Hizb ut-Tahrir challenges German ban in European court

HizbAn internationalist Islamist organisation is submitting an application to the European court tomorrow in an effort to overturn a ban on its activities in Germany. Hizb ut-Tahrir, or the Party of Liberation, believes that the five-year-old ban is unlawful and argues it should be free to campaign in the country and have all frozen assets released.

Britain has twice considered proscribing Hizb ut-Tahrir, most recently after the July 7 2005 bombings, and decided each time that there were not grounds for doing so. Last week Denmark’s senior state prosecutor also advised that the organisation should not be banned, as it has not breached that country’s constitution.

Prohibited in several Middle Eastern and central Asian countries, Hizb ut-Tahrir operates legally in Israel, and is not banned in any EU country other than Germany. Although membership of the party remains legal in Germany, it has been prohibited from public activity since 2003, on charges of spreading antisemitic propaganda following the publication of a leaflet the previous year.

More recently, Germany has accused the party of breaching the “concept of international understanding” enshrined in the country’s constitution, a charge more usually levelled against parties of the far right.

The party denies it is antisemitic and, says it is against violence and that its aim is to unite Muslim countries into a single state ruled by Islamic law.

Guardian, 24 June 2008