- Islamist extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir ‘join al-Qaeda franchise in Syria’.
- Jihadi John came in contact with group at Westminster University.
- Lib Dem candidate in strip club scandal was a member for 13 years.
- Maajid Nawaz was jailed in Egypt in 2005 over his work with HT.
- Nawaz was caught on CCTV visiting London strip club during Ramadan.
An extremist Islamist group with a ‘big UK support base’ has joined forces with al-Qaeda in Syria, according to reports.
Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) has reportedly attacked civil activists in Aleppo alongside local al-Qaeda franchise Nusra Front, the Times has revealed.
Several British men linked to ISIS, including Mohammed ‘Jihadi John’ Emwazi, are known to have been in contact with the group while studying at UK universities.
Maajid Nawaz, the Liberal Democrats’ Parliamentary candidate which the Daily Mail revealed to have been trying to touch a naked lap dancer at an East London strip club, was a member of HT for 13 years and jailed in Egypt for his commitment to the group.
A spokesman for Nawaz said he denied touching the dancer ‘inappropriately’ and that the visit to the strip club was part of his stag night.
One week ago, around 100 HT members, one armed with a sword, attacked activists in eastern Aleppo during an anti-regime demonstration, The Times reports.
A photograph from the demonstration seen by the newspaper allegedly shows ‘HT members confronting activists, while balaclava-wearing fighters from the Nusra Front stand guard’.
A spokesperson for Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK denied any involvement with the Nusra Front and al-Qaeda in Syria.
Hizb ut-Tahrir (Arabic for Party of Liberation) is an international Muslim organisation which, like ISIS, advocates a single Islamic state, or caliphate, in the Middle East under Islamic law.
The group is banned in many Middle East countries and also in Russia, Turkey, Pakistan and Germany but not in Australia, the US or UK.
During his 2010 election campaign, David Cameron promised to ban the group, whose UK branch was founded in 1986, but the organisation is still alive and well in Britain.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been known to recruit members at British universities and evidence emerged earlier this year showing the group may have been involved in the radicalisation of ISIS executioner Mohammad Emwazi.
Londoner Emwazi, known before his unmasking as ‘Jihadi John’, is said to have taken part in events at Westminster University where members of HT were among the speakers.
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Four years ago, a student connected to HT was elected president of the Students’ Union at the central London university.
His vice-president also had links to the group, which raised concerns that the union had been taken over by extremists.
Waheed Ahmed, 21 – the son of Rochdale Labour councillor Shakil Ahmed who was arrested in Turkey last month trying to cross into Syria with eight other Brits – is said to be a member after being recruited as a student at Manchester University.
Lib Dem candidate Nawaz, prospective MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, spent 13 years inside Hizb ut-Tahrir and was jailed in Egypt in 2005 for his role in radical Islamist group.
On his return to England in 2006, the 37-year-old renounced his views and set up ‘counter-extremism think-tank’ the Quilliam Foundation.
This follows revelations by the Daily Mail this morning that the would-be MP was filmed trying to touch an exotic dancer during several private sessions at a strip club in Whitechapel, east London.
Despite his prominent position in the local Muslim community, Nawaz – a married father-of-one – visited the ‘gentlemen’s club’ during the holy month of Ramadan, the owner says.
Footage shows Nawaz– who calls himself a feminist and advocate of women’s rights – attempting to touch the young dancer’s arms and thighs, which is against the venue’s policy.
Staff said Nawaz had been pestering the girl all night and his actions had been ‘outrageous’.
In the film, Nawaz can be seen repeatedly trying to make contact with the girl as she dances naked for him in a private room during two £20 lap dances.
Owner Abdul Malik, the club’s owner, said he wanted the video to be seen by the public because of the way Nawaz portrays himself as a feminist and a family man.
‘He’s always talking about religion on TV and I thought, what a hypocrite,’ he said.
He claimed ‘arrogant’ Nawaz acts like a ‘spokesman for Islam’ – but visited the club during Ramadan.
Tory MP Nadine Dorries last night called for Nawaz to quit his candidacy. ‘In politics, you can’t advocate one cause or manner of behaviour then act differently in your personal life,’ she said.
Labour MP Khalid Mahmood added: ‘The message this sends to women is not one of respect.’