BY ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENS
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has reported that Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) was banned by the Palestinian Authority (PA) from holding a conference on Saturday July 4 at Ramallah Secondary School, to mark the anniversary of the end of the Islamic Caliph's Rule.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is an Islamist revolutionary party devoted to the overthrow of secular governments and the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate. They have a very strong presence in the UK and last weekend's Sunday Times reported on an attempted HT coup in Pakistan which was linked to Britain via Tayyeb Muqeem, a member of the group in this country, who gained some notoriety recently by physically attacking Quilliam Foundation director and former leading member of HT, Maajid Nawaz. According to the Sunday Times:
"Tayyib Muqeem, an English teacher from Stoke-on-Trent, said he had moved to Lahore to convert Pakistanis to the movement.
At Lahore's Superior College, where Muqeem has set up a Hizb ut-Tahrir student group, he said the organisation's aim was to subject Muslim and western countries to Islamic rule under sharia law, "by force" if necessary.
In a caliphate, "every woman would have to cover up" and stoning to death for adultery and the chopping off of thieves' hands would be the law, he said.
He added that Islamic rule would be spread through "indoctrination" and by "military means" if non-Muslim countries refused to bow to it. "Waging war" would be part of the caliphate's foreign policy.
One of Hizb ut-Tahrir's strategies in Pakistan is to influence military officers, he revealed."
Muqeem's admission of the Hizb ut-Tahrir strategy of convincing the armed forces of Muslim majority countries to join together and revolt against their governments, along with the glimpse he gives us of what a HT-controlled ‘Islamic state' would be like, gives the lie to HT's claims of being a ‘non-violent' group. The ideology HT propagates is, in the end, an essentially violent one, and the difference between it and explicitly violent proponents like al-Qaeda is largely down to tactics.
The fact that the PA are not willing to allow HT to hold public meetings reflects the PA's own authoritarianism, but also a genuine and well-grounded fear of allowing the rise of yet another extremist Islamist movement in the region.
[hat tip: Tom Gross]
Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.
Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London. He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon.
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