Clare Short opposes Blair’s HT ban plan

Clare Short calls on Blair to abandon Islamic party ban

Daily Telegraph, 2 March 2006

Clare Short urged Tony Blair to drop plans to ban the Hizb ut-Tahrir after the controversial Islamic party told MPs last night that it condemned the terrorist attacks in the West.

Miss Short, the former International Development Secretary, also defended her much-criticised decision to invite Hizb ut-Tahrir representatives to a meeting at the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister threatened to ban the group, which promotes the spread of Islam across the world, after the July 7 bombing attacks in London last year. The ban has yet to be implemented.

Miss Short, who quit the Cabinet in the wake of the Iraq war and has subsequently been one of Mr Blair’s fiercest critics, invited Hizb ut-Tahrir representatives to meet MPs and peers yesterday. The invitation was strongly condemned by Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, as “an affront” to mainstream Muslim opinion.

At the meeting, the labour peer Lord Ahmed said Hizb ut-Tahrir followers has once described Westminster as the “infidel parliament” while Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, criticised the party’s “potty” ideas.

Imran Waheed, a media spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir, insisted that the group had condemned last July’s atrocities in London and the 9/11 attacks in New York, and opposed “the deliberate targeting of civilians, either by states or organisations”.