Islamic Liberation Party (HuT1) rallies in the PA-administered
territories and around the world.
1. On August 10 and 11, 2007, the Islamic Liberation Party (Hibz ut-Tahrir in Arabic) held a series of mass rallies in Al-Bireh, Hebron , Tulkarm and Gaza City . The rallies are held annually by the HuT during the first half of August throughout the Arab-Muslim world. 2
2. The largest and most impressive rally in the PA-administered territories was held in Al-Bireh. Chartered buses brought 10,000 people from all over Judea and Samaria and even some Israeli Arabs . During the rally in Tulkarm the HuT announced that it was beginning a youth movement in Judea and Samaria called Ashbal al- Khilafah ("Lion Cubs of the Caliphate”) 3. According to the media, the HuT also held a book fair (possibly also in Al-Bireh) at which the party's ideological material was distributed.
3. The slogan of the rally in Al-Bireh on August 10 was " The Caliphate is the rising force .” Telephone speeches given by party leaders in several countries (including Turkey and Pakistan ) were relayed by loudspeaker. A recorded speech was also broadcast, given by Ata' Khalil Abu al-Rushtah , the party's leader ("Amir”), currently in Lebanon after having been released from a Jordanian prison. Abu al-Rashta is Jordanian but his family came from Hebron . In 2003, when party leader Abd al-Kadim Zallum died, Abu al-Rashta replaced him. Zallum was also from Hebron and was one of the party's founders.
Pictures from the rallies in the PA-administered territories. The sign at the lower right reads "The Caliphate...one nation...one state...one ruler...” (From www.hizb-ut-tahrir.org ).
4. The speakers at the rally in Al-Bireh related to the liberation of " Palestine ,” but noted that "the liberation of the lands of Palestine from the hands of the occupiers” would be realized only when the Islamic Caliphate had been restored . Party leader Abu al-Rushtah noted the importance of restoring the Caliphate, which he claimed had been destroyed by the West (in effect it was dissolved by Ataturk). Yilmaz Čelik , the party spokesman in Turkey , called for "...the liberation of the Muslim land from the infidel imperialist forces of the Americans, British, French, Russian, Indian and Chinese who have occupied Muslim lands.” Nafiz Butt, the party spokesman in Pakistan , called the establishment of an Islamic state the path to victory for Muslims and Palestinians (Ma'an News Agency, August 11).
Yilmaz Čelik, whose speech was broadcast at the Al-Bireh rally,
was arrested by the Turkish authorities in September 2005
following a demonstrating he organized in Istanbul . 4
5. Yahya Ayyash headed the operative-terrorist wing of Hamas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He specialized in the preparation of explosive charges and dispatching suicide bombers in the years 1994-1996, with the clear purpose of undermining the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993. He was codenamed "The Engineer” since he had a degree in Electric Engineering from Bir Zeit University , and used the knowledge he gained during his studies to manufacture the explosive charges used by the suicide bombers. Yahya Ayyash was responsible for killing some 55 Israeli civilians and injuring some 430 in a series of particularly devastating terrorist attacks that struck the cities of Israel . He died in a retaliatory targeted killing by the Israeli security forces on January 5, 1996.
Portrait of the Islamic Liberation Party (HuT)
6. The HuT is a radical Islamic political movement, founded in Jordan in East Jerusalem in 1952 and officially established in 1953 without formal legal Jordanian authorization. Its founder was Taki al-Din al-Nabhani , a judge in the Shari' court in Jerusalem , who was born in the village of Ijzim , which is today Kerem Maharal (on the western slopes of the Carmel mountain range).
7. The party's objective was to restore the Islamic Caliphate dissolved by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk in 1924 and to impose the dictates of Islamic law (the Shariah) on its populace. That was to be done by indoctrinating them with its worldview in preparation for revolutions against secular Islamic regimes. That would be done either by enlisting the elite (such as army officers) or by assassinating the regimes' leaders, which is why the party has been persecuted by most of the regimes in the Arab-Muslim world.
8. The HuT is in favor of "the liberation of Palestine ,” that is, the destruction of Israel through jihad, and firmly opposes a political settlement with Israel . However, according to its ideology, that is not the duty of an individual or of a Muslim government, but only of the Islamic Caliphate when it is restored . Therefore, as an organization the party is not involved in the terrorist activities of the Palestinian terrorist organizations or of the global jihad (although in the past it has expressed sympathy for the attacks carried out by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad). It tries to realize its world view by long-term preaching (the da'wah ) to the Palestinian population in the PA-administered territories and among Islamic communities around the world, alongside its political and welfare activities , whose objective is to bring it popular support.
9. When the party was established it was persecuted by the Jordanian government, which kept it from operating. From Jordan it spread to most of the Arab and North African countries, to Turkey and Iran . It also spread to the Muslim countries in Southeast and Central Asia ( Indonesia , Bangladesh and Uzbekistan 5), Muslim communities in Europe (particularly in Britain and Germany ) and in North America, 6Australia and Japan . According to the data available, the party has representatives in no less than 45 countries around the globe.7
The annual HuT convention of the Sudan branch (picture from the HuT's main Website)
A mass rally held in Jakarta , Indonesia (picture from Al-Jazeera TV posted on YouTube)
The rally held in Indonesia attended by 100,000 people (picture from HuT Website www.khilafah.com ).
The HuT Website's home page, www.hizb-ut-tahrir.org . It appears in Arabic, Turkish, Russian, English, German, Urdu and appeals to all the Muslims in the world. The English version has press releases from party spokesmen in Sudan , Indonesia and Pakistan .
10. In the Western countries, the activities of the HuT are noteworthy in Britain and the United States :
1) Britain : Since the beginning of the 1990s the party has been very active in the British Muslim community, especially in the universities . 8 It was headed by a Muslim cleric named Omar Bakri Muhammad , who left the HuT in 1996, founded a radical Islamic organization named Al-Muhajirun ("the emigrants”), expressed support for Al-Qaeda and was forced to leave Britain for Lebanon . 9 In recent years there has been a marked increase in the party's activities in Britain , and in a number of instances it has operated openly (the British branch of the party has a Website which disseminates its ideology and political announcements).
The British party's home page. The site is technically advanced
and is often updated, including video clips.
2) The United States : Most of the founders of the American branch emigrated to America in the 1980s. The younger generation makes extensive use of the Internet and markets the party's ideology through consumer products bearing Islamic propaganda and through blogs and Internet forums. 10
The use of consumer products to market the Islamic Liberation Party's ideology
The www.khalifahklothing.com home page.
Various products can be ordered online by United States residents.
From the Website: shirts and hats inscribed with Islamic messages, including "jihad” and the number to call in the United States .
Items which can be ordered: mugs ($14.99) and baby bibs ($8.99) inscribed "jihad.”
An analysis of the potential threat posed by the HuT
11. Although the HuT does not have a terrorist operative wing and is not, as a party, involved in terrorist acts, it is potentially dangerous . Its radical Islamic ideology, its implacable hostility to the State of Israel, the West and Arab regimes, and its intensive da'wah preaching activities are liable to motivate individuals becoming ideologically extreme to turn to violence and terrorism. In addition, it is widely deployed throughout the PA-administered territories, Middle Eastern countries and the Muslim communities abroad (including in Western countires). That makes it potentially convenient for HuT activists to be recruited and handled by terrorist organizations and dispatched on terrorist missions for both the Palestinian terrorist organizations and global jihad elements whose ideologies are close to the party's.
12. For example, there were a number of instances in Britain in which Islamic activists underwent a process ideological radicalization during their participation in HuT and similar party meetings, and were afterwards involved in terrorist activities which were unrelated to the HuT. British newspapers have recently published reports based on statements made by a former member of the HuT, according to which one of the terrorist operatives who carried out the terrorist attack at the Glasgow airport at the end of June 2007 was a member of an HuT cell in Cambridge University ( Sunday Times , July 8, 2007; New Statesman , July 16, 2007).
Islamic Liberation Party activities in Judea and Samaria
13. There are overtly and covertly active radical Islamic movements and organizations which operate in the PA-administered territories. Two of them, Hamas and the PIJ, are clearly Palestinian-Islamic in character (although their leadership is geographically outside the PA) and they favor violence and terrorism ( muqawamah ) as the means to achieve their goals. Other organizations (such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Liberation Party) are branches of radical Islamic organizations which are globally deployed throughout the Arab world and in Muslim communities abroad, and whose leadership is outside the PA-administered territories . They focus their activities on ideology and the political struggle against their opponents without establishing terrorist-military wings and do not promote their world view by military-terrorist means.
14. Before the Six Day War the HuT was active in Judea and Samaria as an opposition force to the Jordanian regime. Between 1967 and 1977 it severely curtailed its party activities, fearing Israel would take steps against it. In the early 1990s it gradually renewed its activities, and more so after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, which it strongly opposes.
15. With the rise of Islamic extremism in Palestinian society during the current violent confrontation with Israel (the second intifada), there was a renascence of activity among radical Islamic organizations, including the HuT. Another increase in the HuT's activity occurred after Hamas' rise to power (2006-2007), in our assessment because some of the radical Islamic Palestinian populace was disappointed with the Hamas government .
16. The HuT has focal points of support in the Jerusalem-Ramallah-Hebron region . There is a particularly hard core of activists in Jerusalem who regularly pray in the mosques on the Temple Mount . They have been involved in violent events during visits of Muslim rulers or Christians to the Temple Mount , including the July 1999 visit of the Turkish president, the March 2000 visit of the Pope, the December 2003 visit of Ahmad Maher, the Egyptian foreign minister, and the May 2005 visit of American First Lady Laura Bush.
17. Unlike its previous clandestine activities, in recent years the HuT has often been in the public eye , especially in its power centers of Jerusalem , Ramallah and Hebron . Breaking with the past, it has now begun to involve itself publicly in welfare issues aimed to broaden its power base within Palestinian society . The following are some examples of its activities during the past two years (in addition to the recent mass rallies):
1) Jerusalem-Ramallah : On July 18, 2007 the HuT distributed a flyer harshly critical of the violent confrontations between Fatah and Hamas; on July 15 the party held a large rally at the mosque in Al-‘Eizariya in East Jerusalem; on October 25, 2006 HuT student activists held a rally at Beir Zeit University to condemn the anti-Muhammad cartoons printed in Denmark and the harm being done by the Americans to the Iraqi people; in August 2006 the party held a rally in Al-Bireh attended by 3,000 people (among whom were activists from Hebron and Nablus, and Israeli Arabs).
2) The Hebron region : In May 2007 the HuT led a campaign against the establishment of a new missionary school in Hebron; on August 26, 2006, it held a mass rally (attended by 15,000 people) to mark the anniversary of the fall of the last Caliph; party activists called upon the populace to boycott the local municipal elections in the Palestinian Authority (2004-2005) and the Palestinian presidential elections (January 2006), claiming they had no Islamic legitimacy; on January 28, 2006, the party led a demonstration against the damage done to the prophet Muhammad by the cartoons which appeared in Denmark; in November 2005, 450 HuT activists took over the Hebron city hall as part of a difficult but successful struggle to lower electricity rates.
The rivalry between the HuT and Hamas
18. It is noteworthy that there are serious ideological disagreements between Hamas and the Islamic Liberation Party. While Hamas is in favor of the establishment of an Islamic state in " Palestine ,” the HuT firmly adheres to the idea of establishing an Islamic Caliphate not based on territory or nationality, which would embrace the entire Islamic world. While Hamas regards the use of terrorism ("resistance”) as the main tool to advance its goals, the HuT is in favor of preaching and fostering an ideological elite which would enable it to take rule by force with the aid of key elements in the administration (and thus avoid establishing a military wing and using terrorism).
19. In recent years, HuT activists have tried to represent themselves as an ideological and political alternative to Hamas while continuing their hostility to the Palestinian Authority . In January 2006 They conducted a struggle for the boycott of the Palestinian Legislative Council elections (with little real success). On January 17, 2006, HuT activists tried to attack Salam Fayyad during a visit he paid to Qalqilia during the election campaign. After the Hamas victory in the elections and the establishment of the Hamas governments, HuT activists held gatherings in the mosques in Hebron , Nablus and Ramallah to preach their position and to call upon Hamas to give up the government, bringing down the wrath of Hamas upon themselves.