PA police clamps down on Islamic Liberation Party
From Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Palestinian Authority (PA) police on Saturday, 4 July, arrested dozens of Islamic activists affiliated with Hizbu-tahrir, (the Islamic Liberation Party) as the pan-Islamic group was planning to hold a large rally in Ramallah to commemorate the annual anniversary of the downfall of the Ottoman Caliphate.
Hizbu-tahrir doesn't recognize the religious or political legitimacy of existing regimes all over the Muslim world and calls for the reinstitution of the Islamic caliphate.
Party spokesmen said American-trained soldiers stopped activists on their way to Ramallah from various parts of the West Bank , examining their identity cards and occasionally beating them up.
"This government is controlled politically by Gen. Keith Dayton, the American commissioner in occupied Palestine, and financially by Salam Fayyadh, the American puppet prime minister," said Ahmed Salman, an activist from Hebron.
"So you can imagine how this collaborationist government would deal with activities aimed at rebuilding the caliphate."
Adnan al Dhumeiri, the official spokesperson of the PA police, said the Islamic Liberation party didn't obtain a formal permit to hold its rally in an open place beforehand.
"This is an illegal party. It doesn't recognize the Palestinian Authority. It doesn't recognize the Palestinian flag. Hence, we only upheld the rule of law by preventing them from holding their conference."
"We would have allowed them to hold the conference at a closed place, like a reception hall, but they insisted on holding it in open air."
However, Ibrahim al-Sharif, an official spokesman of Hizbu-tahrir in the West Bank dismissed al Dhumeiri's remarks as "misleading and mendacious."
"We applied for a permit on 9 June. We waited and waited and waited, but the PA wouldn't grant us one. The permit issue is actually only a pretext used by the PA regime to stifle freedom of speech and expression."
Al Sharif accused PA police of behaving with "exaggerated brutality" against "peaceable Islamic activists" who never used verbal or physical violence against the police.
He further accused the PA of escalating its campaign against the Islamic party especially since the Annapolis conference in November, 2007, when PA crack police brutally dispersed a party rally, protesting the conference, killing one person and injuring several protesters.
Asked if the clampdown on the Hizbu-tahrir would undermine impede its activities in occupied Palestine , Sharif said the cause of Islam was more important than a petty and relatively insignificant authority that is first and foremost answerable to Israel and the United States .
"The answer is certainly `no.' We have confronted more criminal and ruthless regimes like in Uzbekistani. Martyrs fell, but the party grew stronger and stronger.
"You see, the matter has to do with the entire Islamic Umma (community). We are commanded to re-establish the Caliphate as seriously as we are commanded to pray and give alms and carry out other religious obligations."
Hizbu-tahrir was founded by Taqiyuddin al Nabhani in Jerusalem in 19951 with its main goal being the re-establishment of the Islamic caliphate that would reinstitute the Sharia (Islamic law) all over the Muslim world.
The party expressly advocates the overthrow of all reigning regimes in the Muslim world on the ground that these regimes are un-Islamic and subservient to un-Islamic powers.
The party's uncompromising ideological stance often invited harsh treatment from regimes in the Arab world which banned the part and imprisoned its leaders.
Hizbu-tahrir is the second Islamic party in size after Hamas, e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood, which is widely viewed as the mainstream Islamic group in occupied Palestine .
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