By Raheem Kassam
Roughly 500 members of the Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) gathered in Denmark’s capital city of Copenhagen on Friday, calling for Shariah law for European countries, as well as “jihad” to “free” the Palestinian territories. The march, which took place on Friday, appears to have garnered little media attention, as has the shooting which took place in the same location just 24-hours later at a Shia Muslim ceremony.
Around 500 black Islamist-flag waving Sunni HT members began their prayers on Friday outside the Nørrebro train station, which was followed by a march through the local area. A day later, Shia Muslims found themselves attacked at the tail end of their own march in the same part of the city, leading to shots being fired from a gun and a police attempt to control the group.
“Muslim armies, do your duty. We have had enough of failure,” the HT crowds chanted on Friday afternoon, according to journalist Marie Jensen who was present at the scene.
TV2 reports that men and women were segregated at the event, and “infants” were also there, helping to wave the black flag of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is similar, though not identical, to the black flag of ISIS.
Just 24 hours later, there were clashes at a memorial march for Imam Hussein, a descendent of prophet Muhammed whose life is mourned every year by Shia Muslims around the world.
Gunshots rang out towards the end of Saturday’s event, just a few streets away from the mosque at which it was due to conclude. Reports suggest that a 29-year-old man was arrested following an altercation with another group.
Local police have said they do not believe there was a religious motive.
“In processions there are always some uproar. There was a man who fired two to three shots in the air after he was attacked by a large group of people. We do not believe that the motive for the attack was religious. It was an isolated showdown between a couple of groups, ” said senior police officer Henrik Vedel.
The Danish government has taken fresh steps to attempt to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, a promise also made by Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron during the UK’s 2010 election. So far, both have failed, though Mr. Cameron is said to have abandoned his plans.
In February of this year, Danish Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen told Politiken: “My own opinion is that [Hizb ut-Tahrir] should be broken up. And as soon as the public prosecutor says there are grounds to break it up, it will happen”.
TheLocal.dk notes: “Hizb ut-Tahrir has campaigned since 1953 for the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate, although unlike groups such as Isis and Al-Qaeda, it claims to reject the use of violence to establish its goal.”