BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Aug. 4 (UPI) — The Palestinian Authority has released 23 Hizb ut-Tahrir detainees. Hizb ut-Tahrir maintains that other members remain in custody.
Ma’an news agency reported Wednesday that the PA released all its Hizb ut-Tahrir (Arabic for “Party of Liberation”) Qalqiliyah members on bail Tuesday, 10 days after they were arrested.
The HuT members planned to commemorate the collapse of the Islamic caliphate, which was abolished by Turkey’s President Kemal Ataturk in 1924, after the PA banned the activities in the West Bank.
HuT’s program is to re-establish the caliphate, asserting that its methods are non-violent.
HuT operates clandestinely in more than 40 countries but it is banned throughout the Middle East, Russia, the post-Soviet Central Asian states and Germany, which is proscribed the group because of its virulent anti-Semitism.
According to the Hizb al-Tahrir Media Office, Palestinian security apparatuses are still holding dozens of their supporters from the village of Biddiya in the Salfit Governorate and in other areas of the West Bank.
A true pan-Islamic organization, HuT has deep roots in the Middle East, as it was founded in Jerusalem in 1953 by a Judge of the Shari’a Appeals Court in Jerusalem, Muslim religious qadi Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, who studied at Cairo’s al-Azhar University.
HuT was illegal from the outset, as it didn’t receive a permit from the Jordanian government to operate. After Nabhani’s death in 1979 Jordanian Abad al-Qadim Zalum took over as HuT’s leader until his own death in 2003. HuT’s current leader is Ataa’ Abu Rushta, a Jordanian-Palestinian. HuT says only that he “is in the Muslim world,” with many analysts believing that he is in somewhere Lebanon. The identities of nearly all other top HuT leaders are unknown.
Nabhani rejected Western political structures, entitling one of his books “Democracy: the Law of Infidels.” Nabhani’s philosophy was to re-establish the pan-Islamic Caliphate and reunite the Muslim faithful in a recreation of the Islamic community as it was under the Prophet Muhammad’s immediate successors.
Al-Nabhani’s writings remain very influential. He detested “depraved democracies” imposed by the West on Muslim nations, advocating instead “a single state over the entire Muslim world.” HuT currently operates out of London.
In the wake of the July 7, 2005, London bombings Britain considered banning the group but eventually demurred. HuT consistently claims to be an entirely peaceful political movement dedicated to re-establishing the caliphate.
Like al-Qaida, HuT uses the Internet and digital technology to propagate its version of globalization: worldwide Shariah government. The source of its finances is obscure, While each HuT member is required to tithe 10 percent of his income to the group, other sources of income remain unknown.