Washington (BBN)-Radical Islamist group Hizb-ut- Tahrir which cleverly avoided global scrutiny while spreading its ideology may become a more dangerous terrorist group than the ISIS and it’s presence in South Asian countries including Bangladesh should be a cause for concern for India, a report said.
In South Asia, Hizb-ut- Tahrir (HuT) has a significant presence in Pakistan and Bangladesh, said a report published in the latest edition of CTX Journal.
“Although HuT has reportedly found a foothold in India, its presence and influence have not made any significant impact,” said the multimedia journal on strategic and security affairs.
“HuT’s growing presence in neighbouring Bangladesh and and Pakistan should be a cause of concern for India and the larger global community,” said Economic Times quoting the report.
On its website, HuT claimed that it had organised a demonstration in 2010 at Batla House in Delhi in protest against Israel’s alleged atrocities.
The demonstration, which was attended by about 1,000 people, was HuT’s last reported activity in India, said the report prepared by Surinder Kumar Sharma, who is associated with Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
Noting that at the ideological level there is much in common between HuT and ISIS, the journal said “the majority of individuals and entities who support ISIS also support HuT.”
“While ISIS runs amok in Syria and Iraq, demanding media attention through acts of barbarous cruelty, HuT (Hizb-ut- Tahrir or the Party of Liberation) is quietly building a global infrastructure of radicalised youth and deep-pocketed Arab support in preparation for the global Khilafat,” said the CTX Journal.
The group has cleverly avoided any intense global scrutiny while spreading its ideology and support base in nearly 50 countries, said the report.
The group commands a base of over one million members worldwide.
This is far higher than what ISIS claims to have.
Citing reports, the journal said HuT has an armed wing called Harakat ul-Muhojirinfi Britaniya that is training its cadres in chemical, bacteriological and biological warfare.
“HuT, therefore, has the potential to become an even more dangerous terrorist group than ISIS,” said the journal from US-based Global Education Community Collaboration Online.
Founded in Jerusalem in 1952 and headquartered in London, the group has branches in Central Asia, Europe, South Asia and Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, where it has managed to garner great influence.
It said HuT’s strategy is different from ISIS and the group is slowly increasing its social capital by keeping away from overt acts of terrorism while luring the educated youths.
ISIS is an al-Qaeda splinter group and it has seized hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria.
al-Qaeda has distanced itself from the group, chiding it for its lack of teamwork in its aggressive, brutal expansion.
In Bangladesh, HuT has managed to gather the support of many intellectuals, including doctors, lawyers, and professors.
The group was officially banned in Bangladesh in 2009 for anti-state activities.
Compared to Bangladesh, HuT has a longer history in Pakistan, where it established its base in 1990.
The group remained underground until 2000.
Pakistan banned HuT in 2003 after it was linked with several terror plots, including a plot to kill former President Pervez Musharraf.
Despite the ban, HuT is reportedly deepening its support among the intelligentsia and military circles, it said.
HuT’s global ambition and activities are bankrolled through private donations from local entrepreneurs to Islamic charity organisations, the report said.
Wealthy sheikhs from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, who embrace the pan-Islamic agenda, also fund the outfit.
This financial support is one of the reasons that HuT believes it will be able to establish the Caliphate, it said.
Given the fact that HuT already has a wide reach and is successfully inducting and radicalising educated youth, the outfit has the potential to stage coups and uprisings against governments and regimes that it considers un-Islamic or aligned with anti-Muslim powers, the report said.
HuT may well prove dangerous because it has immense influence on people, especially in the way that it legitimises the cause to establish a Caliphate, it said.
While the world’s focus currently is on ISIS, it would be a grave folly to ignore the growing influence of HuT and its global agenda, the report warned.