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Written by Student Rights on 26 June 2012 at 3pm

Student promotion of Hizb ut-Tahrir highlights the group's influence on campus

Here at Student Rights we have regularly highlighted the way in which the extremist Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) attempt to target students, including speaking on campuses and using student activists to disseminate material and promote events.  

This tactic was also pointed out by the Prevent Review, which stated that “we believe there is unambiguous evidence to indicate that some extremist organisations, notably Hizb-ut-Tahrir, target specific universities and colleges...with the objective of radicalising and recruiting students”.

In our recent report ‘Challenging Extremists’, we uncovered evidence of close ideological connections between a network of students and HT. This ranged from the regular sharing of HT material via student social media pages to organising events involving senior HT members.

In a number of cases we also found direct interaction on Twitter between these students and HT members.

As well as this, we also uncovered photographs and video which appeared to suggest that they had attended a number of party events, including HT’s ‘Khilafah Conference’ in July 2011.

For the past few weeks a number of these individuals, some of whom have since graduated, have been promoting this year’s HT conference to students via a number of university society Facebook pages.

Entitled ‘Khilafah: A Manifesto for Change’ and being held at the Waterlily in Mile End, this weekend’s London event is being advertised to students at universities across the capital and features speeches from high-level members including Taji Mustafa, Jamal Harwood and Imran Waheed.

At Queen Mary University, the Facebook page of the Ideological Society (which hosted HT member Reza Pankhurst in December 2011) has been used as a forum by a number of activists, including former students from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). 

These individuals have used this group to share video trailers for the conference, video of the HT Chairman Dr Abdul Waheed inviting viewers to the conference, and have encouraged students to attend the event, saying “BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!!

A senior member of the Ideological Society has also shared one of these trailers with members of the Queen Mary University Palestine Solidarity Society, claiming that it will help resolve questions about the conflict in the Middle East.

The conference has also been promoted via Facebook to student members of the University of Westminster Global Ideas Society. On 9th June, the President of the Society also tweeted about the conference, and told his followers “for tickets please let me know!

This group caused controversy earlier this year when it invited Jamal Harwood to address students at an event during which a Jewish student was jeered by the crowd for asking Harwood to condemn HT material saying “O Muslim Armies! Teach the Jews a lesson after which they will need no further lessons. March forth to fight them, eradicate their entity and purify the earth of their filth”.

Further to this, a student at Kingston University who was profiled in our report due to links between the Kingston University Ideological Society and other potential HT ‘front-groups’ has also used Twitter to share details of this conference. 

This activity highlights the way in which a small minority can utilise social media to spread the ideas of a group, banned from many universities by the National Union of Students, with impunity. It also provides further evidence of HT activism from students themselves.

Perhaps most importantly, it demonstrates the connection between the virtual world of the internet and the tangible world of a university campus, emphasising the necessity for policy-makers to see these two areas as entwined spaces in which radicalisation and recruitment can take place.