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7092
“The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam”
by Fox News - Diane Macedo   
July 18th, 2009
The Khilafah Conference 2009 is scheduled to be held July 19, 2009 at the Hilton Oak Lawn hotel.

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.

Hizb ut-Tahrir often says that its indoctrination "prepares the infantry" that groups like Al Qaeda take into battle, Phares said.

"It's like a middle school that prepares them to be recruited by the high school, which is Al Qaeda," he said. "One would compare them to Hitler youth. ... It's an extremely dangerous organization."

Phares said Hizb ut-Tahrir has strongholds in Western countries, including Britain, France and Spain, and clearly is looking to strengthen its base in the U.S.

"The aim of this conference is to recruit within the Muslim community in America," he said. "The Middle East governments go after them, but in the U.S. they are protected, so having a base here is going to help their cells around the world."

Representatives of Hizb ut-Tahrir declined to comment when contacted by FOXNews.com.

Oren Segal, director of Islamic Affairs for the Anti-Defamation League, said the conference is cause for concern.

"While they're not, for the most part, engaging in violent activities, and they publicly say that they're against violence, there have been examples around the world where people who have spun off of this group have engaged in violent activity," Segal told FOXNews.com. "That's why they're banned in several Arab and Central Asian countries, as well as Germany and Russia."

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.

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