Palestinian-Led Sharia Movement Rallies at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Calls for Pakistan Army to Liberate Jerusalem (VIDEO)
by Joshua Levitt
Palestinian-founded and led sharia law movement Hizb Al-Tahrir, the Party of Liberation, hosted thousands of Muslims for Friday prayers last week atop the Temple Mount, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where footage showed its leadership denigrating Jews and calling for the Pakistani Army to emerge from under the thrall of America to liberate Jerusalem.
On Thursday, MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, posted the video and a translated transcript from the rally.
Beginning with a deafening call and response from attendees, the speakers at the event exhorted sharia law-laden themes, including a call for a universal caliphate.
The call and response began, “Oh the army of Pakistan!” followed by, “Come for the sake of the rule of the Koran!” Then, “Oh nation of millions!” followed by “Awaken to support your religion!” Then, “Oh our imprisoned Al-Aqsa Mosque!” followed by, “We bear the glad tidings of liberation!”
“Where is the Caliph Omar? Where is Saladin? Where is the Caliph of the Muslims?” the unnamed speaker asked those assembled. “Don’t you care that the Jews are defiling the place of the Prophet’s nocturnal journey with their filth? The Jews are the most hostile people towards the believers. They conquered Jerusalem.”
Another speaker took the microphone to say, “Oh people of Pakistan! Oh people of Islam! The place of the Prophet’s ascent to Heaven is calling for your help! What are you doing? The Al-Aqsa Mosque calls for your support! Will you heed the call?”
“Oh Pakistani Army! America is using you to kill your brothers. America wants to destroy you. America is your enemy. Free yourselves from subordination to it,” the second speaker said.
“This is the call of Hizb Al-Tahrir: Advance with your mighty army to Jerusalem,” he said. “You are worthy of the honor of liberating it.”
“Oh Muslims in Algeria and Morocco, the land of the martyrs, respond to the call of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Reject secularism. Remove the borders separating you, and follow the banner of ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger.'”
Hizb Al-Tahrir was founded in Jerusalem, in 1953, as a Sunni Muslim organization by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, an Islamic scholar and appeals court judge from the nearby village of Ijzim.
Branches of the movement are in 40 countries, and are especially active in the Western diaspora. The organization is believed to have a million active members, according to an archived profile by The New Statesman, and credits itself with expanding the popularity of the call for sharia law and a unified Muslim caliphate.
As a political force, it was behind failed coups in Jordan, where it was banned, then Syria and Egypt. Today, Hizb Al-Tahrir is active in supporting the Syrian militias whose hoped for military victory against the Assad regime would become its crowning political achievement.
The Palestinian founder al-Nabhani died in Lebanon, in 1977, and was succeeded by Abdul Qadeem Zallum, a Palestinian cleric, who was unable to unite the old and new guards within the group, and it was largely dormant during its second period.
Upon his death, also in Lebanon, in 2003, Palestinian Ata Abu Rashta, formally known as Sheikh Abu Yasin Ata ibn Khalil ibn Ahmad ibn Abdul Qadir al-Khatib Abu Rashta, became the global leader of Hizb Al-Tahrir.
Abu Rashta grew up near Hebron, attended school in Jerusalem and then graduated from Cairo University as a civil engineer, a field he worked in while supporting both of the group’s prior leaders as a lieutenant. During the Persian Gulf War, Abu Rashta became the group’s first official spokesperson in Jordan, where his public engagements, including a speech entitled, “The Neo-Crusader Assault on the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf,” helped frame the military conflict in religious terms.
In 1994, Abu Rashta said, “The establishment of the Caliphate is now a general demand among Muslims, who yearn for this: the call for Islamic government (the Caliphate) is widespread in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria and so on,” according to ‘A Fundamental Quest: Hizb al-Tahrir and the Search for the Islamic Caliphate,’ the primary book about the movement, published in 1996 by Professor Suha Taji-Farouk, Lecturer in Modern Islam at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, in England.
In the book, Abu Rashta said, “Before Hizb al-Tahrir launched its career the subject of the Caliphate was unheard of. However, the party has succeeded in establishing its intellectual leadership, and now everyone has confidence in its ideas, and talks about it: this is clear from the media worldwide.”
After becoming more vocal, he was arrested by Jordan, designated a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, and then emerged from prison shortly before the death of predecessor Zallum, in 2003, with Abu Rashta assuming full control over Hizb al-Tahrir, as the third Palestinian to lead its charge to create the global Muslim caliphate.
Watch the footage from MEMRI below:
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