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Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Caliphate

When you sit down to dinner, mention Hizb ut-Tahrir and The Long War in one sentence. If you are in America, the table will likely look puzzled at Hizb ut-Tahrir and acknowledge The Long War. If you are in Britain, the table will likely acknowledge Hizb ut-Tahrir and look puzzled at The Long War.

But Hizb ut-Tahrir, or the Party of Liberation, is all about The Long War and the re-establishment of the Muslim Caliphate. In The Caliphate: One nation, under Allah, with 1.5 billion Muslims, The Christian Science Monitor's James Brandon sat down with a senior member of the group, along with two other members, in Amman, Jordan. Brandon writes, in part:

But unlike Al Qaeda, Hizb ut-Tahrir believes it can recreate the Caliphate peacefully. Its activists aim to persuade (sic) Muslim political and military leaders that reestablishing the Caliphate is their Islamic duty. Once these leaders invite Hizb ut-Tahrir to take power - effectively staging a military coup - the party would then repeat the process in other countries before linking them up to form a revived Caliphate.

"We spread our ideas by addressing people directly," says Abdullah Shakr, a fluent English-speaker, who, like all three men, spent time in Jordanian jails for membership in the party. "We don't care if the government knows about us, but ... we try not to catch their attention."

The party was founded in Jerusalem in 1953 by a Palestinian judge, Sheikh Taqiuddin Al-Nabhani. He taught that the Muslim world had grown poor and weak ever since the Caliphate was abolished by Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk in 1924.

A very well written article, it serves as about as good an introduction to Hizb ut-Tahrir as your dinner table could ask, lightly sprinkled with sober Western analysts' input and a historical sketch of the Caliphate.

For more background, see:

Hizb ut-Tahrir: Islam's Political Insurgency (PDF)

The Challenge of Hizb ut-Tahrir: Conference Report (PDF)

Also Zeyno Baran's latest at the Counterterrorism Blog.