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Media Office
The Netherlands

H. 25 Rabi' ul Awal 1433 Nummer: M1433/03
M. 17-02-2012

Democratic and constitutional liberties are the main reasons for banning the Khilafah Conference in Belgium

The Khilafah Conference of Hizb ut Tahrir Belgium which was planned for 4 March 2012 in memory of the fall of the Khilafah State in 1924, has been cancelled. This was decided by Hilde Claes, the Mayor of the city Hasselt, after having an internal consultation with the police and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Stating the arguments to ban the conference, she said: “I have decided to enact this decision based on the law of 23th March 1995 which is against negationism”, “Also, there are conflicts with anti-racial laws. Because of this, we cannot secure the public safety and therefore we have sustainable evidence to forbid this gathering.”

The annual Khilafah Conferences are held in many countries and it has truly evolved into a true phenomenon, and that applies to Belgium as well. These conferences are meant to remember the fall of the Islamic Khilafah State in 1924. These annual conferences have earned a certain amount of respect amongst the Muslims. This year, in light of the Arabic uprisings and the suffering of the Syrian people under the Assad regime, different experts were invited to take part in the conference to discuss the future of the Islamic World and to present a solution for the horrific atrocities that have taken place in the Islamic World. However, by cancelling the conference and forbidding it, these political and intellectual discourses were taken away from the Muslims of Belgium.

Hizb ut Tahrir Belgium has successfully organized conferences and demonstrations in the past with permission of the Belgian authorities and up until now these activities have never led to any problem at all. In fact, at certain events the police who were on duty always talked positively about our conduct, politeness and discipline. So a negative advice from the police force, as has been alleged is inconsistent with our positive experiences with the police. Therefore, the words of the mayor: “We cannot guarantee that the public safety will be managed and that this provides enough evidence to ban the gathering” do not apply to us. That is because with all our events the public security has been secured and there has not been a single incident in previous years. How is it possible then to carry this non-argument - to state that we are a threat to public safety? This is nothing more than ‘hot air’ and an attempt to stain our good reputation.

The expressed concern of the mayor regarding public safety should not be addressed to us, but to those who pose a real threat to the Belgian society. Namely those who continuously attack Islam and the Muslims and insult them, hereby creating a split between Muslims and Non-Muslims based on hate and intolerance. And the concerns should be focused on all those who have created a stir regarding the conference and injected fear in the hearts of the Belgian people with lies and distortions. Apparently, the Mayor has also allowed herself to be seduced into this atmosphere of intolerance and fear.

That is in response to the arguments about security. With regards to the issue of racism and negationism (illegitimate historical revisionism); just by accusing us of racism does not make us racist. What are the evidences to support this allegation? Is it from our literature? Is there someone in Belgium from Hizb ut Tahrir convicted of this crime? This is a claim that has to be supported with solid evidences.

As for the negationism; which historical fact have we ever distorted or denied? According to my knowledge, we have never denied any historical fact. Or perhaps they are implying the genocide of Belgium in the Congo? Or maybe they expect us to deny this historical fact?

The arguments concerning the public security and the allegations of racism have no basis whatsoever. It would have been appropriate for the Mayor to at least invite and talk with the members of Hizb ut Tahrir before making such a decision. That way, both sides of the story would have been explained and subsequently the Mayor could have formed an objective opinion instead of letting herself be dragged into the midst of all these extremely-right wing noises.

So the question as to why the conference was banned can be answered with the words of Joelle Milquet, Minister of Internal Affairs when she said: “The Mayor of Hasselt, Hilde Claes has asked Internal Affairs for legal advice to investigate the possibility of banning the gathering because it takes place in a hall in the city.”

Clearly, the mayor had a prejudice to ban the conference and she asked for advice only to justify her own decision.

I would like to ask her the following questions: you said “I forbid this conference. I am a supporter of the democratic values and I condemn every form of extremism.” Is this the democracy that you support? A democracy that makes its decision based on popularism rather than solid evidences? Or one that upholds the freedom of speech as long as it does not include Muslims with an Islamic opinion?

In conclusion, I would like to say to her: you have committed an unjust act against the Muslims by taking away their right to express their opinion. So you have not discredited us; rather you discredited your own liberal democratic values.

Okay Pala

Media Spokesman of Hizb ut Tahrir in the Netherland


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