Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Islamic School in Illinois Cancels Caliphate Planning Conference

An Islamic school in Bridgeview, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, has canceled the scheduled Hizb ut-Tahrir America (HTA) program designed to "support the establishment of a Caliphate" in America. The event, promoted as "The Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam" was scheduled for July 19th at the Aqsa School. A "Caliphate" or "Khilafah" refers to a traditional form of Arabic government based on Islam. It denotes a single nation of Muslim believers. Hizb ut-Tahrir means "The Islamic Liberation Party." GlobalSecurity.org sees Hizb ut-Tahrir somewhat different from what you will read below from Counterrorism Blog (CTB). I think GlobalSecurity is saying that the goal of Hizb ut-Tahrir is to bring all Muslims back into an Islamic society. It plans to do this by "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...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." So, I would summarize GlobalSecurity.org as seeing Hizb ut-Tahrir as wanting to bring all Muslims back to Muslim thought without a political identity. In other words, their goal is not to convert the world, but to bring Muslims back into a strictly Islamic way of thinking and living. This contrasts (if I'm characterizing GlobalSecurity.org correctly) with Counterrorism Blog who sees HTA attempting to take over the world and see the rise of Islam and the destruction of capitalism. The video you'll see below seems to uphold this theory. You can decide for yourself. If you have thoughts about it, leave a comment. The following is from the Counterrorism Blog (CTB), via and with thanks to El Te de las Cinco: [Note that some paragraph formatting is Maggie's]

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 YouTube [or below]. The event, titled "The Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam," is scheduled for Sunday, July 19th, 2009, at the Aqsa School in Bridgeview, Illinois.
Last fall, 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-- 1) The first stage is the covert level of development in which members are recruited and trained. 2) In the second stage, members promote the party's methods and objectives publicly in order to win the support of the Muslim population. 3) The final stage is the establishment of an Islamic government and military, in order to carry HT's "message to the world."
Counterrorism Blog theorizes that HTA must be comfortable within the branch (presumably Bridgeview) to "withstand opposition." Nevertheless, something happened that Aqsa School shut-down the conference. The promotion video and HTA website does not offer a list of speakers, but CTB says prominent HT members from overseas are usually invited.

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

For more information on Hizb ut-Tahrir, please see Hizb ut-Tahrir: Islam's Political Insurgency, by Zeyno Baran. For more information on the background of Hizb ut-Tahrir America, please see my article in the Jamestown Monitor.

Why Aqsa canceled the conference is not known.
Aqsa School in Illinois Cancels Caliphate Planning Conference (Video)

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