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Written by Student Rights on 4 December 2013 at 12pm

Hizb ut-Tahrir member to speak at the University of Bristol (Update: Event Cancelled)

UPDATE: This event now appears to have been cancelled, with a statement from the University of Bristol Islamic Society saying:

"Asalaamulaikum everyone, Due to unforseaable [sic] circumstances, the BEST collaboration has been rescheduled to February. We sincerely apologise for this late notice".

With the UK's Islamic finance sector boosted in recent weeks by government plans to issue the first European Islamic bond, an event at the University of Bristol tomorrow will discuss the future role of Islamic finance, and ask whether it can provide an alternative model to the current system.

Whilst this is a great topic for debate, it is disappointing to see that the expert invited to speak on Islamic finance is a senior member of the extremist Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), a group ‘No-Platformed’ by the National Union of Students (NUS).

Jamal Harwood, whose affiliation with the group is not mentioned on the Facebook event page, is the HT Head of Legal Affairs, and has written several reports for the group on the economy of the future Caliphate.

He is also described as a lecturer on the MBA programme at the University of Wales, though Student Rights have been unable to confirm if this is the case. 

HT has been declared by the NUS to be "responsible for supporting terrorism and publishing material that incites racial hatred", whilst former NUS Vice President Pete Mercer labelled the group “consistently discriminatory” in May 2013.

In addition, in 2011 the government stated that there was “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”.

This will be the second time in two weeks that a senior HT figure has been able to appear on a UK campus, with Yahya Nisbet speaking at Westminster on the 28th November, and highlights that even when groups are ‘No-Platformed’ they are still able to target students.

The last time Harwood spoke on a campus, at the University of Westminster in March 2012, he refused to condemn a statement from an HT website read to him by a Jewish student which declared:

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”.

He instead stated that “you have to distinguish between a war and a non-war” and that “Palestine is occupied land and there is a war going on” before the student was forced to leave the event.

HT itself holds a number of extreme positions including that Muslims cannot believe in democracy, stating that:

For Muslims to adopt democracy means to disbelieve in all – may Allah forbid – the decisive evidences and conclusive evidences...which oblige them to follow Allah and to reject any other law”.

And:

“...whoever does not rule whatever Allah has revealed, denying Allah’s right to legislate, as is the case with those who believe in democracy, is a Kafir”.

The group further highlighted its undemocratic nature in 2004 when former leader Jalaluddin Patel stated that in an ideal society “[political] groups will have to be formed upon the tenets of Islam and parties that are not based upon Islam will not be allowed”.

HT also supports the use of barbaric punishments, including the death penalty for apostasy, declaring that:

...the rule regarding the Muslim who becomes apostate is to require his repentance. If he insists on his disbelief, the capital punishment is applied on him”.

The group's ideological misogyny should also be highlighted, with Article 109 of its draft constitution ordering that men and women be segregated in public and private.

Meanwhile, Article 113 states that women have to cover up with only their hands and face showing, whilst Article 116 saysthe responsibility of the husband towards his wife is one of care taking, and not ruling. She is to obey and he is to provide [emphasis added]”.

Here at Student Rights we fully support the NUS ‘No-Platform’ Policy, and have asked the University of Bristol Student Union to discuss Harwood’s invitation with the societies behind the event.

We also hope that the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), which is sponsoring the event, will raise this issue with the organisers.

At the very least students should be made aware of Harwood’s organisational affiliations, and we hope that he will be challenged on his membership of an extremist group and on HT’s bigoted views should the event go ahead.