By Tariq Majeed
On the website of Hizbut Tahrir [HT], there is no mention of who founded it, where and when. This is strange. It cannot be an oversight, because the website, otherwise, is elaborate and detailed. Wikipedia’s lengthy article on this shady group, however, indicates that, “this organization was founded in 1953 in Jerusalem by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, an Islamic scholar from the Palestinian village of Ijzim.” He died in 1977 in Lebanon.
If this group really existed then, my ignorance about it up to late 1960s could be because I was not reading much about Palestinian affairs during those years. But, from around 1973 onwards my study and research on Palestine, Israel, Middle East and other areas of interest was quite consistent and extensive. I never came across anything about this group. Then, from late 1987 to mid-1990s, I had ample opportunity of meeting and interacting with several Palestinians in Lahore and Islamabad. They were current with the developments in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. None of them ever mentioned HT. Had it existed in Palestine they would have surely talked about it.
It was from a news item in a Zionist weekly of London, in 1996, that I first learnt about this group. The story was that a Muslim students society in Oxford had invited a scholar in Islamic studies for a lecture, but just as the lecture commenced, some persons in the audience stood up shouting that this was the western, capitalistic version of Islam and it was unacceptable. They created a rumpus, and the lecture had to be called off. The story said these people were from a group called Hizbut Tahrir, which was becoming active at various campuses.
Some weeks later it was again in the news. This time its members had disrupted a function by a Jewish students organization in Oxford. HT was labeled as anti-Semitic. Thereafter, HT appeared in the news now and then, mainly accused of statements or activities of strong bias against Jews and western culture. It required only a little insight to realize that this was a standard, under-cover creation of the Zionist-western intelligence apparatus, like AlQaeda, Taliban, Jundullah and a dozen other clandestine groups, serving Zionist interests in the garb and the name of Islam.
I contacted a Pakistani former banker in London to ask if he knew about HT. Yes, he did. And he said, “Most of the Pakistanis who came in contact with the HT members and the two foreign characters, who seemed to be its leaders, found these people to be extremely hostile to Pakistan and the country’s founder.”
One of the two leaders was Syrian born Omar Bakri Muhammad who founded HT in Britain in 1986. In 1997 or so he split with HT and launched a new group Al-Muhajiroun. The other was Iraqi born Fareed Qasim, a cripple in a wheel chair, but a ball of fire, while delivering speeches against Pakistan. No one could tell if they had become British citizens, but it was widely rumored that both were originally Jewish. They targeted Pakistanis, and used the tactics of giving sermons at Friday prayers in various mosques.
The Pakistani banker told me later that he went personally to listen to Fareed Qasim. The venue was the Wimbledon mosque. Barely a few minutes into the sermon, Qasim raised his voice and started condemning Pakistan. Some people protested but he went on. Then he made highly objectionable remarks against Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. At this a number of people stood up and asked the mosque’s regular Khatib to silence the speaker. Qasim’s handlers wheeled him out of the mosque.
Whenever HT appeared in the British press, the stories pertained to Britain and were accompanied with anti-Islamic remarks. Sometimes, there were complaints as to why this group that berated western culture and recruited British youth who could become terrorists was allowed a free hand in its activities. The HT seemed to be a UK-specific under-cover group. How it was being used had become fairly clear.
Then all of a sudden HT appeared in Lahore. Its arrival here was timed with the 9/11 terror scheme. An English daily of Lahore carried an HT statement criticizing IMF and capitalistic economy. One Friday, after prayers, a man distributing fliers outside the mosque, handed me one. It was from HT. It sharply accused the rulers of having become slaves of IMF/US, and instigated the people—using slogans of public appeal—to rise against the regime and the army.
Some time later, a retired army officer told me he had found folded in his morning paper an HT flier of venomous propaganda against our army, and he had sent it for information of the corps commander Lahore. However, from the news, that broke out on 21 June, of a brigadier’s arrest “for links with CIA-backed militants” of HT, it appeared the relevant army authorities were late in warning their personnel of this subversive group.
I had a chance to hear Naveed Butt, said to be HT’s head in Pakistan, at a small gathering, in 2006. During questioning, he failed to give adequate answers, particularly on Zionism about which he had made a mention in his talk. He had left out something important from his talk. So, I confronted him, and asked if it was a key element of HT’s political philosophy that the present borders of Muslim countries were artificial and should be done away with to pave the way for Khilafah? He said yes it was. My remarks were that this was an irrational and subversive idea that was in fact in line with Zionism’s concept of ‘a world with new borders—a one-world formation of ministates under Zionist control’; otherwise, the present geographical structure of the Muslim world posed no obstacle to establishing a central authority for Muslim Ummah. He left without saying anything.
The numerous ways in which HT serves the Zionist-western political aims against the world of Islam are quite obvious. However, two special tasks with which HT’s core handlers are charged must be pointed out, because they are devastating in nature. It is important to mention here that the core handlers in each of the under-cover groups are the concerned agencies’ specially trained agents from the same background as that of the group.
One task is to constantly attack western culture and democracy, while harping on slogans about Islamic culture and Khilafah. AlQaeda and Taliban were already performing this function; HT intensified it, and caused further alarm as the western people saw this danger coming from a ‘homegrown’ threatening group. Then the master manufacturers of all shades of subversive and terrorist movements suddenly launched a ‘Christian counter-drive’ with a shocking massacre of 77 people in Norway on 22 July. According to the Nation, 26 July 2011, the killer, a Norwegian citizen, Anders Behring Breivik, said, “He was defending western Europe from Muslim takeover.” So, there you have two crusading opponents—with awful implications as both are controlled by the same masters.
Hizbut Tahrir’s other task, as described (in Wikipedia} by an analyst in Britain, is “to emphasize the importance of Muslims choosing loyalty to their religion above loyalty to Britain or any other country.” Actually, HT’s charter preaches this idea in its various tenets. It is a deliberate mischief meant to propagate a notion that Muslim citizens in a non-Muslim state are not loyal to the state.
The fact is Muslims are taught by their religion to live as law-abiding residents in a non-Muslim state. If they find any state laws interfering with their obligatory religious practices, they have to seek relief through legal and other peaceful means. If no relief can be obtained, they are to emigrate from that state. Muslims are living in non-Muslim states for a very long time as good citizens, and have been serving in the various state institutions, including the security and defence services.
The dangerous consequences of this devilish scheme can be easily imagined. It must be exposed, condemned and exterminated. The political, social and intellectual elite in the Muslim countries and Muslim communities around the world should act fast in this respect.