'Wrong ideas' are wrong

August 9, 1996

Jennie Bristow (THES, August 2) argues that the National Union of Students's decision to ban Hizb-ut Tahrir is anti-Islamic and ultimately anti-religious. She suggests that the boycott came about simply because the group promulgated "wrong ideas".

If Ms Bristow were to look more closely at the literature of Hizb-ut Tahrir she would discover that they are indeed anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti-Hindu, and anti-democratic.

Using inflammatory literature, intimidation and at times violence, they attack not only their fellow students who happen to be Jewish, Hindu, gay or lesbian, but also other Muslims who disagree with the group's particular brand of Islam.

While some far-left organisations are now championing the cause of Hizb-ut Tahrir, one wonders whether corresponding support would be offered to far-right groups such as the British National Party who are similarly anti-Semitic and homophobic and who likewise are denied opportunities to disseminate their ideas in public places.

It may surprise Ms Bristow to discover that the NUS were not the first to ban Hizb-ut Tahrir. The group are unwelcome in many British and foreign mosques and are banned throughout the Middle East - by other Muslims.

The issue here is not, as the headline suggests, "good" or "bad" Muslims, or even freedom of speech (which Hizb-ut Tahrir would wish to deny to others). It is about whether a group - any group - should be allowed a platform to incite racist and homophobic hatred and violence.

Susan Stevenson Address withheld

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