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American club refuses to host Hizb ut-Tahrir conference in U.S. after protests

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A club hosting an event by the Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, in Illinois next week has pulled out after a group of Americans expressed concerns, and outrage, about the event.

The Islamist group was planning to hold its “Revolution: Liberation by Revelation – Muslims Marching Toward Victory” conference in the Meadows Club on June 17.

“We regret to inform you that the venue that had agreed to host our event previously is no longer willing to accommodate our Khilafah Conference. We are currently in the process of finding a new location for the event. The new venue will be announced as soon as possible,” the American arm of the group wrote on its website, hizb-america.org, late last month.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, which claims its presence in at least 50 countries, held its first U.S. conference in 2009, attracting approximately 400 people.

The political organization, which was formed in 1953, in Jerusalem by Ata Abu Rashta, who was expelled from his Palestinian village in 1948, aspires to unify all Muslims under a caliphate ruled by Sharia and with a caliph as head of the state elected by Muslims.

American vigilance

Next week’s proposed conference caused alarm among Americans worried about the group’s alleged militant views.

Ryan Mauro, a fellow with the Clarion Fund and a National Security Analyst for RadicalIslam.org, wrote on the site and urged people to voice their disdain by calling on the club to rescind its offer to host the conference.

Mauro, wrote that the group’s third conference would be about how Muslims must help resurrect the Caliphate and institute Sharia-based governance.

He wrote: “In 2010, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s annual conference at the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook hotel was canceled after the venue dropped the group’s reservation.”
He also cited the opinion of an expert on Islamist groups, Zeyno Baran, who referred to Hizb ut-Tahrir as a “conveyor belt for terrorists.”

Baran of the Nixon Center and Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation have argued that although Hizb ut-Tahrir does not promote or engage in violence, it uses its legal status to indoctrinate followers who later join extremist groups that may engage in violence.

It is believed that the slain leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the alleged mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, were former members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, according to Shiv Malik, an investigative journalist specializing in British terrorism.

Despite suspicion over its ideology and ties to militancy, the group still operates freely in the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia.

In 2003 the group was banned in Germany for its anti-Semitic views.
In the same year, Russia banned the group as part of its efforts to curb separatists Islamists in its midst.

The group is banned in most of the Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Libya. It is also banned in Turkey and Pakistan.

The group challenged its ban in Lebanon as it grouped its protesters in many occasions to demonstrate against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime’s violent crackdown against people. The group protested early this month against the massacre that killed dozens of women and children in al-Houla town near Homs in Syria.

Similarly, several months ago the group organized a rally in downtown Chicago to protest against President Assad’s regime.