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Israeli authorities set to declare Hizb al-Tahrir group illegal

Aug. 9, 2016 7:00 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 9, 2016 7:01 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities plan to declare the Hizb al-Tahrir group illegal, a move the group told Ma’an would amount to an “American and Russian attempt to accuse the party of terrorism.”

A spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Public Security said in a statement on Tuesday that Minister Gilad Erdan had plans to meet with Israeli police officials in Jerusalem in upcoming days to declare Hizb al-Tahrir illegal and charge the group with following a similar ideology as the Islamic State.

According to Musab Abu Arqoub, the group’s head of public affairs and media office, Hizb al-Tahrir is a political party that “advocates for beliefs and ideas that are not practiced in reality. It calls for establishing a unified Islamic caliphate which will help liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation.”

The movement also said it worked to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque with other groups in response to the frequent incursions to the holy site by right-wing Israelis attempting to disrupt the status quo which prohibits non-Muslim worship at the site.

However, the Israeli ministry has claimed that the group encourages terrorism and works to spread their “extreme beliefs” through their activities at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Arqoub told Ma’an that while Israel has summoned many of the group’s members to interrogations, it was in response to individual actions by members and not due to any Hizb al-Tahrir policy.

Arqoub added that the future ban was a larger plan by American and Russian leaders to designate the group as terrorists.

The group has had a vocal presence in the occupied Palestinian territory since their founding in 1953 and believes that the establishment of an Islamic caliphate would end Israeli military occupation.

Arqub told Ma’an earlier this year that one of the party’s main goals in Palestine was to raise awareness that the most legitimate and practical way of “liberating Palestine comes through jihad by heavily-equipped Muslim armies.”

However, Hizb al-Tahrir has largely avoided confrontation with Israeli authorities due to the group’s believed lack of participation in armed activity against Israel.

The group has typically carried out its mission through public addresses, hanging posters, and releasing statements, but its vocal criticism of Palestinian political parties has in the past led to the arrest of Hizb al-Tahrir supporters by Palestinian forces.

“We call upon the people of Palestine to raise their voices and concentrate their efforts on urging Muslim armies to support Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and expel the Jews from the blessed land of Palestine,” the senior leader said.

Abu Arqub has previously said that the Islamic State group was “nonsense and worthless from a religious point of view” as it “lacks the legitimate requirements of an Islamic caliphate.”
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