The Chicago Marriott Oak Brook hotel states that the July 11 public conference by the Hizb ut-Tahrir America will not be held at that location. The anti-democracy political group, Hizb ut-Tahrir America, had widely promoted the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook hotel as the site for their second public conference, through social media and YouTube. Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) learned today that the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook hotel has decided that the hotel will not to be the site for that event. The Hizb ut-Tahrir America has not yet advised its supporters of the planned change, and is not available for comment.
Human rights activists had been informing Chicago area hotels of Hizb ut-Tahrir America’s decision last year to distribute pamphlets calling for the “death penalty” for those who seek freedom of religion to leave Islam. At Hizb ut-Tahrir America’s July 19, 2009 event in Chicago, they distributed a pamphlet (page 62) that supports killing those individuals who leave Islam as guilty of “treason and a political attack on the Khilafah.”
The Hizb ut-Tahrir America website promoting this year’s conference in Chicago promotes links to the main Hizb ut-Tahrir website, Khilafah.com, where this pamphlet is still distributed online by Hizb ut-Tahrir.
In 2009, Hizb ut-Tahrir America (HT) also had difficulty keeping a conference location for their July 19, 2009 conference. The 2009 HT event was originally scheduled to be held at the Aqsa School, an Islamic school located in Bridgeview, Illinois, until it was canceled on June 29, 2009; this happened after HT’s 2009 conference was clarified as an event to promote the Khilafah (Islamic caliphate). In 2009, CBS News reported that “The school’s business manager Rana Jaber said the group misrepresented the goal of the conference when they booked it as they claimed it was going to be a bazaar type event where tradition food and clothing would be sold.” However, by July 1, 2009, the HT event was eventually relocated to the Oak Lawn, Illinois Hilton, where R.E.A.L. led a pro-democracy demonstration outside the July 19, 2009 event, challenging Hizb ut-Tahrir’s views against democracy, human rights, and religious freedom.
When asked by R.E.A.L. today about this year’s Hizb ut-Tahrir event, the Oak Lawn, Illinois Hilton has stated that it is not holding this year’s Hizb ut-Tahrir conference. Other Marriott hotels in Oak Brook are also not holding the event, although apparently there had been consideration to moving the event at one point to August 1, 2010. Marriott event planning reservations stated that Hizb ut-Tahrir does not have a conference planned at their facilities according to their current records. In terms of Starwood facilities, R.E.A.L. has confirmed that the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, and the Chicago Westin are also not holding the July 11, 2010 Hizb ut-Tahrir conference. Starwood national reservations also states that their records show that the Four Points by Sheraton Chicago is not holding the July 11, 2010 Hizb ut-Tahrir conference.
Over the past six months, Hizb ut-Tahrir America has been holding “webinar” Internet-based seminars promoting the Islamic caliphate and jihad. Hizb ut-Tahrir America also held another public conference in another Chicago suburb in December 2009.
On December 20, 2009, Hizb ut-Tahrir America held a smaller conference at a government-managed community center in the Chicago suburb of Lombard. The Lombard city government did not respond to concerns about HT’s distribution of pamphlets in Oak Lawn, Illinois calling for the death penalty for those who seek religious freedom. At the December 2009 event at the Lombard community center, Hizb ut-Tahrir America denounced democracy, denounced “the Kafir,” and urged Muslim attendees “do not take the Jews and Christians for your allies.” HT also blamed U.S. President Obama as part of a plot to take over Muslim-majority nations.
Hizb ut-Tahrir rejects democracy because it “is the rule of people, for the people, by the people.” (page 24) Hizb ut-Tahrir has called for Muslims to boycott voting.
HT has had a history of seeking to promote a global Islamic caliphate government, in seeking to train teenagers for “jihad” (page 37), has reportedly been involved in threats against Jews, Hindus, and has reportedly threatened Muslim university officials. HT also rejects the “gender equality movement” for women’s rights, saying that women must pursue a global Islamic caliphate instead.
British media have reported that intelligence sources state that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed spent time with Hizb ut-Tahrir, and that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was “former member of the Jordanian branch of Hizb.”
Muslim democratic leader Dr. Zuhdi Jasser has denounced Hizb ut-Tahrir America as “a conveyor belt to terror,” but also stated that we “change the narrative and start to promote groups that are reformist,” and “prove how invalid their [HT’s] ideas are…” Dr. Jasser leads the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).
On June 18, we challenged Hizb ut-Tahrir America to a public debate on their view of an Islamic caliphate versus R.E.A.L.’s support for democracy and human rights. They have not replied. We continue to leave that offer open, and we invite them to publicly debate such views at R.E.A.L.’s July 11, 2010 pro-democracy event in Washington D.C.
On July 11, 2010 (the previously scheduled date of the Hizb ut-Tahrir conference in Chicago), Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) has planned a public event at 2 PM at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool steps in Washington DC to promote democracy, equality, and liberty. We choose that spot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood – with his courage of compassion years ago – on the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Steps, and called out to the American conscience “I have a dream.” We too have a dream of being united in support democracy, equality, and liberty. We know that realizing such a dream entails the responsibility of standing together – not just on what we oppose – but also on what we believe.
We urge all Americans, especially Muslim Americans, to join us in our nation’s capital on July 11, 2010 (the planned date of the Hizb ut-Tahrir) conference to send a message to those who seek to attack democracy and freedom, that we will stand united for such freedoms together – as one nation, one people, – responsible for equality and liberty – for all.
We urge other Muslims and all others in America who also share our commitment for such freedoms, especially for our shared freedoms and democracy to contact Responsible for Equality And Liberty via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .