Hizb ut-Tahrir Emerges in America
Khilafah Conference 2009
Posted: July 28, 2009
Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) held its first ever Khilafah (Arabic for "caliphate") conference in the U.S. on July 19, 2009, at the Hilton in Oak Lawn, Illinois. The conference, entitled the "Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam," advocated for the implementation of an Islamic financial system and promoted the organization's larger agenda of establishing a global Islamic caliphate, or Islamic rule worldwide, which entails ousting existing governments.
Speakers addressed a crowd of approximately 400 men and women on a range of issues, including the "Islamic economic system," "suffering under capitalism" and the rise of Islam in the United States.
Mohammad Malkawi, an HT spokesperson and computer engineer from Chicago, argued that capitalism is responsible for the world's poverty, hunger and war. "It is time to deliver the world to Islam, an idea whose time has come," he said.
Another speaker from Chicago, Jaleel Abdul-Adil, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Illinois – Chicago, spoke about the role of Muslims in the U.S., arguing that every Muslim should utilize his skills in the struggle for an Islamic caliphate. Abdul-Adil, who has reportedly appeared at past HT conventions in Britain, declared that "Every home and every community and every masjid [mosque] must contribute to the struggle."
Abdul-Adil also urged the audience to never "stop calling for Islam as a complete way of life…unless and until Islam becomes victorious or we die in the attempt." During a question and answer session following his presentation, Abdul-Adil was asked if shari'a, or Islamic law, would trump the U.S. Constitution. "Yes, it would be gone," Abdul-Adil replied.
Another speaker, identified only as Abuatallah, outlined how capitalism has failed America, and African-Americans in particular. "Making a black man president will not stop this systemic oppression, will not stop what we see in the urban ghettos," he said. "Making Obama president is only a scheme, a plot, designed to quiet us."
In a session on "The Global Rise of Islam," Burhan Hanif, a member of HT in Britain, criticized Western governments and values and called for Muslims to "work for khilafah," or the establishment of Islamic rule worldwide. "Freedom and democracy has become an opium of the masses," Hanif claimed. "We see how the call of Islam resonates in the increased desperate measures in governments around the world… they are destined to fail."
HT presented several videos at the conference, including a recruitment video showing HT conferences and demonstrations around the world. "Now it is your turn," the video says, "Join Hizb ut-Tahrir America."
A pamphlet entitled "Islamic Reformation: Exposing the Battle for Hearts and Minds," was reportedly distributed at the conference. The pamphlet, written by Adnan Khan, an HT member in Britain, calls for the death penalty for those "in the khilafah [who] openly leave Islam." The pamphlet is also critical of the West, where "crime, sexual promiscuity, individualism and civil disorder is rife."
The Aqsa School in Bridgeview, Illinois, which was originally scheduled to host the event, cancelled two weeks before the conference, claiming that the group did not disclose the true nature of HT or the conference.