Hizb ut-Tahrir Emerges in America
Posted: July 28, 2009
Updated: July 11, 2012
Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), an international organization that seeks to establish a worldwide Islamic theocracy, is increasing its efforts to spread its message and recruit members in the U.S.
The American branch of HT convened its 2012 Khilafah Conference, titled, "Revolution: Liberation by Revelation," on June 17, 2012, in the Chicago suburb of Hickory Hills, IL.
Messages at the conference primarily centered on promoting the organization's vision of establishing a worldwide Caliphate and how the revolutions in the Middle East can be utilized to reach the movement's goals.
HT's 2012 conference drew on similar topics as the 2011 Khilafah Conference, titled, "Revolution in the Muslim World: From Tyranny to Triumph."
HT held its first major event in the U.S., a conference entitled "Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam," at the Hilton in Oak Lawn, Illinois, on July 19, 2009. Although HT America's Web site states that the group "does not work in the West to change the system of government," speakers at the conference focused on HT's larger agenda of establishing a global Islamic caliphate, which entails ousting existing governments.
While HT has operated as a predominately clandestine organization in the U.S., the Oak Lawn conference marked the group's emergence onto the public stage in America.
A public demonstration organized by HT on December 24, 2011, in downtown Chicago to protest the Assad regime's crackdown in Syria suggests that the organization remains committed to raising its public profile in the U.S. HT demonstrators carried signs and banners calling for the establishment of the Caliphate and demanding the end of Western support for dictatorial regimes in the Middle East.
HT is increasingly using the Internet to organize meetings in the U.S. and distribute materials, and has become active on social networking sites like YouTube and Facebook, which it used to advertise both of its conferences.
A closer look at the group's ideology and international activity reveals that HT not only promotes Islam as a way of life, but is also fundamentally opposed to capitalism and democracy and is explicitly hostile toward Israel and Jews. These basic tenets, along with its record of advocating violence, contradict the group's attempt to portray itself as a political party seeking change through nonviolent means.