The Securitisation of Hizb ut Tahrir: A Comparative Case Study

Nomaan Hanif

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Hizb ut Tahrir (HT) is a rapidly growing trans-national Islamic movement which aims to revive the classical Islamic Caliphate. Consequently, it has come under increasing international focus as a result of its rapid expansion beyond its traditional heartland of the Middle East into Central Asia, South Asia and Europe, in turn eliciting diverse reactions from governments, ranging from it being constructed as a threat to the state, to its political acceptance and even protection.
This study evaluates the discrepancy in this treatment under diverse political contexts. It argues that differing government responses to HT are premised on subjective political and security considerations, and not on the objective reality of HT’s political programme and history of activism.
HT specifies the area in which the Caliphate is to be revived (the majaal, or location of power) as the Arab Middle East. HT maintains that Arab-speaking societies must be the basis of a revived Caliphate because of the inseparable link that exists between Islam and the Arabic language. HT therefore does not constitute an existential threat to states ruling over non-Arab speaking Muslim societies. HT’s political programme and history of attempted coup d’états attests to its challenge to states in the Arab Middle East; but no such precedent exists outside of that region.

This thesis provides an explanation for the government responses to HT outside the Middle East through the theory of securitisation and the securitisation model developed by the Copenhagen School. This model looks at the construction of security as a subjective phenomenon, primarily through the medium of the ‘speech act’ which is designed to convince audiences to accept the mobilisation of ‘special measures’ in order to deal with constructed threats. In support of this argument, the study provides a series of comparative case studies of HT under differing political contexts which includes the Arab Middle East, Uzbekistan, Indonesia and the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Halperin, Sandra, Supervisor
Award date1 Nov 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • Security, political Islam, ideology, Caliphate, Hizb ut Tahrir, Islam, State, Middle East, Uzbekistan, Britain, Indonesia, Ottoman, Politics,

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