, he added: “There will be no peace and no negotiations with the illegitimate entity of Israel.”
He went on: “There is only one solution to the occupation of Muslim lands, one solution to the cries of the widows and the orphans, one solution to avenge the death of the elderly and the children … fight in the way of Allah those who fight you. Al-Jihad.”
A leaflet available on the group’s international website, dated Jan 19 2009, criticises the governments of Muslim countries which have attended peace summits as “shameful”.
“Instead, it was their duty to eliminate the state of Jews that has usurped Palestine,” it added.
A spokesman for the Home Office said that the group’s status was being reassessed in light of the latest remarks but said that the decision to proscribe an organisation must be “proportionate”.
But Mr Mercer, said: “These comments strike me as inciting violence which is illegal.
“The Home Secretary must make up her mind as to whether the organisation is to be proscribed or not and if she is not going to proscribe it she has got to explain why the last Prime Minister said that it would be.”
He added: “There is no doubt that Hizb ut-Tahrir is a clever organisation but so far they have always just managed to keep within the limits of legality.
“I believe that the Government ought to be absolutely certain that they haven’t crossed the line this time.”
The group said in a statement: “Hizb ut-Tahrir is a non-violent political organisation that never works outside of its political and intellectual methodology anywhere in the world.
“This is well known and to portray anything to the contrary would be clearly seen to be a lie.”
It added that Dr Waheed had been calling for the armies of Muslim countries to withdraw support from their own governments and support an Islamic caliphate rather than advocating violent revolution in the Middle East.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Hizb ut-Tahrir, along with other organisations which cause us concern, is kept under continuous review.
“As and when new material comes to light it is considered and the organisation reassessed as part of that process.”
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, of the CSC, said: “Although we must recognise the vast differences between HT and al-Qaeda, we should be careful not to dismiss the threat posed by this group, especially as a gateway organisation to more violent jihadist movements.”