Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), or “Party of Liberation,” is an international Islamist movement seeking to unite Muslims under one Islamic caliphate.
Founded by Palestinian Taqiuddin al-Nabhani al-Filastyni in 1953, Hizb ut-Tahrir considers itself a non-violent political party. HT states that its goal is to peacefully convert Muslim nations (and indeed the world) to Islamist political systems. HT praises the concept of jihad but insists that it does not use “material power to defend itself or as a weapon….” The group publicly disavows efforts to achieve its goals of a caliphate through violent means.
The flag that Hizb ut-Tahrir uses shows the Shahada (the testimony, or confession of faith) “I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.”
While not advocating violence directly, individuals associated with HT have been involved in violent acts. Many younger members indoctrinated by HT, such as notorious ISIS figure “Jihadi John,” have gone on to join jihadist movements.
- April 30, 2003: Suicide bomber Asif Muhammad Hani, a British citizen, explodes at the entrance to Tel Aviv bar Mike’s Place. The bombing kills three and wounds 50. Israeli authorities identify a second bomber, Omar Khan Sharif, also a British citizen, whose explosives failed to detonate. Both men belonged to HT offshoot al-Muhajiroun. Sharif was also reportedly “associated with HT.”*
- 2004: British authorities arrest an HT member for joining al-Qaeda and plotting to attack financial targets in New York.*
- July 2004: HT splinter cell Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) attacks the American and Israeli embassies in Uzbekistan.*
- May 13, 2005: Uzbek security forces stop a revolt, prison break, and an anti-government demonstration in the city of Andijon. Uzbeki President Islam A. Karimov blames international terrorist groups and HT for organizing the uprising. HT denies responsibility.*
- July 29, 2006: Surveillance cameras film two Lebanese men carrying suitcases filled with propane-gas explosives onto trains in Germany. Investigators said one of the men, Youssef Mohammed el-Hajdib, may have ties to HT. The group denies that Hajdib was a member.*
- September 2007: German police arrest three members of HT splinter group IJU for plotting to attack restaurants, military and civilian airports, and nightclubs.*
- November 4, 2010: Russian police say they have prevented an HT cell from blowing up a railway track near a Moscow train station.*
- November 2012: Early in the month, Russian authorities arrest 18 Russian and Tajik citizens allegedly plotting bomb attacks around Moscow. After searching their apartments, authorities find “counterfeit money worth $1 million and 2 million euros”, as well as guns and explosives. On November 16, authorities charge nine Russian and Tajik citizens with belonging to HT, which is banned in those countries.*
- December 2014: Iranian-born Australian Man Haron Monis takes more than a dozen people hostage at Sydney’s Lindt Chocolat Café. Monis and two hostages are killed after a 16-hour standoff with police. Monis had attended a June 2014 HT lecture on the failings of the West.*
- March 2015: Bangladeshi police arrest Islamist blogger Farabi Shafiur Rahman in connection with the February 26, 2015, murder of atheist writer Avijit Roy. Police accuse Rahman of belonging to HT and threatening over social media to kill Roy prior to his murder in a knife attack.*
- Late March 2015: Turkish police stop nine British citizens from crossing into Syria to join jihadist groups. British police reveal that one of the nine, Waheed Ahmed—a student at Manchester University and the son of Rochdale town councilor Shakil Ahmed—is a member of HT. HT Britain’s chairman, Dr. Abdul Waheed, denies that Ahmed is a member.*
- April 2015: British media report that individuals associated with HT and the Nusra Front attacked civil activists in Aleppo, Syria. HT Britain denies the reports (1)
Extensive articles have been written on Hizb, encompassing their history, leaders, goals and aspirations.
They have been banned in many Muslim-majority countries, as well as Western countries including Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Germany.
Circanda has produced articles on a prominent Canadian Hizb leader Mazin Abdul-Adhim concerning his publicly stated views. You can read them here and here. Mr. Abdul-Adhim has been banned from Denmark for his radical views, however, Hizb ut-Tahrir still operates in Canada with impunity.
Even though they are allowed to operate in Canada, members and leaders are followed closely by intelligence agencies.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has compiled an extensive and comprehensive library of their goals and aspirations. Many of these books are available for PDF download here. They are working hard to translate all of their material into English.
Following is some of the content you will find:
Book 1, Hizb ut-Tahrir: Purpose is to revive the Umah, liberate it from the Kufr, as well as domination of Kufr states.
Book 2, Methodology: Reestablishing the Caliphate is a clollective activety within a structure, party or group. It must be political.
Book 3, System of Islam: It is necessary to radically and comprehensively change a person’s thought and generate another thought for him.
Book 4, Structuring of the party: The ideology is the multiplication of ‘cells’ (individual who embodies the idea) to form leadership and then the idea is propagated through Dawah.
Book 5, Concepts: Hizb works in order to govern by Islam and strives against the Kafr colonialists to uproot their influence.
Book 6, Essential elements of the Islamic disposition: A follower must have both the proper Islamic mentality and behavioral disposition.
Book 7, The Islamic state: The Islamic state is not a dream or a figment of the imagination, it is a reality, always has been, always will be.
Book 8, Institutions of state: Laying out the implementation of the ruling and administrative organizations of the Caliphate.
Book 9, The Ruling Islam in Islam: A complete and comprehensive system designed for mankind, obligatory of Muslims to implement and execute.
Book 10, The social system in Islam: Muslims are obliged to restrict their living solely to what Allah has commanded in the Sunnah, whether or not it disagrees with the west.
Book 11, Economic system: This book introduces the reality of the capitalist and socialist (including Communist) economic systems and their refutation explaining their defects and contradiction with the economic system of Islam.
Book 13 & 14: Draft constitution: A comprehensive and extensive constitution is in place, ready to be implemented with the establishment of the Caliphate.
There are more books of instruction to be found on the website.
Looking at some of the subject matter in the above material, one could think that Hizb is cult-like in structure. This view is strengthened by how they recruit and teach their following. Though they claim to be a political organization, their methodology is cerebral in nature, attempting to change how people think. In this respect, they are different than the Muslim Brotherhood, who ingratiate themselves into the Western political system while keeping their Islamic supremacy agenda hidden. Hizb rejects those who want to work within the Western system.
The Inner workings
Hizb followers are generally Sunni in ideology, attending Sunni mosques for the most part. They are looked upon with suspicion and wariness by the mosques, not necessarily because of their ideology, but they bring unwanted attention to the mosques because of their very public views on Caliphate. They try to recruit followers after prayer times outside of mosques, handing out pamphlets and speaking to mosque attendees.
Universities are also actively targeted, particularly the Muslim Students Associations and different activist gatherings, where Hizb can push their ideas onto young, idealized Muslims and non Muslims alike. They attempt to get into as many colleges and universities as possible. They will try to hold halaqas, or study circles as often as they can. Most of the new recruits come from the universities. The study groups are split into male and female groups.
When someone joins Hizb, they are required to study under a senior member for months, if not years. When they have shown a strong understanding of what they have studied, they are then obligated to go out, recruit and teach others. This is to build the ability of refute and debate with people.
A recruit does not become a full member until all of the books published by Hizb have been studied and you are tested and approved by the leader of the region.
Everything within the organization is very secretive, even though they are very forthright in their goals. When recruits attend a halaqa (study group), they must leave their cell phones at home, no recording is allowed. Leadership do not communicate via social media and phone, they meet privately.
Members of Hizb ut-Tahrir work within the Islamic education system where they have easy access to students. Their political views are kept secret in order for them to work in these institutions.
Radicalized groups in Canada have a similar mindset, namely, the promotion and implementation of Islam throughout the world, yet they approach their goal in different ways. Hizb ut-Tahrir, although political in nature, try to reach people through thinking and behavior modification. Muslim Brotherhood work directly within the political system while keeping their goals under the radar.
While most mosques will not allow Hizb to proselytize within the building, they hand out pamphlets and talk to mosque goers after the service. They also attend any conference they can, including the RIS annual conference in Toronto. Here, they set up a Dawah booth and pass out information outside of the conference, although ISNA in Mississauga has a conference where they are allowed to attend and distribute.
Aware Muslim Blogspot
Most of their dawah material is also printed on an online blog. You can access the blog here. The blog deals with happenings in the world and each entry stresses the coming of the Caliphate as the ultimate solution. Below are some quotes from the blog.
From July 2020 on the police: “These mechanisms of control are so ingrained into the ideology of the system that reform is simply not possible. To end the unjust practices of the police, one must dismantle the unchecked power of the elite, and place meaningful restrictions on them. It means, dismantling Capitalism as a whole and replacing it with the Islamic ideology is the only complete solution.”
From July 2020 on Racism: “Indeed, the brutal and blatant racism African Americans endure in the United States is only a symptom of the corruption of the Capitalist system. Therefore, to completely eradicate racism, we must uproot this failed system and, in turn, replace it with a truly just alternative (Islam)” What he fails to mention is the acquisition of slaves by Mohammad, not only African slaves, but from throughout the known world.
May 2020 on Ramadan: “The true unity of the Muslims can only be achieved under the Khilafah. The adoption of the Khalifah is what removes the differences of opinion. Until the Khilafah is re- established, there will not be any unity in the matter of Ramadan, let alone other more important matters.”
May 2020 on Covid: “Ultimately, the solution to containing the spread of COVID- 19, and other pandemics, requires more than one or two policies. It requires a government that fears Allah.”
The bulk of Hizb followers in Ontario are found in the GTA, with London and Hamilton having a growing presence. There are chapters throughout the Muslim and Western worlds.
Leaders in Ontario regularly attend conferences throughout the world. Canadian leadership has travelled to Syria during the initial uprising to try to convince the rebel army to work with Hizb ut-Tahrir. It is also said that many members of HT went to ISIS to try convince them to work with HT, but they were executed for their trouble. Canadian leadership also traveled recently to Australia, Turkey and UAE to recruit.
Although HT does not officially ascribe to jihad with regards to their single minded goal of world-wide Islam, their radical views have the propensity to radicalize individuals, and drive them towards jihadi minded organizations like ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Quotes from HT leadership
“If our members exist in a country where an occupation has occurred, in capacity as individuals they would have an obligation to resist.”
“When we see the example of our brothers and sisters fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, then we know where the example lies. When we see Hezbollah defeating the armies of Israel, we know where the solution is and where the victory lies. We know that it is incumbent upon all of us, to support the jihad of our brothers and sisters in these countries when they are facing the oppression of the West. Allahu Akhbar! Allahu Akhbar!”
“There is no Islam as a way of life without a Khilafah.”
“We call on the Muslim armies to direct their weapons toward Israel instead of Muslims in an Arab country.”
“[Those] guilty of apostasy (murtad) from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy…”
“However, it is not allowed for a Muslim to express any opinion that contradicts Islam, whether regarding the Islamic creed or anything emanating from it. Accordingly, he is not allowed to call for the ‘liberation of women,’ or Nationalism, or Patriotism, or Regionalism, or a Kufr principle like Capitalism or Socialism, or indeed any idea that contradicts Islam. Therefore, it is not allowed for Muslims to adopt the freedom of opinion which the Capitalists call for. Everything that is initiated by a Muslim should be confined by the Shar’ia.”
“That is the duty of the caliphate – to implement Islam internally and carry the light of Islam to the rest of the world. How? Not with flowers. It was the army of Muslims, which started from Al-Madina, and they went to China, India, and Al-Maghreb. That is jihad.”