The conveyor belt of jihadi terrorists
Shiv Malik sheds more light on the thinking man’s al Qaeda — the Hizb ut Tahrir. Although its professed methods are different from that of al Qaeda, its goal remains the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate.
Although founded in the Palestinian territories, it is largely staffed by British and American nationals of Pakistani origin.
But not everybody thinks Hizb is so inoffensive. Far from it. “Hizb produces thousands of manipulated brains, which then graduate from Hizb and become members of groups like al-Qaeda,” says Zeyno Baran, director of international security and energy programmes at the Nixon Centre, a think-tank based in Washington, DC. “Even if Hizb does not itself engage in terrorist acts, because of the ideology it provides, it acts like a conveyor belt for terrorists.”
It was the then leader of Hizb’s branch in Britain, Omar Bakri, who called for Muslims to assassinate John Major on the eve of the first Gulf war. “We will celebrate his death,” Bakri told the Daily Star. He was arrested and detained for 48 hours. Since that PR coup, this once obscure organisation has become a major source of radical Islamic thought. And since 9/11, it has been caught in the cross-hairs of Washington’s big-gun think-tanks; Hizb has given them back what the end of the cold war took away: a war of ideas. Not liberal, soft-whip, Monbiot-mush ideas, but the kind of high-calibre ideas for which people are fighting and dying.
“The west,” says Baran, “can no longer ignore the deadly impact of Hizb ideology, which reaches millions of Muslims through cyberspace, the distribution of leaflets, and secret teaching centres. It is time to name the war correctly: this is a war of ideologies, and terrorist acts are the tip of the iceberg.” Ariel Cohen, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, the richest of the right-wing US think-tanks, compares Hizb to the Trotskyite wing of the international communist movement. He sees Hizb as offering an alternative form of globalisation. “This ideology,” he has written, “poses a direct challenge to the western model of a secular, market-driven, tolerant, multicultural globalisation.”[New Statesman]
Despite being banned by Pakistan in December 2003, it continues to operate there with impunity, not even going through the trouble of changing its name. The Argus reports that Russia arrested 11 members of the Hizb ut Tahrir recently on charges of possessing grenades and audio- and video-tapes and printed materials.