A disturbing new report by the Centre for Social Cohesion, a British think tank, makes a strong case that Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) is not the "peaceful" Islamist group it purports to be.
In a study published Monday, the center - quoting extensively from the statements and writings of HT leaders and party organs – shows that the group actually advocates hijacking planes and other forms of jihadist violence in order to annex all Muslim-majority nations and colonize non-Muslim-majority ones.
Representatives of HT, which seeks to establish a global Islamic state (a Caliphate), have long claimed that they oppose violence. When Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005 proposed banning Hizb ut-Tahrir, the organization issued an "open letter" to Britain's home secretary which stated:
"Hizb ut-Tahrir is a non-violent political organisation that was established in 1953 by Palestinian Judge Sheikh Taqiudddin an-Nabhani. From its inception it has stated that its objective is to establish an Islamic Caliphate State in the Muslim world through peaceful political means as exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad."
The letter added that for 50 years Hizb ut-Tahrir has sought to achieve its goals "through organizing political actions such as protests, demonstrations, petitions, vigils, leaflets and magazines." Faced with these protestations of nonviolence and a strongly negative reaction from civil libertarians in Britain (and elsewhere in the European Union), Blair dropped his effort to ban HT.
The group has had a small presence in the United States for years, and tried to heighten its profile last summer with an open meeting outside Chicago.
Today, the British Conservative Party is urging that the group be banned. While reasonable people may disagree as to whether banning is the best way to deal radical Islamist organizations, there is no question that Hizb ut-Tahrir has a violent, totalitarian ideology, say study's authors – Centre for Social Cohesion researchers Houriya Ahmed and Hannah Stuart.
Ahmed and Stuart produce some chilling quotes to make their case against HT. "The fierce struggle, between the Muslims and the Kuffar, [non believers] has been intense since the dawn of Islam," the group has said. "It will continue in this way –a bloody struggle alongside the intellectual struggle-until the Hour comes and Allah inherits the Earth."
The authors go on to show how HT ideologues legitimize: the concept of offensive jihad to spread Islam; the killing of civilians in countries that fail to accept Islamic rule; the killing of Israeli Jews; and the hijacking of planes.
"Historically, HT is no different [from] al Qaeda," Ahmed contends. "It is a dangerous and divisive organization that aims to implement a totalitarian dictatorship that will use violence to spread its rule."