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Hizb ut-Tahrir: “What is required is actual war”

This is a guest post by Raziq, a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir

Hizb ut-Tahrir claims to be a non-violent political party. Its members publicly state this, however critics are not convinced. In this article I look at some of its literature and its stance on the use of violence. All quotes appear in their correct contexts and all references used in this article can be supplied upon request.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) is a political party established by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani in 1952. Being a former Ba’athist, Nabhani incorporated the organizational principles of Marxism-Leninism into the structure of his new party. The central aim of HT is to unite all Muslim-majority countries into a super-expansionist Islamist state. This is to be done by seizing power in a Muslim-majority country through infiltration of the army and then initiating a military coup, a war by proxy. Once the state is established it will invite other Muslim-majority countries to join, but if they refuse then a war (jihad) will be declared against them and they will be taken over by force. Failed coup attempts by HT in the 1960s led to the loss of much support and membership and today it is banned or viewed with suspicion in all Muslim-majority countries.

So what exactly are its views on the use of violence and is HT dangerous?

Violence and Anti-Semitism
I will begin with a statement issued by Ata Abu Rishta as the official spokesperson of HT (and now its global leader) in Jordan in May 1994, a few weeks before the Cairo Agreement:

“There can be no peaceful relations with the Jews: this is prohibited by Islamic Law. It is also prohibited to settle for only part of Palestine. There can be neither negotiations, co-existence nor normalization of relations with the Jews in Palestine. None of the Jews in Palestine who arrived after the destruction of the Ottoman Empire have the right to remain there. The Islamic legal rule requires that those of whom are capable of fighting be killed until none survive. Any others should be forced to leave. Individual Jews who lived in Palestine (as part of a dhimma community) before the end of the (Ottoman) empire and are not guilty of any violent act against the Muslims can be allowed to stay… however, it is anticipated that none belong in this category. It is impossible to solve the problem of Palestine by peaceful means: what is required is actual war, in the form of Jihad.” (A Fundamental Quest’ Hizb al-Tahrir and the search for the Islamic Caliphate, page 162, Suha Taji-Farouki Grey Seal London)

This is a pretty shocking statement from a supposedly non-violent party. It isn’t just calling for the killing of Zionists- but all Jews in Israel who moved there after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. HT believes that the Israel/Palestine conflict will never be resolved using peaceful means; the only solution is an aggressive war (jihad). According to HT it is also an obligation for Muslims to fight and abolish the state of Israel:

“Fighting and exterminating Israel is an obligation even if the Muslims fighting are Arab armies loyal to regimes of unbelief, like the Egyptian soldiers when they fought Israel during the Sinai war” (Khilafah Mag U.S edition, Volume 2, Issue 4 – August 1991)

Another interesting dimension in HT’s violent jihad is that it believes terrorist tactics may be employed against countries it is at war with. Their official ruling on the permissibility of hijacking planes states:

“If the plane belongs to a country at war with Muslims, like Israel, it is allowed to hijack it, for there is no sanctity for Israel or for the Jews in it.” (‘The Islamic rule on hijacking aeroplanes’ – 8th April 1988)

It’s important to note here that it’s not just Zionists who have “no sanctity” but all Jews (who happen to be on the aircraft). HT has often been accused of being anti-Semitic, and it’s not difficult to see why. Another official HT leaflet, entitled ‘The Only place between the Muslims and the Jews is the battlefield’, also calls for a violent jihad against all Jews in Israel:

“Clearly, the scandalous and treacherous negotiations must end, the door that leads to the treacherous peace with the Jews must be slammed shut, we must rid ourselves from their bragging, arrogance and contempt of Muslims, and destroy their existence by the lawful Jihad until they are wiped out, and their survivors are left senseless, scattered and despised the world over”. (Leaflet issued on 25 December 1992)

Again, it doesn’t make a distinction between Zionists and Jews because HT believes in killing ‘all’ Jews of fighting age within Israel. I remember asking a senior HT member whether the above leaflet was referring to Zionists or all Jews. He told me: ‘In the Qur’an Allah doesn’t call Jews Zionists but just Jews, so when we say Jews we mean Jews’.

What Type of State?
The Islamist state that HT seeks to create will be a violent expansionist state and jihad, defined by HT as a religiously justified war, will be used to achieve the aims of its foreign policy (i.e. expanding its borders). This is outlined in party literature:

Islam has defined the material action. This action will remove all physical obstacles to the attainment of the noble foreign policy objectives of the Khilafah State. This is Jihad. (Jihad- Foreign Policy of the Khilafah State, Zahid-Ivan Salaam, Pg 51, Khilafah Publications, London, 2001)

And it’s not just Jews whom HT would like to kill; even fellow Muslims who reject their form of Islamist governance are believed to deserve death. This point was elaborated upon by the second global leader of HT, Abdul Qadeem Zallum, who stated:

..thus, he who does not rule by Islam and rules by a Kufr system should either retract or be killed. Thus, the rule by a Kufr system would be prevented even if this led to several years of fighting and even if it led to the killing of millions of Muslims and to the martyrdom of millions of believers. (How the Khilafah Was Destroyed, Pg 199, Al-Khilafah Publications: London, 2000)

Killing millions of people will be a natural occurrence in HT’s proposed Khilafah state because it will be in a state of permanent war (jihad):

“The foreign policy of the Khilafah state is determined by the call to Islam. As the call (dawa) is conveyed by Jihad, the Khilafah state is in the situation of permanent Jihad” (AL-FAJR, Issue 14, March 1989 –Pg 13)

Another point which often gets overlooked is that prior to the establishment of HT as a party, its founder Taqiuddin al-Nabhani was an associate of the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Sheikh Muhammad Hajj Al-Amin Hosseini. Hosseini was a Nazi war collaborator who visited Nazi Germany and Hitler during WW2. This fact has been highlighted by various researchers:

“While one cannot ascertain exactly how they met, it is evident that a relationship of sorts developed between the two men: according to well placed sources in Amman al-Nabhani was considered to belong to Hajj Amin’s camp during the period from 1945 to 1948. (A Fundamental Quest and the search for the Islamic Caliphate, Suha Taji Farouqi, Pg 2, Grey Seal 1st Edition)

“Yet in the party’s early days, al-Nabhani was influenced by Shiekh Muhammad Hajj Al-Amin Husseni, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Nazi war collaborator. Party Members have often denied the holocaust, calling it a “tool used by Jews to justify their own hegemony over Muslims in Palestine”. (Hizb ut-Tahrir, Islam’s Political Insurgency, Zayno Baran, Pg 28, The Nixon Center)

This may explain why there is so much hatred for Jews in HT publications.

HT is not a terrorist organisation and it does not plan terrorist operations. However, as we have seen, its method of taking power is through military coups – an inherently violent method – and after the establishment of the Khilafah, it would be happy to use force and even terrorism against its enemies.

“If you read Hizb ut-Tahrir books, you will have the impression that it is a political party that works to assume power, and not an association that confronts the battlefield of life with the goal of actualizing God’s vice regency on earth….This has lost it considerable weight in the struggle.” (Ghazi al Tawba, al Fikr Islami al Mu assir: Dirasah wa Taqwim (Beirut: n.p 1969, 311)

HT is an anti-Semitic extremist Islamist party that believes political violence is justified. It seeks to create a super-expansionist State (khilafah). They will then seek to take over the world, firstly by inviting countries to join them, but if they resist, they will be taken over by force. In their own words:

“The aim of Hizb ut-Tahrir is to resume the Islamic way of life and to carry the Islamic Da’wah, i.e. to achieve the objective of solving the vital issue concerning the Muslims……This would be under the shadow of an Islamic State which is the Khilafah, where Muslims would appoint a Khalifah and pledge to listen to and obey him on the condition that he governs them with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, and on condition that he carries Islam as a message to the world by invitation and Jihad.” (The Methodology of Hizb ut-Tahrir for change, Al-Khilafah Publications, Pg 24, 1999)

Despite its claims to the contrary, HT’s message is one of violence, not peace.