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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1956

HIZB AL-TAHREER [ḤIZB AL-TAḥRīR] AND RUMORS SURROUNDING IT

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    Account of Hizb al-Tahrir's growing presence in Jordan and al-Nabahani's confiscation by Lebanese authorities.
    "Hizb al-Tahreer [Ḥizb al-Taḥrīr] and Rumors Surrounding It ," 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 2, File 4D/2, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/176158
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Hizb al-Tahreer [Ḥizb al-Taḥrīr] and rumors surrounding it

Hizb al-Tahreer, established by Sheikh Taqī al-Dīn al-Nabhānī (Takieddin al-Nabahani), played a dangerous role in the land of Jordan and was able to extend its influence among ordinary people and educated youth— in spite of its recent formation - and to attract a sizeable number of school teachers, secondary school students, religious leaders, merchants, officers and soldiers. Lieutenant General Glubb Pacha was fiercely opposed to it because it had spread far and wide among army ranks and quite a number of officers and soldiers had become members. Glubb Pacha worked night and day to put an end to this party, ordered the dismissal of all officers and soldiers who had joined it, and pursued its founders and leaders wherever they were. He agreed with local authorities to prevent this party’s delivering religious sermons at mosques and put on trial all those who violate this law. He then proceeded to arrest a number of its leaders, banned its newspaper that had appeared the previous year under the name of al-Raya, and was thus (temporarily) able to muffle its voice and paralyze its movements. However, it was clear that the educated youth wanted the Party to remain active, keep up the struggle, and propagate its message and principles, for the following reasons:

The Party’s principles are Islamic, clear, based on scientific and logical grounds, and devoid of lies or unrealistic aspirations.

The Party was successful in reconciling religious principles, scientific theory, and modern development.

The Muslim Brotherhood Organisation, the only religious group operating in Jordan, has proved incapable of delivering and failed - in the eyes of the educated youth – to achieve all its objectives, in addition to the fact that some of its activities were reactionary and tainted with corruption.

The Party in question was fighting strongly against Anglo-American colonialism and calling for liberation from all foreign domination.

The arbitrary measures and actions taken against this party only increased its power and won it everyone's sympathy. No sooner had the nightmare lifted from Jordan with the departure of Glubb Pacha than the Party was able to breathe again and feel free to actively and enthusiastically resume its activities, especially after the release of some of its members from jail. As its influence spread among the masses and the youth, other parties, especially the Muslim Brotherhood and the Baathist, communist, and Nationalist Parties, got cautiously worried and started tarnishing its reputation and spreading rumours against it. The latest rumour says that the Lebanese authorities had last April confiscated from party leader, Sheikh al-Nabahani, a cheque for US $150,000 from the American Embassy. This news item was published in these parties' newspapers and in pro-British ones giving rise to clamour against the Party from various quarters...

In order to learn the truth, I contacted a number of the Party's leaders, in particular its representative in Parliament, Sheikh Ahmad al-Da'ouor, to hear their views on the matter. They categorically denied all the rumours, although some official Jordanian and Lebanese sources in Amman still confirm their veracity. They told me: Such rumours belie themselves; all the declarations and decisions that the Party issues contain strong attacks against Anglo-American aspirations in the region; is the situation so bad that the Americans are financing propaganda against themselves? If we, for the sake of argument, suppose that the Americans wanted to attract this Party to their side and deter it from the lofty goals for which it was founded, does it stand to reason that they would gamble so publicly by handing it a cheque to be cashed in an ordinary bank? Why wouldn't they pay in cash like other foreign elements do when they want to buy someone's conscience?

I asked Islamic Chief Justice, Mohammad Amin al-Shanqity, what he thought about the rumours that dog Hizb al-Tahreer and if he believed - in his capacity as overseer of all religious and Islamic affairs in Jordan - they were true; he replied: 'I cannot absolve the Party of the rumours attributed to it because I have information that clearly indicates that there are close (and of course secret) contacts between the Party's decision-makers and foreign interests including the Americans ... and I am sure that this Party's objectives are neither straightforward nor in the interest of Muslims.'

It is worth noting that this Sheikh is a supporter of the Royal Palace against which Hizb al- Tahreer is considered a threat.

I was able, however - after persistent research - to arrive at some information regarding the status of the said Party. It seems that there has recently been a rift within its ranks as a result of a disagreement between its leaders and president and founder about a number of issues chief among which are the Party's policies in Syria. This led to the withdrawal of two of its leaders, Sheikh Daoud Hamdan and Nimer al-Masri, and it may be that others will follow suit...

I also learned that the Lebanese authorities asked the Syrian Government to hand Sheikh al-Nabahani, the Party's leader, over for trial for having published declarations harmful to Lebanon with the aim of spreading dissent among the population; but that the Syrian Government refused.

I can confirm based on information I obtained from various sources, that the issue of the US$150,000 cheque is false, and that it is from someone by the name of Faisal al-Nabulsi, from Haj Amin al-Husseini's group, that a number of commercial cheques, with no political bearing whatsoever, were confiscated.

This same information also indicates that Sheikh al-Nabahani did not come to Beirut during that period.

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