In 2011, two students with links to Hizb ut-Tahrir were elected to leadership posts in Westminster’s Student Union. Tarik Mahri, who was elected president, is a member of the Global Ideas Society, which was banned last year by the university after inviting senior Hizb ut-Tahrir member Jamal Harwood onto campus. His Facebook profile and Twitter feed contain various links to the official ‘Hizb-ut-Tahrir’ twitter feed, and he speaks on Twitter to Hamza Tzortzis, a confessed member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Jamal Achchi was elected vice-president and has been accused of circulating Hizb ut-Tahrir literature.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Speakers
Jamal Harwood, a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain’s Executive Committee, was invited to speak at Westminster in 2010, but was prevented from speaking after pressure from students and the NUS. A spokesman for the university said, “The University of Westminster supports the National Union of Students (NUS) and its policy of providing No Platform for Hizb ut-Tahrir.” The event was organised by the Global Ideas Society, whose member Tarik Mahri went on to be elected Student Union president in 2011. The Global Ideas Society did however host an event featuring Harwood in 2012, called ‘Economic Future: The Real Solutions’.
Adnan Khan, a senior member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, was hosted by the Global Ideas Society in October and December 2012. Hizb ut-Tahrir are subject to a No Platform policy by the NUS, and were accused by the Prevent strategy of working to “target specific universities and colleges (notably those with a large number of Muslim students) with the objective of radicalising and recruiting students”.
In 2012, videos condoning violent Jihad were found on the Westminster Islamic Society Facebook account. One such video, called “What is the least we can do for the Mujahideen’, accrued five ‘likes’ and attracted comments such as “May Allah honour us by meeting them”. The video contains a slide show of photographs showing insurgent fighters posing with weapons, and engaged in firefights. The voiceover, by Abdul Rahman Saleem, who was convicted of inciting racial hatred in 2007, encourages the viewer to “Ask Allah to remove those Kuffar from our lands, ask Allah to let their blood run on the streets of Fallujah, let their blood run in the mountains of Afghanistan, let the Mujahideen kill them and destroy them one after the other”. Another video called “Is the Ummah living in the new Gold Rush” featured a voice over by Anwar Al-Alwaki. They have since been removed. In August of the same year, a video feature Aafia Siddiqui was shared on the Facebook page of the Global Ideas society. Siddiqui is currently serving time in a US prison for attempted murder, and has been linked to Al-Qaeda. Around the same time, the Islamic Society’s page shared new videos featuring Anwar Al-Awlaki and Yassin Chouka, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
The Global Ideas Society were found to have been promoting Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ‘Know Muhammad’ campaign at Westminster’s Fresher’s Week in 2013. Westminster later released a statement saying, “The University acknowledges concerns about the distribution of such literature and has discussed the matter with the Students’ Union and The Global Ideas Society”.
Haitham Al-Haddad appeared at the Westminster Islamic Society’s charity dinner in November 2013. Al-Haddad has a concerning track record when speaking about women’s rights. He has said in the past, “a man should not be questioned why he hit his wife, because this is something between them”, and has opined that “the most honourable and worthy role for a woman is striving to be a fine wife…this role does not only secure the best for a woman in the hereafter, but also fits perfectly with her natural disposition”. He has said that the death penalty for apostasy makes “perfect sense” and described homosexuality as a “criminal act”. The Islamic Society described criticism of Al-Haddad’s invitation as “a pernicious campaign”, which “demonises” Muslim students, and the University Chaplain refused to comment on his approval of the speaker.
Khalid Fikry, who is virulently anti-Shia, was invited to Westminster Islamic Society’s annual dinner in April 2013. He has described Shia Muslims as “the worst and greatest enemies again our Ummah”. Fikry has also paid tribute to convicted terrorist Omar Abdul Rahman, who has been implicated in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombings and who led the group responsible for the 1997 Luxor Massacre, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya.
A 2012 Hizb ut-Tahrir conference called ‘Khilafah: A Manifesto For Change’ was advertised on the Westminster Global Ideas Society Facebook page.