It has the same objectives as Al Qaeda, namely, introduction of Islamic rule according to the Sharia in Muslim majority countries and the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate, but projects itself as different from Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is essentially an Arab organisation, with Arabs holding senior positions and exercising command and control. As against this, the HT projects itself as a multi-ethnic Islamic organisation in which membership and senior positions are open to any Muslim, irrespective of his or her ethnic background.
Its Aims and Objectives say: "The Party accepts Muslim men and women as its members regardless of whether they are Arab or non-Arab, white or coloured, since it is a party for all Muslims. It invites all Muslims to carry Islam and adopt its systems regardless of their nationalities, colours and madhahib (schools of thought), as it looks to all of them according to the viewpoint of Islam."
Al Qaeda is often accused of working for the Arabisation of Islam in non-Arab countries. The HT seeks to protect itself from such charges. At the same time, it admits that in its work it gave the first priority to the Arab countries and explains it thus:
"Although Islam is a universal ideology, its method does not, however, allow one to work for it universally from the beginning. It is necessary, however, to invite to it universally, and make the field of work for it in one country, or a few countries, until it is consolidated there and the Islamic state is established. The whole world is a suitable location for the Islamic da’wah. But since the people in the Muslim countries have already embraced Islam, it is necessary that the da’wah starts there. The Arab countries are the most suitable location to start carrying the da’wah because these countries, which constitute part of the Muslim world, are inhabited by people who speak the Arabic language, which is the language of the Qur’an and hadith, and is an essential part of Islam and a basic element of the Islamic culture. The Hizb began and started to carry the da’wah within some of the Arab countries. It then proceeded to expand the delivery of the da’wah naturally until it began to function in many Arab countries and also in non-Arab Muslim countries as well."
It projects itself as a politico-religious movement. It says: " Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political party whose ideology is Islam, so politics is its work and Islam is its ideology. It works within the Ummah and together with her, so that she adopts Islam as her cause and is led to restore the Khilafah and the ruling by what Allah revealed. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political group and not a priestly one. Nor is it an academic, educational or a charity group. The Islamic thought is the soul of its body, its core and the secret of its life. Its purpose is to revive the Islamic Ummah from the severe decline that it had reached, and to liberate it from the thoughts, systems and laws of Kufr, as well as the domination and influence of the Kufr states. It also aims to restore the Islamic Khilafah State so that the ruling by what Allah revealed returns. The Party, as well, aims at the correct revival of the Ummah through enlightened thought. It also strives to bring her back to her previous might and glory such that she wrests the reins of initiative away from other states and nations, and returns to her rightful place as the first state in the world, as she was in the past, when she governs the world according to the laws of Islam.
It also aims to bring back the Islamic guidance for mankind and to lead the Ummah into a struggle with Kufr, its systems and its thoughts so that Islam encapsulates the world."
It projects its struggle as directed against "the disbelieving imperialists, to deliver the Ummah from their domination and to liberate her from their influence by uprooting their intellectual, cultural, political, economic and military roots from all of the Muslim countries.
The political struggle also appears in challenging the rulers, revealing their treasons and conspiracies against the Ummah, and by taking them to task and changing them if they denied the rights of the Ummah, or refrained from performing their duties towards her, or ignored any matter of her affairs, or violated the laws of Islam. So all the work of the Party is political, whether it is in office or not. Its work is not educational, as it is not a school, nor is its work concerned with giving sermons and preaching. Rather its work is political."
The HT has a three-stage strategy for achieving its objectives. In the first stage, which it claims has already been completed, it concentrated on making individual Muslims all over the world aware of its ideology, message and political programme of action. The goal to be achieved was to create in individual Muslims an Islamic mind-set and Islamic emotions. In the second stage on which it is presently embarked, it concentrates on educating the Ummah as a whole as an entity. In the third stage, it proposes to focus on the achievement of political power in order to pave the way for Islamic rule according to the Sharia all over the Islamic world and the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate.
The HT projects itself as an organisation opposed to the use of terrorism or other forms of violence for achieving its objectives. It claims that it wants to achieve its objectives through AGITPROP (agitation-propaganda) techniques. This should not be mistaken to mean that it advises individual Muslims, including its followers, to shun the use of terrorism for promoting the interests of Islam. It sees no contradiction between its opposition to terrorism as an organisation and its followers resorting to jihadi terrorism in countries where such a dichotomy may be required and justified.
To quote the HT: "Whenever the disbelieving enemies attack an Islamic country it becomes compulsory on its Muslim citizens to repel the enemy. The members of Hizb ut-Tahrir in that country are a part of the Muslims and it is obligatory upon them as it is upon other Muslims, in their capacity as Muslims, to fight the enemy and repel them. Whenever there is a Muslim amir who declares jihad to enhance the Word of Allah and mobilises the people to do that, the members of Hizb ut-Tahrir will respond in their capacity as Muslims in the country where the general call to arms was proclaimed."
What, in effect, it says is that its members have two obligations. As members of the organisation, they cannot take to violence. As members of the Muslim community, they can take to arms if such a course of action is warranted by circumstances. Thus, in the CARs, the HT, as a universal organisation of Muslims, will not issue a call to its members to take to arms, but if the local leaders of the community issue a call to arms, its members would be free to join in their capacity as individual Muslims and not as HT members.
Thus, it would be quite in order for a Muslim to propagate overtly the non-violent ways of the HT and, at the same time, take to terrorism covertly as a member of Al Qaeda or the IIF. The clandestine ways of the HT, about whose leadership not much is known, add to the fears about the real nature of the organisation and its linkages with Al Qaeda and the IIF.
Some analysts, particularly in Pakistan, describe the HT as an international Sunni movement, similar to Al Qaeda, but the HT itself says that its message and appeal are addressed to all Muslims, whether Sunnis or Shias. It wants its movement to be seen as a universal Muslim movement and not as a Sunni one.
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