A group committed to establishing an international Islamic empire and reportedly linked to Al Qaeda is stepping up its Western recruitment efforts by holding its first official conference in the U.S.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Sunni network with reported ties to confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda in Iraq’s onetime leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It has operated discreetly in the U.S. for decades.
Now, it is coming out of the shadows and openly hosting a July 19 conference entitled, “The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam,” at a posh Hilton hotel in a suburb of Chicago.
Hizb ut-Tahrir insists that it does not engage in terrorism, and it is not recognized by the State Department as a known terror group.
But some terrorism experts say it may be even more dangerous than many groups that are on the terror list.
“Hizb ut-Tahrir is one of the oldest, largest indoctrinating organizations for the ideology known as jihadism,” Walid Phares, director of the Future of Terrorism Project at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told FOXNews.com.
Phares said that Hizb ut-Tahrir, rather than training members to carry out terrorist acts like Al Qaeda, focuses instead on indoctrinating youths between ages of 9 and 18 to absorb the ideology that calls for the formation of an empire — or “khilafah” — that will rule according to Islamic law and condones any means to achieve it, including militant jihad.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is one of the group’s most famous alumni, New Statesman journalist Shiv Malik reported, citing intelligence sources. In addition to plotting the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he also is implicated in the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, the Bali nightclub bombings and the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
Malik’s report, the public policy institute the Nixon Center and the counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation agree that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq until he was killed in June 2006, was also once a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir.
They say other former members include Asif Muhammad Hanif, a British man who blew himself up outside a bar in Tel Aviv, killing four people (including himself) and wounding more than 50; and Omar Bakri Mohammed, a radical cleric currently banned from Britain who praised the 9/11 attacks, raised funds for Hezbollah and Hamas and called for attacks on the Dublin airport because U.S. troops transfered there on their way to Iraq.
Read it all via FOXNews.com.