FOR 2011: HIZB UT-TAHRIR, the antisemite group to watch.

Hizb ut-Tahrir. One of the most blatant antisemitic organisations allowed to flourish.

“Al-Quds [Jerusalem] cannot be liberated by resorting to protests and sit-in… it can only be restored by mobilizing armed forces to eliminate the Jewish entity!.
“That way is to mobilize the Muslim armies and bring together all able bodied Muslims to eliminate the Jewish entity from its roots and only then will the al-Aqsa be liberated and cleared of the scum and evil of the Jews and their offsprings….
“The way is to regard the entire Palestine as one right from the banks of the river in the east to the sea in the west, without differentiating the lands occupied in 1948 or in 1967; whoever relinquishes even one part of the land, actually facilitates surrender of part after part, whoever displays weakness, humiliation is his destiny…”
-18th Shawwal, 1430 A.H. Hizb ut-Tahrir. October 6, 2009.

A special report by Alan Simons

DECEMBER 31, 2010 –  For the past three years, I have been following the activities of one of the most blatant antisemitic organisations allowed to flourish. Plainly put, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), which is in favour of the destruction of Israel, as well as the killing of Jews, is banned in many countries around the world including Germany, Russia, Turkey, Syria and Egypt. It has grown into a multinational, active in over 50 countries.

In a report published in 2008 by Islam in Europe, the Dutch security service AIVD said:

“The movement [Hizb ut-Tahrir] operates exceptionally secretly and has a cell structure with an almost military hierarchy. The ideology is characterized by virulent anti-Zionism, and intense aversion to secular governments and ideologies, the complete shunning of those who believe differently and prescribing a confrontational and strongly polarizing message.”

Wojciech Grabowski of the Department of International Relations at the University of Gdansk stated in a published paper: “Hizb ut-Tahrir is in opposition to capitalism, democracy, Zionism (all dialogue with other religions is forbidden) and to the West. He says every element of the organisation’s ideology has two sides: radical and liberal, peaceful and armed.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir is not designated as a terrorist organization in the United States, however many consider it to be a stepping stone to more militant organizations.

In 2009, at a conference held in Chicago, the United States finally awoke to hearing first-hand what the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir also wants for America.  Sharia law in place of the U.S. Constitution.

On July 19, 2009, Hizb ut-Tahrir America (HTA) hosted a conference in Oak Lawn, a suburb of Chicago, in support of the establishment of a Caliphate.

Here’s what Madeleine Gruen of counterterrorismblog.org a unique, multi-expert blog to the counter-terrorism community, had to say at the time about it.

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 You Tube. The event, titled “The Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam…

Last fall, [2008] 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.

So, what exactly is Hizb ut-Tahrir?

According to Pakistan’s PAK Institute For Peace Studies(PIPS):

HT is an ideological group that falls somewhere between political Islamists and militant Islamists, and may also be classified as a kind of a revolutionary Islamist set-up. HT emphatically asserts that the only way to progress, prosperity and development is the implementation of Islam as an ideology in Pakistan and in the whole world. In Pakistan, it has an anti-constitutional and anti-democratic outlook and agenda, and its narrative on militant and violent movements and groups in the country remains vague. It has well developed tactics to communicate with the masses and propagate its ideology. The danger in discourses such as HT’s is not so much in its ability to achieve popular appeal in Pakistan. Rather, its appeal will always remain niche and exclusive. The group primarily targets Pakistan Army, the educated youth, bureaucracy and the business community to win their support and sympathies to realize their Khilafah plan…

Most analysts tend to watch madrassas and popular mass movements for signs of radicalization. The danger with HT is ever more serious and often overlooked because it is not always visible and does not conform to stereotypes.

PIPS refers to Hizb ut-Tahrir as a “global revolutionary Islamist movement, with branches in around 50 countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States… HT’s goal is to establish an expansionist super-state they would call the Khilafah (caliphate).”

While HT’s political activities were confined to Jordan, the West Bank and Lebanon throughout the 1950s, the popularity of the party increased in other Middle Eastern countries in the 1960s. This rise in popularity was followed by HT staging military coups in the early 1970s in unsuccessful bids to seize power in Syria, Jordan and Iraq. After the failure of the coups and the arrest of its members, support for the party declined in the Middle East in the 1970s and 1980s. Some members of HT from the Middle East moved to the UK, Germany and Sweden in the 1980s and 1990s to set up party chapters in Europe. HT quickly garnered support from some second-generation European Muslims. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, HT made inroads into Central Asia in the latter half of the 1990s.

HT: An International Narrative

In the early years after its establishment, HT’s prime focus remained mainly on Middle Eastern countries. A brief note on the history of HT in its manifesto states that it was between 1977 and 2003, under the leadership of HT’s second head Abdul Qadim Zallum, that the organization started its operations in more than 40 countries, including many Islamic countries. According to organizational claims, millions of people had by then associated with HT and it had emerged as the largest ‘political party’ in the world working for the establishment of an Islamic Khilafah

However, the tactics for achieving its objectives may differ from place to place. For instance, in the UK, HT had for some time followed the ‘keep your ideology in your heart’ strategy without vocally or tacitly supporting the violent acts carried out by Islamist militants. But in Pakistan, the organization not only accuses Pakistani and Western governments of involvement in acts of terrorism but also extends its sympathies and support to militant groups who are, according to HT, sincerely fighting to establish Islamic rule and strongly resisting the “nefarious designs of the infidels against the Muslims of Pakistan and Afghanistan”. HT’s approach to such issues in the UK will be totally different, where it increasingly disguises its support for jihad, anti-Semitic beliefs and intolerant ideologies after the 7/7 terrorists attacks.

Such a variation of tactics and approaches indicates the adaptive nature of HT. In the case of Muslim majority countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Central Asian states, HT exploits the weaknesses of ‘corrupt’ regimes, their inability to deliver good governance, their pro-West policies and heavy influence of Western culture on a societal level. By doing so, it represents itself as a better alternative to repressive, corrupt and pro-infidel regimes.

One understandable reason for this difference in HT approach in Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority countries could be the fact that HT aims to first establish the Khilafah system in Muslim-majority countries. But HT’s focus on Muslim-minority countries, especially in Europe, offers them certain benefits. For example, being based in Europe, it enjoys freedom of speech which it can use to lobby and influence Muslims for the establishment of the Khilafah. Many Muslims from Muslim-majority countries either live in European countries or go there for study or business. HT enjoys complete freedom to reach out to these individuals in those countries to try and persuade them to join the party’s cause. It also has few curbs in establishing networks among Muslim communities in these countries to win their support.

HTs tactical variations to achieve its political objective of establishing a worldwide system of governance, the Khilafah, demonstrates that the party is not averse to fine-tuning its tactics to fit local contexts.

Armed resistance called for in Denmark

And fine tuning it is.  An example of that took place this week in Denmark, as reported by Islam in Europe:

“Hizb ut-Tahrir, the controversial Islamic organization, is calling for armed resistance in a debate the organization’s holding about the war in Afghanistan,” reports DR Nyheder.

The debate is to be held January 21st, 2011 in Copenhagen. The invitation to the debate shows pictures of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian caskets on a map of Afghanistan. [seen on the left] The invitation says as follows: The debate will also focus on the obligation of the Muslims in Afghanistan and the area for armed resistance. We consider this resistance to be totally legitimate. In this context, the authorities’ attempts to criminalize or intimidate any war-opponent will also be highlighted. We all have a responsibility! Islamically its unacceptable to be passive and it’s not enough to just be against the war on a moral level.

The organization’s spokesperson in Scandinavia, Sherif Redji, rejects the notion that they’ve crossed the line: “If anybody should be blamed for the Danish soldiers who die in vain in this battle, it’s the Danish politicians who have cynically chosen to send them out on a mission which only serves the American strategic interests in the region.”

The organization is banned in various countries and Martin Henriksen (Danish People’s Party) says it’s now time to do the same in Denmark. Karen Hækkerup (Social Democrats) agrees and says it’s objectionable that people who live in Denmark are organizing a meeting to talk about armed struggle and show pictures of dead Danish soldiers. “But as long as it’s not a not a banned organization, you need to respect that it’s an association that is allowed to exist.”

The preponderance of evidence from countries as varied as Germany, Denmark, Turkey, Bangladesh, Russia and Egypt support the assertion that the U.S. administration in 2011 might well be advised to reassess its position on the organization, especially as Hizb ut-Tahrir itself proclaims that the U.S. is a state “with whom we are in an actual war.”

Happy New Year folks!

(Photo credits: Hizb-ut Tahrir; Islam in Europe)

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