Tories protest homophobic group’s use of London landmark

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A controversial Islamic group accused of being anti-Semitic hate mongers and condoning the murder of gay people recently held a conference at Alexandra Palace in north London, to the disgust of local Conservatives.

Thousands of Hizb ut-Tahrir supporters gathered for the conference on how to realise the Khilafah – a global Islamic state.

The group has been banned from public activity in countries including Germany on charges of spreading anti-Semitic propaganda.

Last month, Conservative leader David Cameron asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown why the group was not proscribed in the UK.

Mr Cameron said: “People simply won’t understand why an organisation urging people to kill all Jews hasn’t been banned.”

Tony Blair proposed a ban of the group two years ago but there was insufficient evidence at the time to substantiate the move.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has been especially active on college campuses in London and Manchester in recent years.

At a student meeting in Manchester two years ago, speakers from Hizb ut-Tahrir denounced the gay community, stating:

“Twenty years ago if you were queer … you weren’t allowed anywhere. They’d kick your door down … Now they adopt kids, they can have a family. This is moral decline”.

Justin Hinchcliffe, of Haringey Conservatives, told the Muswell Hill Times : “Hizb ut-Tahrir is a fascist-Islamic organisation.

“Jihad (holy war), anti-Semitism, homophobia and misogyny are what it stands for.

“If Labour wants to be tough on terrorism it should ban such hateful groups instead of eroding the civil liberties of the law-abiding majority.

“Meanwhile, the bosses at Alexandra Palace should be ashamed of themselves. Clearly, they have placed profit above ethics, community relations, security and common sense. We don’t want these hate-mongers in Haringey.”

A spokesman for Alexandra Palace told the Muswell Hill Times:

“We note the controversial opinions of the organisation’s leadership and acknowledge that their views provoke strong reactions in some sectors.

“We would like to take this opportunity to state clearly that enabling the organisation to host its event at the palace in no way implies that its views are shared by either the management of Alexandra Palace, the trustees of the Alexandra Palace Charitable Trust or the directors of its trading company.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir described the meeting as a “momentous conference” where a packed theatre heard speeches detailing the present situation in the Muslim world and how Khilafah is “the only solution”.

Dr Imran Waheed, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said in a statement:

“Our message to the Muslim community in Britain is aimed to reinforce the massive popularity for this political institution in the Muslim world, and to illustrate how we, while based so far away, can contribute to the debates currently raging about governance in the Muslim world.

“Given the current climate of suspicion and fear we feel that now more than ever people need to try to understand these legitimate political aspirations for the Muslim world.”

Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary general of The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), told the Muswell Hill Times he did not believe banning the group was the answer but that the MCB strongly disagree with the group’s position of non-participation in the UK electoral process.

“The best way is surely to challenge some of their ideas and show clearly why integration and greater participation in the mainstream political process is a more fruitful path for all concerned.”

Alexandra Palace was built in an area spanning Wood Green and Muswell Hill, North London, in 1873.

Set within 196 acres of parkland, the Palace features Victorian fittings and is often used for conferences, wedding receptions and concerts.

It was the first home of BBC Television and featured prominently in the Doctor Who episode The Idiot’s Lantern.