PJ Media

Terror Ties: Ground Zero Imam Attended Hizb-ut Tahrir Conference (Corrected)

CORRECTION: Further examination has revealed this article’s assertions to be incorrect due to erroneous translation of the linked text from Indonesian to English.

The event was not sponsored by Hizb-ut Tahrir. Rather, some members of Hizb-ut Tahrir were simply attending the event. Pajamas Media regrets the error.


In an earlier piece for Pajamas Media, I wrote about how the imam behind the Ground Zero mosque never said “no” to Malaysian jihadists who advocated suicide bombing in Israel and America.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf seems to have an irresistible attraction to extremists and terrorists, in spite of frequent declarations that he is a peacemaker and a “bridge builder.” He has stated that the Islamic community center and grand mosque he wants to build would be “about promoting integration, tolerance of difference, and community cohesion through arts and culture.”

So what was he doing at a 2007 conference in Indonesia of an international terrorist group seeking a global caliphate?

Hizb-ut Tahrir al Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation) has been banned in many countries — Germany, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Saudi Arabia — but not in the United States or Britain. This is a dangerous group. It is alleged to have attempted coups in Jordan, Syria and Egypt, which were defeated, fortunately. As we see in these photos, Rauf looks quite relaxed and happy at the Hizb-ut Tahrir conference, as do the other participants with him. In fact, there is a feeling of celebration in these photos. The language in the text accompanying the photos is Malay. Although the conference was held in Indonesia, there were many Malaysians attending, including Rauf, who has lived for a great part of his life in Malaysia.  An English language website promoting the caliphate states that 100,000 people attended the conference.

Hizb-ut Tahrir is similar ideologically to the Muslim Brotherhood. Both seek worldwide Islamic supremacy and the imposition of Islamic law to replace the Constitution and democracy. But Hizb-ut Tahrir differs by also espousing Marxist-Leninist methodology, and is entirely open about its ambition to dominate the world, unlike the more discreet Muslim Brotherhood.

On two occasions, Hizb-ut Tahrir in America called for terrorism recruitment conferences in Chicago to establish their long-awaited caliphate, which would knock down capitalism, democracy, and equal rights for non-Muslims and women, and institute a Muslim-run society under sharia law. One conference, called “The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam” and scheduled for July 2009 in Chicago, actually did occur. But a follow-up conference slated for July 2010 at the Chicago Marriott in Oak Brook, titled “Emerging World Order: How the Khilafah Will Shape the World,” was canceled by the hotel.

What would living in this “Khilafah” be like for non-Muslims? According to Hizb-ut Tahrir’s position papers, we would not be able to serve in any ruling office, nor even be able to vote for any elected official. The rights of non-Muslims would be restricted to voicing “complaints in respect to unjust acts performed by the rulers or the misapplication of Islam upon them.” In other words, complete disenfranchisement and disempowerment. Not too surprisingly, apostates from Islam would be executed and women would have to be fully swathed in concealing clothing. Even Muslim women would be denied the right to shape policy by holding public office.

What would life be like for Jews living in the caliphate? Well, there probably wouldn’t be many left after a while — Hizb-ut Tahrir’s anti-Semitism is predictably strong. Ata Abu-Rishta, the international head of Hizb-ut Tahrir, is said to have “whipped the 100,000-strong crowd” at the August 2007 annual conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, “into a frenzy … by calling for a war on Jews.” Rishta has also declared that it is “permissible” to kill Jews in Israel, and by extension, everywhere: “There can be no peaceful relations with the Jews: this is prohibited by Islamic law.”

Hizb-ut Tahrir posted an article on its website in 2000 citing a well-known hadith calling for the wholesale murder of Jews: “The stones and trees will say: O Muslim, O Slave of Allah. Here is a Jew behind me so come and kill him.” In Germany in 2003, the group was barred from public speaking because it called for the killing of Jews.

If you are neither a woman nor a Jew, what might life be like for you? First of all, you might be confused by the discrepancy between Hizb-ut Tahrir’s public profession of non-violence and what the group actually intends. Hizb-ut Tahrir has produced such terrorists as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Musab Zarqawi. Plane hijackings and the mass killings of non-Muslims have been declared acceptable by them as means to achieve their ends. Hizb-ut Tahrir in Pakistan issued a leaflet in September 2008 urging Pakistan’s army to use nuclear weapons “to injure and bruise an already battered America to an extent to which she cannot afford to stomach right now.”

The literature of Hizb ut-Tahrir cites the Koran to validate using terrorism to spread Islam. They see Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Jama’ah Islamiyah as legitimate Islamic movements, not as terrorists. This may explain why Rauf refused to denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization on Aaron Klein’s radio show on June 20, 2010. Perhaps Rauf does indeed share Hizb-ut Tahrir’s belief that the primary struggle of a Muslim is to spread Islam and defeat the West.

Let’s turn to an American imam, Siraj Wahhaj, with whom Rauf is associated. Born into a religious Baptist family, Wahhaj disavowed Christianity and joined the Nation of Islam in 1969, preaching that “white people are devils.” Wahhaj spoke approvingly of Hizb-ut Tahrir’s use of violent jihad as the way to establish worldwide domination by Islam. After he attended a Hizb-ut Tahrir conference in London, he said that Hizb-ut Tahrir “is right in their pushing for the Khilafah,” and he raised no objection to their methods.

Wahhaj’s approval of the Hizb-ut Tahrir London conference is of a piece with his 1992 address to an audience of Muslims in New Jersey, in which he said he would like to see Muslims take control of the United States and replace its constitutional government with an Islamic caliphate. He was named as a possible co-conspirator to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in 1995 by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White.

Wahhaj has been the vice president of the Islamic Society of North America since 1997. The Islamic Society of North America funds Hamas to the tune of many millions of dollars, which earned it a designation as an unindicted co-conspirator. And Hamas is committed by its charter to destroying Israel.

It was the Islamic Society of North America (along with the International Institute of Islamic Thought) that produced a “special, non-commercial edition” of Rauf’s book, with Rauf’s cooperation, as Andrew McCarthy shows us with a photo from the book’s frontispiece.

Rauf’s book has two different titles, one for non-Muslims and one for Muslims. In English, it is called What’s Right With Islam: A New Vision For Muslims and the West.

But in Muslim-ruled Malaysia — a country whose language Rauf knows well since he has spent a great deal of time there — the book was published as A Call To Prayer From the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11.

The word “rubble” stands out. It means wreckage reduced to rubbish. Trash. Garbage.

An Islamic call to prayer is made by a muezein, the Muslim who ritually calls the faithful to prayer. The muezein issues his call from a tall minaret, high above the rest of the world. Now we get an image of Rauf in the position of a muezein standing tall in his fifteen-story mosque looking down at the rubble of the World Trade Center, the buildings reduced to rubbish by his own religious group (although he has denied that Muslims perpetrated the 9/11 attacks).  The image is of conquest — Islam over the West. If Rauf is indeed a “bridge builder,” as he calls himself, we must question where the bridge is going. Is it towards Islamic dominance over non-Muslims?

Rauf has been criticized as insensitive for positioning his project so close to Ground Zero, and for that reason, Governor Patterson recently offered to help him relocate his proposed mosque and community center.

However, even if Rauf accepts the offer and moves his mega-mosque elsewhere, the matter is still not closed. Given the extensiveness of Rauf’s ties to violent and seditious elements, it might be prudent for officials to begin an investigation into the activities of Imam Rauf himself.

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