Muslim extremist group to host a conference in Chicago. Moves meeting from Bridgeview to the Hilton Hotel, Oak Lawn.
By Alan Simons
JUNE 25, 2009 – In October 2007, jewishinfoNews brought to the attention of its readers two stories about the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. This organisation is in favour of the destruction of Israel as well as the killing of Jews. The BBC TV program Panorama, a few weeks earlier in the month, interviewed Shiraz Maher, a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which campaigns for an Islamic state. Click the image on the right to see the interview.
Maher explained how he became a Muslim extremist; “what it was to think like an extremist and adopt an ideology that demands you abandon all aspects of your former life – including your friends and family.”
Dr. Jonathan Spyer, a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, explains that “Hizb ut-Tahrir was founded in Jordanian-ruled Jerusalem in 1952 by a sharia court judge, Taqiuddin al-Nabhani. The party inscribes on its banner the goal of the restoration of the caliphate – the Islamic government established after the death of Muhammad in 632, and abolished by Kemal Ataturk in 1924.
The party wants the imposition of sharia law – eventually worldwide – and is in favour of the destruction of Israel. However, it sees this as the job of the conventional forces of the restored Islamic caliphate.”
Hizb ut-Tahrir has grown from its beginnings in Jordanian Jerusalem into an international force, with branches in 45 countries in the world. It has achieved particular notoriety in central and southeast Asian countries, in particular in Uzbekistan and Indonesia. It has also come to prominence in western European countries – particularly in Britain, where a branch was established in 1986. A number of the best-known British participants in Islamist terrorism attended meetings of the group or one of its offshoots at certain stages of their trajectories. These include Omar Khan Sharif, who tried to bomb the Mikes Place bar in Tel Aviv in 2003, and the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.
On July 19, Hizb ut-Tahrir will host a conference at the Hilton Hotel in Oak Lawn, a suburb of Chicago, in support of the establishment of a Caliphate. Originally the conference was to be held at the Aqsa School in Bridgeview, Illinois.
Here’s what Madeleine Gruen of counterterrorismblog.org a unique, multi-expert blog dedicated to providing a one-stop gateway to the counterterrorism community, has to say about it. In addition, log on to the video she mentions in her article.
Hizb ut-Tahrir America Enters Public Stage
Hizb ut-Tahrir America (HTA) has indicated that it has transitioned from its covert status to a public phase of operations by issuing an announcement, signed in its own name, that it will host a conference in July 2009 to support the establishment of a Caliphate. The promotional video can be viewed on YouTube. The event, titled “The Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam,” is scheduled for Sunday, July 19th, 2009, at the Aqsa School in Bridgeview, Illinois.
Bridgeview is a suburb of Chicago. Chicago has been a major hub of HTA’s activities for the past ten years, approximately. According to information available on the internet, theAqsa School is a private Islamic primary and secondary school. Although HTA’s Khilafah conference will be held at the school, there is no public indication that the school, its staff, or its board members are directly involved with HTA.
Last fall, after HTA issued a leaflet in its own name calling for Muslims not to participate in the U.S. elections, I wrote a brief post on CTB about the possible transition of HTA to the second stage of its development. According to party doctrine, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) implements its strategy in three stages–The first stage is the covert level of development in which members are recruited and trained. In the second stage, members promote the party’s methods and objectives publicly in order to win the support of the Muslim population. The final stage is the establishment of an Islamic government and military, in order to carry HT’s “message to the world.”
Indeed, HTA’s announcement that it will host the Khilafah conference in July indicates that the U.S.-based branch now perceives itself as solidly prepared to emerge from its covert status into the second stage. HTA has held Khilafah conferences, and other major conferences, in the past, but has only done so from behind fronts and covers.
Other international branches of HT that have advanced from the developmental stage to the public phase have done so after achieving a level of internal fortitude that would enable the branch to withstand opposition. The transition may indicate that HTA perceives a level of comfort in an operating environment in which aggressive challenge from the government or the public is not anticipated. In order to sustain operations publicly, the branch leaders must be confident that members are loyal and committed to HT’s objectives.
The conference promotional video does not provide a list of speakers or an agenda for the conference. However, Khilafah conferences hosted by branches of HT in other countries most often include prominent HT members invited from overseas. It is likely members of HT will travel from abroad to the conference in Bridgeview, Illinois, to enhance the credibility of HTA and to solidify the commitment of its members.
The promotional video for the July conference appears to have been created by an Australian member of HT, which indicates some degree of coordination between the organization’s branches. This particular member has created promotional videos for HT conferences in Indonesia and in Australia.
Although HTA appears to have transitioned to the second stage of development, it is important to note that aspects of HTA’s activities will continue to be conducted covertly, such as recruitment and ideological training.
HT is not designated as a terrorist organization in the United States, however many consider it to be a stepping stone to more militant organizations.
For a selection of abridged topics originally published in jewishinfoNews, click here