On Saturday 1 September 2018, Hizb ut Tahrir had arranged a lecture in Stockholm on how Muslims can be active in society without compromising their Islamic identity and without voting in the parliamentary elections. The lecture was part of the ongoing campaign of Hizb ut Tahrir in Sweden titled “Use your voice but not in the election”. However, after sensationalist media attention, the public venue cancelled the booking in order to prevent Hizb ut Tahrir from holding the lecture. This was reported by DN, SvD, Aftonbladet, SVT, and several other media outlets. It was also commented on by several politicians.
The message in this cancellation is clear: If you want to be politically active and engage in the public debate, you have to leave your Islamic values and identity behind and renounce them in order for your dedication and engagement to be accepted. The irony is that in the middle of the democratic election period, which is allegedly about open debate and exchange of views, the authorities chose to cancel the lecture that is critical of the democratic process and participation in it.
They want Muslims to assimilate and accept freedom and democratic values, but clamp down upon peaceful political activity, only because it does not conform with what they want to hear, similar to totalitarian regimes. It is no wonder that Muslims reject the democratic values when even the flag bearers of democracy cannot stand firm upon their own values and principles. Instead, they undermine them in order to silence the Muslims.
This action only confirms their weakness and inability to deal with people with different beliefs. They do not accept that people think independently and base their actions upon Islam, they want to pressure Muslims to embrace their (western) culture, as well as think and behave accordingly.
The excuse that the lecture can cause disorder is a ridiculous excuse that again reminds us of totalitarian regimes that suppress any true criticism and alternate thinking. The activities of Hizb ut Tahrir are well-known to always be intellectual, political and non-violent.
This panic-filled reaction revealed the Swedish authorities’ fear of proper Islamic political thinking and our dawah to allow Muslims to protect their identity and raise awareness to think and act solely based on Islam as a collective. These desperate efforts are a clear evidence of their inability to debate Islam’s thoughts intellectually and therefore forcibly prevent the Islamic thoughts from being expressed.
It is not the first time such a thing has taken place and certainly not the last. We expect that of democrats who have lost confidence in their own system and values, but it is sad to see some Muslims stick to it and providing it with legitimacy. Combating Islam and its values will not halt our efforts the least. Instead, it will make us march forward, continue and accelerate the sincere work for Islam, so that all – Muslims as well as non-Muslims – are reached by the mercy of Islam’s message.
Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Scandinavia
Friday, 20th Dhul Hijjah 1439 AH