Home Office proscribe Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation

Jan 23, 2024 | Islamist Terrorism, Threat Analysis

Author: Becca Stewart ASyI,
Senior Threat Analyst

Read Time: 3 minutes 

On 19 January 2024, the British Home Secretary James Cleverly proscribed the Sunni Islamist political organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation, meaning that it is now a criminal offence to belong to, publicly support, and invite support for the group.[1]

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international political party which has had a long-standing goal of uniting Muslims under an Islamic state. The group is allegedly active in 32 countries and is banned in at least 13 countries.[2] The group recently received increased attention for activities conducted by individuals associated with the group, including its leader, whilst attending pro-Palestinian protests following the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict on 07 October 2023. Reporting suggests that individuals associated with the group have expressed their support for Hamas fighters, celebrated attacks against Israel and Jews more broadly, and have been accused of chanting “jihad”.[3]

There have been calls for the group to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation since 2005, however in 2011, the Home Office deemed that whilst their beliefs were unpopular, the group were not advocating violence and therefore did not meet the requirements for proscription.[4] Individuals associated with Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain have previously conducted terrorist acts in Israel and Syria, and Hizb ut-Tahrir had been referred to as a “conveyor belt” of radicalisation from extremism towards terrorism.[5]

In October 2023, Pool Re released a deep dive report exploring in-person radicalisation and Hizb ut-Tahrir’s role in radicalising individuals in the UK. The report can be read here

Assessment

    • It is almost certain that Islamist terrorism remains the most prominent terrorist threat in the UK at this time.
      • It is highly likely that the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict would act as a driver of UK terrorism threat in the short term as individuals could become inspired or radicalised to conduct terrorist attacks in response to the current conflict.
        • It is highly likely that individuals associated with Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain would seek to hide any communications and activities associated with the group following its proscription.
          • There is a realistic possibility that certain members of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain would seek to continue their activity in the long term either by forming an offshoot of the group or by joining other similar groups who have not yet been proscribed.
            • It is likely that individuals associated with Hizb ut-Tahrir would continue to share extreme Islamist beliefs and radicalise others towards terrorism-related activities in the long term. There is a realistic possibility that members of Hizb ut-Tahrir or others associated with the group could go on to conduct terrorist attacks or engage with other terrorist groups.
              • It is almost certain that Non-Violent Direct Action protests in relation to the Israel-Hamas conflict would continue in the UK in the short term. Since the start of the conflict on 07 October 2023, thousands of individuals have gathered in major cities across the UK to demonstrate support for different sides of the conflict.
                • There have been 19 arrests for alleged terrorism-related offences at protests according to Matt Jukes, Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police.[6] There is a realistic possibility that some individuals attending such protests could engage in illegal terrorism-related activity or mature to violence in the short to medium term.
                  • It is almost certain that there would continue to be a surge in calls to the anti-terrorism hotline, referrals to the Prevent program, and terrorism-related arrests in relation to activity inspired by or as a result of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
                    • On 19 January 2024, Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police Matt Jukes said there had been a 25% increase in intelligence coming into counter-terrorism policing following the Hamas attack on 07 October 2023 and the number of calls to the anti-terrorism hotline doubled in the two weeks after the attack.[7]
                    • Jukes also revealed that there had been 33 terrorism-related arrests since 07 October and a 13% increase in referrals to Prevent between 07 October and 31 December. At this time, seven individuals have been charged.
                    • A further investigation continues into a murder that took place in October to ascertain whether it was motivated by extremism.[8]
                  • It is highly likely that any terrorist attack conducted in the UK at this time would be conducted by an individual or a small cell using a low-sophistication methodology. E.g., Bladed or Blunt Force Weapons, Vehicle as a Weapon, Fire as a Weapon, etc.
                  • There is a realistic possibility that terrorist actors in the UK could have the capability to conduct a high-sophistication attack. E.g., Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or Marauding Firearms Attack. However, the complicated nature of plotting a high-sophistication attack makes it likely that there will be greater opportunity for police and security services to disrupt such plots.

                  Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 23 January 2024

                    PHIA Scale

                    The “Probability Yardstick” (below) is a standardised instrument used to provide professional intelligence assessments. Judgements made using the yardstick are relative and reflect the analyst’s confidence in their findings and assessments.

                      • Almost Certain: An event is assessed to have a greater than 90% chance of occurring.
                      • Highly Likely: An event is assessed to have a 76% to 90% chance of occurring.
                      • Likely: An event is assessed to have a 55% to 75% chance of occurring.
                      • Realistic Possibility: An event is assessed to have a 40% to 54% chance of occurring.
                      • Unlikely: An event is assessed to have a 25% to 39% chance of occurring.
                      • Highly Unlikely: An event is assessed to have an 10% to 24% chance of occurring.
                      • Remote Chance: An event is assessed to have a less than 10% chance of occurring.

                      Time Spans

                        • Short Term: 0 – 6 Months.
                        • In the next 12 months.
                        • Medium Term: 12 months – 5 Years.
                        • Long Term: 5+ Years.

                    Author: Becca Stewart ASyI,
                    Senior Threat Analyst

                    Read Time: 3 minutes

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