SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The West Needs to Understand it is inevitable: Islam Is Coming Back - British Branch of Hizb ut Tahir Comes Out of the Shadows

The members of Hizb ut Tahir, the "Party of Liberation," the most controversial Islamic group in Britain that has been banned in Germany and in most of the Middle East, is a very serious and dangerous group. Thousands of its members are in jail and a Russian thinktank has compared the group to al-Qaida.

This ultra-secretrative group is highly selective, and until recently "cautious, reluctant to release details of the scale of its membership, its leadership structure or its funding." Now, the group is "changing direction," and in is giving the Guardian newspaper unprecedented access to leadership in the British branch.

The British-branch leader is a 28-year old IT consultant called Jalaluddin Patel, the first leader in its eighteen-year history in the U.K. to speak to the national press. He has been involved with Hizb since he was 16 and came to the group searching for answers. His message is this:

The West "needs to understand what is really an inevitable matter...Islam is coming back, the Islamic Caliphate is going to be implemented in the world very soon...The Muslim people need to realise that the way in which they will restore a form of dignity and bring civilistion back to the Islamic world is to establish a modern caliphate.


Hizab's message also includes the removal of Pakistan's President Musharraf. Last month thousands of Pakistanis in Britain marched, demanding the change, and in Pakistan, the security forces are "keeping a careful watch on Hizb, mindful of the group's links with an educated middle class and fearful possible links with other, more radical groups." Recruitment of the educated Muslim middle class is a hallmark of the group's worldwide movement.

The AsiaTimesOnline reports on this group.
Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Party of Islamic Liberation - HT) is "tailoring its its recruiting efforts to match local dynamics in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan," and "is targeting individuals from the dominanet ethnic group with a higher education and ties to state institutions."

In Tajikistan, the authorities arrested a group of HT activists in Khujand in February. Various reports placed the number of individuals detained between 14 and 22. Tribune.uz, an independent Internet publication funded by George Soros' Open Society foundation, reported on February 25 that the men were all aged 20-22 and from middle-class families.
One wonders why George Soros would be associated with a radical Islamic group that advocates the overthrow of governments and the re-establishment of the Caliphate!

How does Hizb ut-Tahir al-Islami operate and where did it come from?

Most groups achieve notoriety through the "propaganda of the deed," committing acts of terror or making obvious attempts to seize power. Instead, HT has drawn notice for its radical program and conspiratorial organizational structure...It operates through a network of secretive party cells reminiscent of the underground network the Bolsheviks employed as they laid the groundwork for their successful seizure of power in Russian in 1917.


Founded in 1953 in Jerusalem by an appeals court judge, Taqiuddin al Nabhani, it began its da'wah program within some Arab countries, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and then "proceeded to expand to other Arab and non-Arab Muslim countries. The leaders of Syria, Libya, Iraq, and others have killed dozens of its members, and the prisons of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia are full of its members."

Eschewing politics, it refuses to align with any local politics. It does not go in for national politics, or want elections, or to be part of any coalition government. The methods used are "non-violent," but they believe that jihad is a "positive concept." But it is being repressed by governments all over the world.

It is being fiercely repressed by regional governments, which consider its radical ideology a major threat. Hundreds of members of Hizb ut-Tahrir have been jailed in Central Asian countries and dozens in Azerbaijan in recent years. In Uzbekistan alone, rights groups say, heavy prison sentences were handed down to an average of 50 Islamic activists a month in 1999 and 2000. The relative decrease in arrests that followed is explained by the fact that Hizb ut-Tahrir went underground to avoid persecutions. Uzbek President Islam Karimov's intolerance of the group seemed to catch on with Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Tajik authorities, who stepped up their repression of the group, arresting, trying, and convincing dozens of members for distributing leaflets and other nonviolent activities.


Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has long accused the group of links with separatists fighters and alleged Arab mercenaries combating Russian troops in Chechnya as well as with the Islamic Movement of Uzebekisan (IMU). The IMU is linked to the Taliban in Afghanistan. In June 2003 the FSB arrested 121 illegal immigrants having ties with with Hizb in raid that is described as the "tip of the iceberg...(of) a network of cells covering all of Russia." Russia continues to be concerned about the group's activities, arresting eight members in Siberia in October 2004.

Calling for the "proletarians of Islam" to unite, Hizb ut-Tahrir uses rhetoric that sounds very much like the Communism of old. Throw off the yoke of non-Muslims that are repressing and using Muslims. How will they do this?

...to raise the Islamic way of life, to change the situation in corrupt society so as to make it an Islamic society. Hizb ut-Tahrir aims to do this, first, by changing society's ideas to Islamic ideas, so that these ideas become public opinion and so that people begin to embody them in their lives and to live by them. Second, the party works to change the emotions felt in society until they become Islamic feelings of gratitude to Allah and opposition to that which angers Allah.'


The party identifies capitalism as its number one enemy since it is viewed as "Kufr," thus contradicting what are perceived as the edicts of Islam. Consequently, also rejecting democracy and civil law...the most important step made by colonists in Islamic countries after the fall of the Khilafah( Califate) (Kamal Ataturk abolished the Khilfah in 1924), was to apply capitalism in the economy, democracy in ruling and Western laws in the administrtion and the judiciary...colonialists came up with the Arab league and the Islamic League to curb the creation of an Arab state and nationalism is the most dangerous since it divides the Islamic world instead of uniting it.

Although they are not mentioned by name, we can see the influence of the group in the world's problems, explaining the reasons why there is so much stress and violence. According to the group: the house of Saud are "historically British agents," that have become American agents since the mid-fifties; the U.S. established the state of Israel, and the Palestinian Authority should not negotiate to solve the refugees problems as the solution lies "in establishing an Islamic state and enforcing Islamic laws." The government of Sudan is "not Islamic because it does not base its internatinal relations with Islam" as it is a member of the U.N. and its institutions "abide by the agreements of 'disbelievers...(and)Islamic rules are violated in that country: women are allowed to expose themselves and Islamic sentences are not carried out in southern districts."

And how can democracy succeed in Iraq or anywhere in the Muslim if the group agitates the Muslim world to believe that: Democracy is a "system of unbelievers," the writers and intellectuals of the "modern Islamic revival" are "intellectual defilement?" and participation in non-Islamic regimes is a form of shirk(association of partners with God, the worst sins in Islam.)

What about the United States. Without naming Hizb ut-Tahrir as its adversary, the U.S. seems to be struggling againts the "emerging threat against its interests in Central and South Asia and the Middle East." It is amazing that little has been said of this group, but this description tells us why:

...Hizb ut-Tahrir's spread around the globe over the last five decades, in Western Europe and often in authoritarian states with strong secret police organizations, is an impressive feat of beating security. It could only be accomplished by melding 20th century totalitarian political "technology" with Islamic notions of the 7th and 8th centuries, as interpreted by medieval Islamic scholars. Only a cell commander knows the next level of leadership, ensuring operational security. "Representatives" in Great Britain and Pakistan claim to speak for the organization, but have no official address or legal office. Its leadership for large regions (e.g., the former Soviet Union), countries, and local areas is kept secret. The genius of Hizb founder Tariquddin an-Nabhani was marrying Orthodox Islamist ideology to Leninist strategy and tactics.


How are we to counter this growing menace? The following policies are listed: (1) Expand intelligence collection. (2) "Condition security assistance by the Pentagon "on the adoption of free market policies, strengthening property rights and the rule of law, encouraging transparency, and fighting corruption." (3) The encouragement of democracy and popular particiption. (4) Expand cooperation with moderate and secular governments in the Muslim world to "discredit radicals and encourage moderates, encourag(ing) local governments to not only "crack down on radical Islam (as they already do), but to encourage alternatives."

The United States has important national security interests at stake in Central Asia, Indonesia and Pakistan, including access to the military bases used to support operations in Afghanistan, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and technologies for their production, and securing access to natural resources, including oil and gas. A Hizb takeover of any key state could provide the global radical Islamist movement with a geographic base and access to the expertise and technology to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. and its allies will do everything possible to avoid such an outcome.


The goals of the U.S. is clear and so are those of Hizb ut-Tahrir : to fight a jihad against the U.S., its allies, and moderate Muslim states. To do this

...When a critical mass of cells is achieved, according to its doctrine, Hizb may move to take over a country in preparation for the establishment of the Caliphate. Such a takeover would likely be bloody and violent. Moreover, its strategy and tactics show that, while the party is currently circumspect in preaching violence, it will justify its use--just as Lenin and the Bolsheviks did--when a critical mass is achieved.[17] Hizb's platform and actions fit in with "Islamist globalization"--an alternative mode of globalization based on radical Islam. This ideology poses a direct challenge to the Western model of a secular, market-driven, tolerant, multicultural globalization.[18]

Where radicalization has taken hold in the Islamic world, Hizb has gained new supporters in droves. It operates clandestinely in over 40 countries around the world, with members organized in cells of five to eight members each. Only a cell commander knows the next level of leadership, ensuring operational security. "Representatives" in Great Britain and Pakistan claim to speak for the organization but have no official address or legal office. Leadership for large regions (e.g., the former Soviet Union), countries, and local areas is kept secret.

Hizb's primary characteristics include the fiery rhetoric of jihad, secret cells and operations, murky funding sources, rejection of existing political regimes, rapid transnational growth, and outlook and goals that are shared with al-Qaeda and other organizations of the global jihadi movement.


How can we interpret the sudden public appearance in Britain of a group that was determined to remain in the shadows? Has the "critical mass of cells" been achieved in Britain? Apparently Hizb feels confident to move out. Should we expect that Islamists are poised to take over in Britain? As Muslims have succeeded in muzzling their critics through anti-hate speech laws and British cities are teeming with Muslim immigrants, such a change is very possible through demograhics.

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