By Sami Quadri and Glen Keogh
29 September 2018
An extreme Islamist group banned in more than a dozen countries is using children as young as 13 to peddle books supporting suicide bombing and jihad in Britain.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, which wants to establish an Islamic state with Sharia law, has been holding a series of ‘roadshows’ across the country.
An undercover reporter who attended a number of the meetings was sold books suggesting suicide strikes are acceptable, and others saying jihad was ‘compulsory’ to spread the message of Islam.
The group allowed a 13-year-old to sell pamphlets comparing Westerners to animals over their ‘filthy promiscuity’ and urging followers to shun British culture.
The reporter also saw children as young as ten bowing their heads in prayer and reading from the Quran at meetings – despite Hizb ut-Tahrir’s claim only over-16s can ‘engage’ in its work.
Last night the Government’s new anti-extremism tsar Sara Khan told of her fears that the ‘Islamist extremists’ were recruiting children and students to help spread ‘supremacist ideology’.
Terrorism experts also called on the Government to ban the group for ‘radicalising children’ and spreading the ideology of Islamic State ‘into the heart of England’.
The Daily Mail investigation also found:
A member boasted of having active recruiters at universities including Oxford, University College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies – despite the group being banned from speaking on campuses;
A separate Hizb ut-Tahrir speaker said ‘we need to try to change’ homosexuals;
Devotees are warned that women will be punished for leaving home ‘uncovered’;
Followers, who believe ‘jihad’ should be waged against Israel, back Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for ‘saying it how it is’ amid the party’s anti-Semitism crisis.
Two serving prime ministers have tried to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir. But despite being outlawed in Pakistan, Russia and most Arab countries, it remains legal here.
The undercover reporter attended several of the group’s events in the past five months in locations ranging from East London to Bradford and Rochdale.
They were sold five extremist booklets for £2 by a boy of around 13 running a stall at the Fairweather Event Hall in Bradford.
One, entitled ‘Stand For Islam’, contained a verse discussing suicide bombing and criticising the West for focusing on the acts.
But the passage went on to justify the attacks, saying: ‘Whilst Islam is categorical in the prohibition of committing suicide and taking innocent life, this does not entail that Islam … expects Muslims to accept the occupation of their lands and the desecration of their beliefs, values and dignity.’
Another book being peddled was called ‘Democracy is a System of Kufr’ – a derogatory term for non-believers.
It said: ‘It is obligatory on the Muslims to completely discard democracy. It is filth.’
The book goes on to disparage homosexuality before claiming that ‘sex with all animals’ is increasing in the West. At the same event, a child of similar age was pulled before a crowd of around 30 and read from the Quran.
Later Hizb ut-Tahrir follower Dr Mohammed Zahid, who has lectured at Newcastle and Durham universities, described the group’s continuing influence on campuses – despite being ‘no-platformed’ by the National Union of Students.
Dr Zahid said: ‘We are active on campuses, just not as much as we used to be. Just a few years ago we had a number of brothers at the University of Manchester.
‘Any political party, to survive, you need recruitment … we have brothers on the UCL campus, SOAS, Oxford, they’re there.’
Hizb ut-Tahrir wants to establish an Islamic state stretching from north Africa to the Philippines and has produced articles promoting martyrdom in Israel. When our reporter asked one member, Mazhar Khan, about the anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party, he defended Jeremy Corbyn.
He said: ‘When you say it how it is people just don’t like it. And he’s the only one saying it as it is. That’s why even his own party is turning against him.’
Sara Khan, who leads the Government’s newly created Commission for Countering Extremism, told of her concern over the Mail’s findings last night.
She said: ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir are Islamist extremists who have been actively recruiting young people and spreading their supremacist ideology for decades.
‘It is concerning that, despite their no-platforming by the NUS, they are still very much active on campus but also in communities, recruiting children and students.
‘Non-violent extremism threatens the rights of others. I am undertaking a wide-ranging study into all forms of extremism to help us all do more to counter extremism.’
Security and terrorism experts called for action to stop Hizb ut-Tahrir ‘brainwashing’ youngsters.
Professor Anthony Glees, of the University of Buckingham, said: ‘They are radicalising children who should know nothing of the awful world which Islamic extremism promotes.
‘It is as if we are imparting the ideology of the so-called Islamic State into the heart of England.’
Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Yahya Nisbet said the group did not wish to overthrow British democracy.
He added: ‘Any suggestion that Hizb ut-Tahrir encourages any form of violence against ordinary British citizens is a baseless lie.’
Of the claims children were involved in selling books, he said: ‘Young people are welcome to participate in our public events – however, it is not our policy to permit this kind of administrative work.
‘I will be bringing this to the attention of those responsible.’
Mr Khan said he ‘did not recognise the views attributed to him’, but a spokesman for the group added: ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’s view on the illegal occupation of Palestine by Zionists is well documented.’