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#58507 - 12 Aug 07 20:28 Islamists urge caliphate revival
Magpie Offline

Registered: 29 Mar 06
Posts: 1306
Loc: The Toon
Some 100,000 Islamists have met in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to press for the re-establishment of a caliphate across the Muslim world.
The Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir - which organised the conference - said it had been the largest gathering of Muslim activists from around the world.

However, the group is illegal in many countries and key speakers have been stopped from entering Indonesia.

A caliphate - or single state for Muslims - last existed in 1924.

Hizb ut-Tahrir regards this as the ideal form of government, because it follows what it believes are the laws of God as set out in the Koran, rather than laws designed by man.

The group says it seeks to set up a caliphate by non-violent means - but many experts see it as ideologically close to jihadist groups.

It is banned in most of the Middle East and parts of Europe.

The BBC's Lucy Williamson in Jakarta says that of the estimated 100,000 people packing the stadium hired for the event, the overwhelming majority were women, who have travelled from across Indonesia to attend.
If the audience turnout was impressive, not so the speakers lined up to address the crowd, our correspondent adds.

One by one, over the past few days, seven of the delegates invited to speak have dropped out.


Controversial Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir was asked to stay away on security grounds, while three national leaders cancelled at the last minute.

The Palestinian delegate was unable to leave the Palestinian Territories, and representatives from Britain and Australia landed in Jakarta on Friday but were refused permission to enter the country.

Hizb ut-Tahrir's spokesman in Indonesia said he was disappointed about these problems and said that the Indonesian authorities had not told the group why its speakers had been barred.

Hizb ut-Tahrir - or Liberation Party - was founded in Jerusalem in the 1950s by Palestinian religious scholar Taqiuddin an-Nabhani.

Today it has a mainly clandestine following in the Middle East, a large presence in Central Asia - where hundreds of its members have been jailed - and active supporters in the West, including London, which is believed to be one of its main bases.

Many experts see it as ideologically close to jihadist groups, and suspect its commitment to peaceful means is purely tactical.

Founded in the 1950s by Palestinian jurist Taqiuddin an-Nabhani
Active across the Middle East, central and south-east Asia and, increasingly, Europe
Seeks a caliphate, or single state, across the Muslim world
Banned in most Middle-Eastern countries
"People say funny things......."

Peter Kay

#58509 - 12 Aug 07 20:34 Re: Islamists urge caliphate revival [Re: Magpie]
Magpie Offline

Registered: 29 Mar 06
Posts: 1306
Loc: The Toon
Named as a danger to young minds, but never banned in the UK - what is the message of Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir?
This coming weekend the global "political party" which campaigns for a single Islamic state across the Muslim world says it will be holding one of its largest-ever conferences in Indonesia.

But as a warm-up, some 2,000 British Muslims arrived at London's Alexandra Palace to hear the message from the party's British wing.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) has been accused of being a critical player in a so-called "conveyor belt" towards terrorism - that its ideas are part of the problem.

Critics say young men, particularly students, are radicalised in private study circles to believe that being Muslim and British are incompatible because the party says Western democracy goes against a God-given set of rules.

It's this idea that critics say provides the intellectual foundations upon which violent jihadism has grown.

Legal organisation

Hizb ut-Tahrir, which translates as Liberation Party, rejects these criticisms. The party's texts, it says, show that the proposed Islamic model of government would protect religious minorities, liberate women and enshrine justice in decision-making.

Crucially, it is a legal organisation. In the wake of the 7 July suicide bombings, former Prime Minister Tony Blair named HT as one of the organisations he would ban. The Home Office concluded after two reviews that there was insufficient evidence to ban the organisation.

Back at the conference, speakers were not however sending a polite thank you note to the Home Secretary.

Speech after speech from the platform accused Western powers of subjugating Islamic lands. In an opening address, one of the party's leading figures Taji Mustafa delivered a punchy message to the hall.

"The Muslim world wants to live by Islam, but here in the West, in London, in Washington, policy-makers, some of the journalists, are saying no the Muslim world cannot have that change. They are attacking in their speeches the call for Khilafah [single Islamic state] in the Muslim world," he said.

"We need to stand up as a vocal voice for Khilafah and expose the lies - they don't want the Khalifah to come because it will end the era of Western government interference and exploitation of the Islamic world."

Outside the conference hall, HT workers had laid out stalls of books, pamphlets and other merchandise.

Each in turn detailed the party message, often in dense prose in weighty political-science tomes. One offered a solution to Iraq; another talked about women and a Western "beauty myth"; others talked about obligations on Muslims in the West - but told them not to participate in the political system.

If the books were too much like hard work, attendees could always go for the T-shirts. "Islam the ideology alternative and solution to capitalist exploitation and hegemony," said one.


One young man from the East End of London, Asim, was wearing a t-shirt declaring he was "proud to be Muslim".

Asim said he was not a party member, but enjoyed HT talks, including small private study circles in the Ilford area. Asim also said he wanted a meeting of minds between Muslims and the rest of society. So what did he think of HT's call on Muslims not to vote?

"I think I should vote, at the end of the day it's a human right," he said. "Everyone should take part in what is going on [in society]. If you vote, you know what's going on - you take part."

At this point, two party stewards intervened. One tried to take Asim and his friends away and placed his hand over the microphone, saying that the questions were too probing and that I was using trick questions.

Another older man, who was not wearing a steward's armband, spoke to Asim and his friends and they left without completing the interview.

Open party?

HT's critics say that openness is not its greatest attribute - although party spokesman Imran Waheed later apologised for the steward's intervention and said he had told staff to allow journalists to go about their business.

But on the other hand, the party won't say how many members it has - it doesn't even talk about how many study circles it runs. One informed estimate shown to the BBC puts the figures at 250 core members and 5,000 active sympathisers.

Imran Waheed said membership figures were irrelevant.

"We have the support of tens of thousands of Muslims across the country," he said. "Membership in itself is not the issue - the issue is: how strong is the message."

Doesn't this leave a whiff of something to hide?

"HT is an open political party, it works openly, it's hardly clandestine," he replied.

Broad appeal

HT has been pouring resources into developing its women's wing - and in one speech Dr Nazreen Nawaz told women in the audience that their Muslim sisters were subjugated, downtrodden and abused.

"Those women stripped of their honour in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir and Chechnya, you are their voices," she told the audience. "For those women who cradle the lifeless bodies of their newborn babies in their arms at Israeli checkpoints, you are their voices."

Hizb ut-Tahrir does not seek votes - but it seeks hearts and minds for this global Islamic brotherhood, or Ummah. And Dr Nawaz's speech was one of many seeking to make the Ummah as an important, in political terms, as bread-and-butter issues such as health and education.

Neela, a London-born woman now living in Rochdale, was one of those who sympathised.

"What you will find with Muslims is that we have a global identity, we share the same relief. It's not about me being a Muslim in Britain and she's a Muslim in Palestine, she is still my sister. When I see Iraq happening, I feel sad."

"There is no one taking account of British and American foreign policy for what it is actually doing to Muslim lands.

"When we look at the solution of the caliphate, we're saying enough is enough, Muslims in the Muslim world should be allowed to choose their own political destiny. If it's Sharia law, that's their right."
"People say funny things......."

Peter Kay

#58510 - 12 Aug 07 20:35 Re: Islamists urge caliphate revival [Re: Magpie]
Magpie Offline

Registered: 29 Mar 06
Posts: 1306
Loc: The Toon
Q&A: Hizb ut-Tahrir
Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir is holding a major international conference in Indonesia. But what are its views and why do some people view it with suspicion?
What is Hizb ut-Tahrir?

Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) which translates as the "party of liberation" is a radical political organisation which has members in the Muslim world and in countries with significant Muslims population. It was formed half a century ago in Jerusalem by an Islamic jurist, Taqiuddin an-Nabhani.

Typically, members meet in small private study circles but in open societies such as the UK it also organises rallies and conferences and engages with the media.

What does it believe?

In short, HT wants to establish an Islamic state across the Middle East - something known as a "Caliphate, or Khilafah in Arabic. The organisation regards the Caliphate as the ideal form of government which emerged from Islam 1,400 years ago because it is government according to the laws of God, as set out in the Koran, rather than by laws designed by man.

The organisation believes that the system practised by the Prophet Mohammad during the first years of Islam is applicable to all of the Muslim "umma" in Muslim lands. HT regards Islam as an entire system for life - in other words there should be no separation between religion and politics.

Where is it most active?

It's difficult to know how many members an international organisation like HT has as it does not reveal the numbers.

But it is active across the Middle East, central and south-east Asia and, increasingly, Europe. It has been most active in central Asia and is banned in many of those countries. Members face persecution, jail or worse - although the same treatment is often meted out to members of other political movements in these countries.

In the UK its support is thought to be the strongest among non-Muslim countries as the organisation is well organised on university campuses. A conference in August 2007 attracted some 2,000 people, although not all of these were actual members. Indonesia is the site for its annual global conference in 2007 with a large stadium hired for the event.

Where does it stand on democracy?

It totally opposes it, saying that participating in a Western-style democracy is incompatible with the goal of establishing an Islamic state because it means voting for parties that do not subscribe to God's law. It does say, however, that such an Islamic state would include provisions for voting in an Islamic context.

So has it got a violent agenda?

HT says that it does not advocate violence and is not a "conveyor belt" towards terrorism. Many experts agree that it is a purely ideological movement focused on its intellectual messages.

UK former Prime Minister Tony Blair said he would ban HT - but after two official reviews no action was taken.

If there is no evidence of violence, what exactly is the complaint?

HT's worldview is shared by other Islamist organisations, some of whom believe that violence is an answer. In the UK, critics - including a former member who wrote a book about his experiences - argue that it plays a part in radicalising young men to believe that they cannot be simultaneously British and Muslim.

Some of these young men, argue critics, will ultimately find a violent path and take it - hence the "conveyor belt" accusation. Germany banned the organisation after naming it as a radical Islamist movement with anti-Semitic views.

So is it anti-Semitic?

Again, HT insists not. However, its views on Israel are considered by opponents to be offensive. It says that Israel was formed by taking other people's land by force.

Therefore, HT says that Islam is "in conflict with Israelis - not in their capacity as Jews who historically lived alongside Muslims in peace and security for centuries - but in their capacity as occupiers and aggressors."

The World Jewish Congress has accused HT of aggressively propagating anti-Semitic ideas, saying that it trades language, insults and accusations against Jews seen in other Islamist literature.
"People say funny things......."

Peter Kay

#58511 - 12 Aug 07 20:35 Re: Islamists urge caliphate revival [Re: Magpie]
Magpie Offline

Registered: 29 Mar 06
Posts: 1306
Loc: The Toon
"People say funny things......."

Peter Kay


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