By Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen
FrontPageMagazine.com | December 8, 2005
When the State and Treasury departments manage to cooperate with each other to halt terrorist financing, they should consider putting Hizb ut Tahrir (Islamic Liberation Party) and its splinter organization, Al-Mujahiroun, on the U.S.-designated terrorist list and freeze their assets.
Hizb ut Tahrir (HT) and Al-Mujahiroun, like al Qaeda and Hizbollah, describe the USA, the United Kingdom and Israel as “the work of the devil” and European democracy as “a farce.” The group’s goal is to establish a global caliphate and force all non-Muslim states to pay a tax or face military attacks. Its graduates join al-Qaeda, according to the director of international security and energy programs at the Nixon Centre in Washington, DC, Zeyno Baran. More ominously, HT and Al-Mujahiroun call for a jihad against the U.S, its allies, and moderate Muslim states in order to â€œfind and kill the Kufar (non-believers).” The groups, together with the Muslim Brotherhood, were reportedly behind last month’s riots in France.
HT, a global Islamist organization in the mold of al-Qaeda, was established in 1952 by Sheikh Taqi al-Din al-Nabahani in the Jordanian occupied part of Jerusalem as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It soon expanded to neighboring countries in the Middle East and has since been banned from most of them. With the growing immigration of Muslim workers to Europe, the movement established branches in Germany, the UK and France. By the 1980s, it spread to Turkey, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Australia.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it rushed to fill the spiritual gap in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and parts of Russia. Soon after, HT’s incitement to terrorism and several attempts by the group on the lives of public officials prompted Central Asian governments and Russia to ban the organization. After 9/11, when it re-invigorated its campaign in Europe and metastasized into Scandinavia, it was outlawed in Germany and Sweden.
After the July bombings in London, the British government announced that it will ban the HT. However, it has yet to follow through. The reason is that the British mistakenly believe that by barring HT’s leader, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammad, from returning to the U.K., they have solved the problem.
Not even the strong and public warnings from Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf last August have moved Britain to act. In a meeting with the British Premier, Musharraf admonished Blair, saying, “There is Hizb Ur-Tahrir and al-Muhajiroun, who operate with full impunity in that [England] area.” Emphasizing the violent nature of the group, Musharraf stated, “They had the audacity of passing an edict against my life and yet they operate with impunity.”
Hizb ut Tahrir is usually described as a political party, and that suits its members because it enables them to operate just like the Palestinian group HAMAS, using the political facade to hide their terrorism, which is alleged to be carried out by its splinter organization, the al-Muhajiroun, which was established in 1995. In the most recent news, on November 25, three members of HT were sent to prison by Russian prosecutors for possessing grenades and propaganda calling “for the creation of the universal Islamic caliphate” and the destruction of non-Islamic governments.
At the same time that riots shook France, Arhus, the second largest city in Denmark, had its own share of rioting Muslims. Violent demonstrations followed the publication of a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands Posten.
Denmark has in the last few years become a host country for various Muslim radical groups, the most prominent of which is Hizb ut-Tahir. International experts have mentioned Hizb ut-Tahir and Al-Mujahiroun in connection with the recruitment of fighters for the Taliban, as well as membership in the al-Qaeda terrorist networks. Omar Bakri Mohammad, the leader of Al-Mujahiroun, who preached in London, also threatened to overthrow the Danish government, as was reported by the Copenhagen Post, on August 9, 2002.
Denmark is the home of 180,000 Muslims who constitute approximately 3 percent of its 5.4 million citizens. Most of these Muslims, including the second generation, adhere to the creed propagated by HT, and refuse to assimilate into the Danish society.
The movement first started receiving media attention in Denmark a month after the terrorist attacks of September 11, when more than 1,000 members of the group marched against the US and its allies’ military actions against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. According to the Swedish Daily Svenska Dagblade, they also demonstrated against democracy, human rights, gender equality, and other Western threats to what the group considers the true way of Islam.
In 2002, Fadi Abdullatif, a Palestinian residing in Denmark who acts as Hizb ut-Tahir’s spokesperson, was convicted of spreading racist propaganda and incitement to murder Jews. The flyers he distributed quoted the Qur’an: “Kill (Jews — referred to as “monkeys” and “swine”) where you find them, oh banish them from where they banished you.” The quote was followed by â€œThis is the only way our relations to the violent Jewish criminals should be: enmity, war, insurrection, struggle and turmoil.” Similar statements appear on the HT website. Yet, Abdullatif received only a suspended jail sentence. Not surprisingly, in 2004, Fadi Abdullatif was at it again, this time distributing flyers calling Muslims to “travel to help your brothers in Falluja and exterminate your rulers if they block your way.”
On November 13, HT held an emergency meeting to challenge the anti-terror legislation that Blair championed. The meeting was attended by more than 1,000 participants, a majority of them descendents of immigrants.
The three hour long meeting was introduced with a political agenda of “how to view the war on terror from a different perspective,” with statements claiming that Western Society had amplified its oppression against the Muslims, and that there was no longer any doubt that the “war against terror” is really a “war against Islam.” The meeting eventually turned into a religious sermon preaching that only the Islamic Caliphate will provide the solution.
According to Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, director of Orient research Group in Toronto, who follows HT and other Islamist organizations, they view Denmark as an easy target for the spreading of Islam, a springboard from which to renew the Muslim occupation of Europe. As Sheikh Issam Amayra warned in a recent sermon: “Three percent of the Muslims in Denmark constitute a threat to the future of the kingdom of Denmark. …our Danish brothers will manage to bring Islam to all the homes of the Danish citizens. Allah will grant them the victory in their country in order to raise the Caliphate in Denmark. Afterwards the citizens of the Caliphate (which will be raised in Denmark) will wage war on Oslo, [and] they will fight their neighboring Scandinavian countries in order to join their lands to the territory of the Caliphate. Then they will wage a holy war and spread the teachings of Islam to the rest of Europe, until they reach the original city of Medina.”
Given the global aspirations of these groups and the Islamist nature of their agenda, the U.S. should not wait for them to take root here.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed–and How to Stop It, is director of American Center for Democracy and member of the Committee on the Present Danger and Alyssa A. Lappen is a freelance journalist who frequently contributes to FrontPageMagazine and other online journals.
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