Also not surprisingly, some of the media usually designated as "conservative" — led by Fox News — went in the other direction, hyperventilating with headlines that almost gave the impression Osama bin Laden himself might be appearing at the conference.
Writing for the CounterTerrorism Blog, Madeleine Gruen addressed this reality disconnect in a July 19 column entitled, "Hizb ut-Tahrir America: Let's Not Exaggerate; Let's Be Accurate." In her opening paragraph, Gruen noted:
Over the past few weeks, and particularly in the last 24 hours, there has been an upward spiral of exaggeration and untruths in the US media and in the blogosphere, and also from Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), about the nature of Hizb ut-Tahrir America's (HTA) Khilafah conference, which is being held today at the Hilton in Oak Lawn, IL.
This morning, "Fox and Friends" featured an interview with one of the activists who will be protesting outside of the conference venue. Fox's headline blared, "Al Qaeda Holding Recruiting Conference at Chicago Hilton." This is like a bizarre game of "Telephone" in which the nature of the threat has been distorted from one media report to another, until the message has been distilled to the crudest level. There is no need to overstate the potential threat a group like HTA poses in the United States by shrieking "al-Qaeda." It does not need to be al-Qaeda to be dangerous.
Agreed. But is HT/HTA dangerous? Yes, although probably not for the alleged connections of HT to terrorists Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — connections that have been widely reported but not substantiated. Hizb ut-Tahrir is dangerous for two reasons that are rarely (if ever) mentioned: 1) Contrary to popular lore, HT is not promoting "Islamic extremism," but, rather, a fusion of Marx and Mohammed, Islamo-Leninism, if you will, and; 2) It is frequently cited by so-called experts (including supposed conservatives) as a prime example of why we must ally ourselves with (and pump billions of dollars in aid, arms, and technology into) Leninist regimes in Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia, where HT is alleged to be particularly active.
Naturally, Hizb ut Tahrir insists that it is completely peaceful. In an interview with CBS, HT spokesman Reza Imam disputed the labels of "extremist" and "radical" that have been used to describe the group and reiterated the group's claim that it does not advocate or support violence.
A banner across the top of the group's home page on the worldwide web reads:
"Official Website of Hizb ut Tahrir — a political party whose ideology is Islam." On its "About Us" self-description web page, the group says:
Hizb-ut-Tahrir is a political party whose ideology is Islam. Its objective is to resume the Islamic way of life by establishing an Islamic State that executes the systems of Islam and carries its call to the world. Hizb-ut-Tahrir has prepared a party culture that includes a host of Islamic rules about life's matters. The party calls for Islam in its quality as an intellectual leadership from which emanate the systems that deal with all man's problems, political, economic, cultural and social among others. Hizb-ut-Tahrir is a political party that admits to its membership men and women, and calls all people to Islam and to adopt its concepts and systems. It views people according to the viewpoint of Islam no matter how diverse their nationalities and their schools of thought were. Hizb-ut-Tahrir adopts the interaction with the Ummah in order to reach its objective and it struggles against colonialism in all its forms and attributes in order to liberate the Ummah from its intellectual leadership and to deracinate its cultural, political, military and economic roots from the soil of the Islamic lands.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism, which appears to have been about the only organization to send a reporter to the HT Chicago conference, filed a story on July 20 entitled "Hizb Ut-Tahrir: Shariah Takes Precedence over U.S. Constitution." It begins:
Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), the international movement to re-establish an international Islamic state — or Caliphate — kicked off a new campaign to win American recruits Sunday afternoon in this Chicago suburb. Nearly 300 people packed the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel for its Khalifah Conference on "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam" to listen to HT ideologues blame capitalism for World War I and World War II; the U.S. subprime mortgage meltdown; the current violence in Iraq and Afghanistan; world poverty and malnutrition and inner-city drug use.
A speaker identified as Abu Atallah even blamed capitalism for the late singer Michael Jackson's decision "to shed his black skin."
The Fall of Capitalism, the Rise of Islam
The Islamo-Leninist tilt of HT is noticeable in both its ideology (political, economic, social, and psychological) and its structure. However, you needn't take my word for it, nor is it necessary for you to plow through hundreds of pages of HT political screed. The International Crisis Group (ICG), a globalist operation run by folks from (currently, or in the recent past) the UN, the World Bank, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and funded by George Soros (who sits on the ICG board of directors and executive committee) says that "parts of the [HT] constitution look like a somewhat Islamicised socialism."
That's from the ICG Asia Report of June 30, 2003, entitled "Radical Islam in Central Asia: Responding to Hiz ut-Tahrir," which likens HT to the communist Ba'ath parties of Iraq and Syria. (Hizb ut-Tahrir founder Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani was also a principal founder of the Ba'ath Party of Jordan). Here are a few more relevant excerpts (italics added) from the ICG report:
The Islamic state proposed by Hizb ut-Tahrir is a utopian Islamic ideal that few Muslims would recognise as either attainable or desirable.... Indeed, there are many parallels between the Soviet state and the Islamic state proposed by Hizb ut-Tahrir, including the presumption of constant revolution/jihad with other powers....
Like many Arab political parties that emerged after the 1930s, Hizb ut-Tahrir took on characteristics of a modern political party, with a program and structures. Many of these parties found inspiration in early Leninist ideas, echoing the concept of the party as a revolutionary vanguard. Most took on an ideology of nationalism or socialism, or both....
Nevertheless, Hizb ut-Tahrir had much more in common in terms of political structure with secular parties such as the Ba'athists, later to become a ruling party in Iraq and Syria, than it did with the major Islamic political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood....
While it claims to be based on early Islamic history, the party [HT] owes much to modern revolutionary movements such as Leninism....
It relies on a cell structure akin to early Communist organisations, with strict internal discipline to avoid infiltration and maintain ideological purity.
Franco Burgio notes in his study, Hizb Ut-Tahrir In Central Asia: Messengers of a Coming Revolution?:
One possible explanation expressed for why HuT has been able to find a foothold in Central Asia is that this region was already familiar with the Leninist lexicon (vanguard, confrontation, revolution) used by the party. It was the same language that had been spoken in the region for the past 80 or so years.
When HuT arrived in Central Asia using the same language, it appeared to some people as a continuation of the previous political system, with Mecca replacing Moscow as the locus of veneration.
The imagery and the rhetoric utilized by Hizb ut-Tahrir in its publications, videos, and on its website (as well as its "Fall of Capitalism, Rise of Islam" conference) should ring a bell with those familiar with the "Red Shiism" adopted by the Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary regime in Iran. Developed by Persian Marxist Ali Shariati and the Chamran brothers (Mustapha and Mahdi), Red Shiism is a synthesis of communism and Shia Islam. Although the Tehran regime is often described in the West as "Islamic fundamentalist," it has more in common with the Soviet Union than any Muslim kingdom of yesteryear. So it is that the Khomeinists in Tehran have always gotten on famously with the communists in Moscow, Beijing, Havana, Pyongyang, Managua, Caracas, and elsewhere. Khomeini and his Islamo-Leninist heirs have no problem collaborating with the atheist communist tyrants who are persecuting their Muslim brothers throughout China and the former Soviet Union. The Khomeinists know they never could have succeeded in toppling the Shah if not for the help from the communist regimes and their surrogates (with the foremost being Moscow-sponsored terrorist Yassir Arafat and the PLO).
In 2007, the Ahmadinejad regime in Tehran held a special "Che like Chamran" conference, honoring communist revolutionary Che Guevera and Red Shia pioneer Mustapha Chamron. Comrade Guevera's son and daughter were flown in to participate in the event.
Although Hizb ut-Tahrir is active in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, it appears to have its strongest following in Central Asia where the still-communist, Moscow-aligned regimes in Uzbekistan, Kryrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, with their KGB-trained security services, have excelled at creating and running "false flag" operations masquerading as "Islamists."
Lobbyists for the "Formerly" Communist Regimes
Hizb ut-Tahrir has conveniently provided the former Soviet states of Central Asia with a political card they have adroitly played with the United States — with the help of some well-placed lobbyists.
Perhaps the most oft-cited U.S. expert on HT is Zeyno Baran, a Central Asia scholar for the Nixon Center and the Hudson Institute. Her writings have appeared in National Review and Foreign Affairs, journal of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where she argues for embracing (and financing) the repressive Stalinist regimes of Central Asia as strategic allies against the spread of radical Islamist ideology. She has also testified frequently before congressional committees.
Much of the misinformation that has accumulated in the "fact" base regarding HT is a result of the (dezinformatsiya in Russian, meaning deliberate false information) planted by the mini KGBs of Central Asia and retailed (wittingly or unwittingly) by Baran and her fellow "scholar" lobbyists. Egregious examples of this can be seen in Baran's willingness to accept at face value the claims of the Stalinist dictator of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov (a longtime communist of the Soviet era) that the Tashkent bombings of 1999 and the Andijon Massacre of 2005 were the work of Uzbek Islamic terrorists, when it was apparent to many observers that these events bore the markings of "provocations" or "false flag" operations of the SNB, the name of the Uzbek KGB.
Solid critiques of the Baran viewpoint of these events by other Central Asia scholars can be found here and here.
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