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Palestinian group sounds like Al Qaeda but forgoes violence

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"We accept only Islam in politics and in vision. And we have a powerful secret: to keep out Western ideas and keep to a pure Islamic system," Professor Jabari, who teaches chemical engineering at a college here, explains in an interview in his sprawling, freshly furnished home here in Hebron, a conservative city where Hizb ut-Tahrir's support appears to be among the strongest in the West Bank.

The group is gaining supporters in other cities, too. In August, a major rally in Ramallah drew 20,000 people, according to official estimates. In the same week, demonstrations were held in other Muslim countries where the group is popular, with some 80,000-100,000 people attending a massive gathering in Jakarta, Indonesia. The rallies were called to coincide with the anniversary of the official 1924 dissolution of the caliphate – carried out by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey – following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.

Many analysts see the demonstration against the Annapolis peace conference in November, during which Palestinian police killed Hisham al-Baradi, one of Hizb ut-Tahrir's activists, as a major turning point. Mr. Baradi has since been deemed a shahid, or martyr, allowing the group to ratchet up its rhetoric as a group persecuted not just by Israel, but by Palestinian authorities as well.

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