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."