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Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation)

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) is a transnational Islamic religious-political organization which has presence over 20 countries across the world. Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami seeks 'implementation of pure Islamic doctrine' and the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia. The group's aim is to resume the Islamic way of life and to convey the Islamic da'wah to the world. The ultimate goal of this secretive sectarian group is to unite the entire ummah, or Islamic world community, into a single caliphate. The aim is to bring the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life in 'Dar al-Islam' [the land where the rules of Islam are being implemented, as opposed to the non-Islamic world] and in an Islamic society such that all life's affairs in society are administered according to the Shariah rules.

The group claims to be a political party that proceeds with nonviolent means and whose ideology is Islam. Its objectives are strictly political, and its main goal is to topple an existing regime to resurrect the caliphate with structures and conditions similar to the ones of early 7th century Islam. The proposed Islamic state will be responsible for transforming society in a united Ummah, and for spreading the word of Islam throughout the world. Hizb ut-Tahrir rejects modern, secular state structures and democracy as things that are 'man-made, humanly derived, and un-Islamic,' and, therefore, it does not participate in any secular electoral processes. However, Hizb ut- Tahrir does not reject modern technology and its advantages.

Its basic aim was struggle with infidels and the organization of a universal caliphate embracing all Islamic countries. This objective means bringing the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life in Dar al-Islam and in an Islamic society such that all of life's affairs in society are administered according to the Shari'ah rules, and the viewpoint in it is the halal and the haram under the shade of the Islamic State, which is the Khilafah State. That state is the one in which Muslims appoint a Khaleefah and give him the bay'ah to listen and obey on condition that he rules according to the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and on condition that he conveys Islam as a message to the world through da'wah and jihad.

The work of Hizb ut-Tahrir is to carry the Islamic da'wah in order to change the situation of the corrupt society so that it is transformed into an Islamic society. It aims to do this by firstly changing the society's existing thoughts to Islamic thoughts so that such thoughts become the public opinion among the people, who are then driven to implement and act upon them. The political struggle is manifested in the struggle against the disbelieving imperialists, to deliver the Ummah from their domination and to liberate her from their influence by uprooting their intellectual, cultural, political, economic and military roots from all of the Muslim countries. The political struggle also appears in challenging the rulers, revealing their treasons and conspiracies against the Ummah, and by taking them to task and changing them if they denied the rights of the Ummah, or refrained from performing their duties towards her, or ignored any matter of her affairs, or violated the laws of Islam.

The group - also known as the Islamic Party of Liberation - believes it can achieve its utopian Islamic state in three steps. The first involves educating Muslims about its philosophies and goals. In the second step, the Muslims would then spread these views among others in their countries, especially members of government, the military and other power centers. In the third and final step, Hizb ut-Tahrir believes its faithful will cause secular governments to crumble because loyalties will then lie solely with Islam - not nationalities, politics or ethnic identifications. At that point the group says a supreme Islamic leader, a Caliph like those of past centuries would rule all Muslims with both political and religious authority.

It was founded in Jerusalem in 1953 by an appeals court judge, Taqiuddin al Nabhani. The Hizb began and started to carry the da'wah within some of the Arab countries. The group first appeared in the 1950s in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It then proceeded to expand the delivery of the da'wah naturally until it began to function in many Arab countries and also in non-Arab Muslim countries as well. The rulers in Iraq, Syria, Libya and others have killed dozens of its members. The prisons of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are full of its members.

There is little information on the number of its members. It is active all over the world. Hizb ut-Tahrir now has its main base in Western Europe, but it has large followings in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, as well as in China's traditionally Muslim Xinjiang Province. Most of its members are believed to be ethnic Uzbeks. Its expansion into Central Asia coincided with the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. By one estimate there are more than 10,000 followers in Central Asia. Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami has been active in Central Asia since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Unlike similar Islamic groups, the radical Sunni Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir recruited new members irrespective of differences among the various tendencies within Islam. Unlike more traditional Islamic parties, it is supranational and refuses to be involved in local politics. Therefore, it is impossible for regional leaders to co-opt the group, as happened with the former Islamic opposition in Tajikistan. Hizb ut-Tahrir is not a political party in the sense that it does not want to participate in national politics. It does not want to go for elections. It does not want to be part of any coalition government.

The group has never been overtly involved in any violent actions, and Hizb ut-Tahrir has long claimed it wants to achieve its objectives through nonviolent means. It has so far not been involved in any known terrorist activities. One of the most secretive fundamentalist Islamic organizations, it remains a radical organization. Hizb ut-Tahrir is not against violence as such. It is just against the use of violence now. But they still think jihad [holy war] is a positive concept.

The United States Government is continuing to monitor Hizb ut-Tahrir. Despite the statements of governments of the region, the United States has found no clear ties between Hizb ut-Tahrir and terrorist activity. Hizb ut -Tahrir has not been proven to have involvement in or direct links to any recent acts of violence or terrroism. Nor has it been proven to give financial support to other groups engaged in terrorism. Because of that, it falls outside the definitions used by the United States and others to designate a terrorist group.

In 1999, the group was blamed for a series of bomb attacks in the Uzbekistan capital, Tashkent. It is believed by some to clandestinely fund and provide logistical support to a wide range of terrorist operations in Central Asia, and elsewhere, although attacks may be carried out in the names of local groups.

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 Hizb ut-Tahrir of links with separatist fighters and alleged Arab mercenaries combating Russian troops in the breakaway republic of Chechnya. It claims the group was recently joined by members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a radical Central Asian-based Islamic organization. The IMU is linked to the Taliban religious militia and was also routed during the US-led military campaign in Afghanistan.

In February 2003, the Russian Supreme Court put Hizb ut-Tahrir and 14 other groups on a list of banned terrorist organizations. A month before, Hizb ut-Tahrir was outlawed in Germany on charges of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli propaganda.

In June 2003 Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested 121 illegal immigrants suspected of having ties with Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami. The arrests -- the largest swoop yet on the organization within the CIS -- were conducted on 6 June 2003 at a Moscow research plant where the suspects were reportedly hiding from police and immigration authorities. Among the the detainees were Alisher Musayev of Kyrgyzstan and Akram Jalolov of Tajikistan, whom the FSB suspects of being the leaders of the dismantled cell. Moscow media reports said hand grenades, explosives, and ammunition were found on both men, as well as Islamic propaganda leaflets. The FSB said the arrests had only uncovered the tip of the iceberg and claimed Hizb ut-Tahrir has a network of cells covering all of Russia. Most of the detainees were Central Asians, although there were some Slavs and Arabs among them.

Kyrgyzstan designated Hizb-ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organization in 2003, although the groups philosophy professes nonviolence and its members committed no violent acts. It also arrested several individuals charged with recruiting citizens to fight with ISIL.

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Page last modified: 24-04-2017 16:05:34 ZULU