Thursday, July 31, 2008

Group promoting worldwide Islamic rule marches in Gaza

By The Associated Press

Tags: caliphate, West Bank, Islam

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) supporters calling for a worldwide Islamic state have marched through Gaza for the first time.

About 3,000 demonstrators waved black flags and shouted slogans calling for a global Islamic government Thursday.

Hizb ut-Tahrir seeks to establish a caliphate that would govern the world according to Islamic law. The group is banned in several countries, including Russia, Germany and some Arab states.

The group says it uses nonviolent means but is seen as ideologically close to Jihadist groups.

The group's activities are outlawed in the West Bank. This week, 20 group members were arrested in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The members of Hizb ut-Tahrir oppose the Islamic Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Hizb ut-Tahrir was established in 1952, in then-Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem, by Sharia court judge Taqi al-Din al Nabhani, from the village of Ijzim, near Haifa. The party's goal is the reestablishment of an Islamic caliphate to govern the whole Muslim world under Islamic law - and eventually to bring the entire world under Islamic rule. The caliphate, a title that had been claimed by Ottoman sultans since the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate, was formally abolished by Turkey's founding father Kemal Ataturk in 1924.

In its half-century of existence, Hizb ut-Tahrir has developed into an international Islamist organization known to be active in 45 countries. It has particularly active branches in Indonesia and Uzbekistan, and has made inroads into the Pakistani community in the United Kingdom.

Its branches do not maintain an armed, insurgent wing. But the movement also does not stand in elections. Rather, Hizb ut-Tahrir seeks to agitate and educate, gaining supporters for the idea of restoring the caliphate. The intention is to leave violent action - such as the destruction of Israel, which the party supports - to the conventional armed forces of the restored caliphate.

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