London: Muslims debate 'clash of civilisations'

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 23:54:11 +0100

 Usama Matar, a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir from Palestine, recites from
the Koran
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/38256000/jpg/_38256831_speaker_300_a
p.jpg> 
Organisers said it was the largest gathering of Muslims since 11
September 2001

About 8,500 people gathered in London on Sunday to debate the role of
Muslims in the West since the declaration of the "war on terror". 


  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/startquote.gif> 


Muslims have been asked to make a choice. Either they accept capitalism
and its colonialist world view or be labelled the terrorist 
  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/endquote.gif> 


Hizb ut-Tahrir pre-conference statement 
The conference organiser - the Muslim political party Hizb ut-Tahrir -
claimed it was the largest meeting of Muslims since the attacks in the
US of 11 September last year. 

The group called the conference Beyond September 11: Role of Muslims in
the West, and said it would address the clash between Islam and the
West. 


Speakers from both Islamic and secular countries around the world also
debated a possible attack on Iraq. 


Other Muslim organisations, however, declined to attend the gathering at
the London Arena in Docklands and accused Hizb ut-Tahrir of undemocratic
and isolationist tendencies. 


Dr Imran Waheed, a UK doctor and representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir, said
while the West preached tolerance, in practise it sought to suffocate
Islam. 


"When the West calls for integration it is asking Muslims to abandon
Muslim values and adopt Western values," Dr Waheed told Sky News. 


'No regime change' 


"Integration means adopting Western secular values in lieu of Islamic
values - values which are from a foreign and different ideology to
Islam." 


Dr Waheed later explained why his organisation does not support an
attack on Iraq or the US ambition of "regime change": 


"Are people happy to send their children off to a far-off country to
increase the dividends of far-off multinationals? 


"Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and many of our members have been tortured
in his jails for opposing him. 


"But we don't want an Iraqi version of [Afghan leader] Hamid Karzai, a
subservient and loyal puppet who will facilitate the harvesting of
America's interests from the region, including the vast oil reserves of
the Middle East." 


'Undemocratic' 


But Inayat Bungalawala - of the Muslim Council of Britain - said Dr
Waheed's organisation was itself intolerant and isolationist. 


"It is important for us to participate in all levels of democracy in the
United Kingdom and we believe in participation and integration," he
said. 


'Mainstream' 


Dr Waheed insists his party - founded in Jerusalem in 1953 by the
scholar Taqiuddin an-Nabhani - is part of the Muslim mainstream. 


On its website, Hizb ut-Tahrir says it would like to see the creation of
a new caliphate - a state ruled by a Khaleefah or successor to Islamic
Prophet Muhammad - under Sharia law. 


But Hizb ut-Tahrir considers violence and armed struggle to be a
violation of Islamic law. 


Last month 26 of its members, including three Britons, were charged in
Egypt with belonging to an illegal organization, four months after they
were arrested. 


Dr Waheed alleges that they have been tortured. 

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