Last weekend the first defector ever from Hizb-ut-Tahrir in Denmark went public. In an interview with Jyllands-Posten he spoke in detail about his recruitment to the radical Islamist group in the middle of the 1990’s and how he left in 2004.
Leon Hee converted to Islam at age of 18 and took the name Muhammed. He did so in order to marry his fiancee Fatima. He was recruited to Hizb-ut-Tahrir at the local mosque.
Says Muhammed Hee:
”Typically Hizb-ut-Tahrir goes after young Muslims who have experienced racism or the feeling of being rejected by society or find themselves in an identity crisis. They are the most vulnerable. Hizb-ut-Tahrir in a cynical way exploits any sign of confrontation between Danish society and Islam in order to capture new members who will be taught to reject the basic values of Danish society.”
Muhammed Hee is still a Muslim and now he calls on moderate Muslims to go against Hizb-ut-Tahrir in the public debate. In doing so he is following in the footsteps of British Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz who also left the organization and are campaigning among young Muslims in order to prevent them from joining radical Islamic groups.
Muhammed Hee was asigned a teacher who came to his home once a week. His wife and kids were told to leave the room.
“I was told that it’s completely wrong if Muslims see themselves as belonging to a nation, a fatherland or ethnic group. There is only one right identity for a Muslim: Islam within the Muslim community, the Umma.”
Muhammed Hee broke with Hizb-ut-Tahrir after he began studying Arabic at university. His radical views were challenged by co-students and he learned to ask critical questions.
People like Muhammed Hee represents a very important development. They want to make their faith compatible with a modern, secular democracy, and I can only wish them good luck, though my own point of view is closer to that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Mina Ahadi, Necla Kelek and others who have left Islam, but both phenomena, radical Muslims turned moderate and Muslims leaving their religion, are crucial examples of what freedom of religion means.