UK: Islamist party 'is targeting university students'

10/09/2007 telegraph

A senior British member of a Muslim organisation accused of propagating extremism is to send out a warning this week that the group is targeting impressionable youngsters.

Maajid Nawaz, who was offered the opportunity to lead the UK branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir earlier this year, is expected to announce that he has left the global party after concluding that its beliefs warp the Koran's true message.

He will use an appearance on BBC2's Newsnight this week to claim that the organisation is recruiting young Muslims at British universities and, in some cases, suggesting that they travel overseas to fight British troops.

Mr Nawaz, 29, is also expected to claim that Hizb ut-Tahrir, which seeks to overthrow democracy and establish a worldwide Islamic state, encourages its followers to undermine British institutions and orders them not to vote.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has always insisted that it is not involved in extremism or terrorism.

One source close to Mr Nawaz said that he believed the group to be dangerous.

"Nobody knows how Hizb ut-Tahrir operates better than Maajid," said the source. "He now realises their beliefs are completely wrong and is very upset and angry."

The sect operates legally in the UK, despite a pledge by Tony Blair as prime minister to ban it following the London bombings on July 7 2005.

Ed Husain, another former sect member, said: "Hizb ut-Tahrir is threatening the very fabric of Islam and the very fabric of British society. The Government does not understand the seriousness of the situation and needs to act now."

During a trip to Egypt in 2002 Mr Nawaz was arrested for supporting the group, which is banned in that country. He was jailed for five years but released in March last year.