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Pan-Islamist group: Violence won't lead to Islamic rule

Aug. 16, 2009 2:38 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 17, 2009 2:52 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – The Hizb Ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) on Sunday condemned Friday's bloodshed in the Gaza Strip as immoral and illegal, according to a statement sent to Ma'an.

The pan-Islamist party, which seeks the establishment of an Islamic caliphate through peaceful means, rejected the declaration by radicals declaring Gaza an "Islamic emirate."

"Killing and fighting will never be a legal means of establishing an Islamic emirate," Hizb Ut-Tahrir insisted, condemning the bloodshed on Thursday that it said was caused by the declaration from Jund Ansar Allah, a group thought to be ideologically aligned with Al-Qaeda.

Most Palestinian groups and parties, including Hamas, are national liberation movements very much opposed to radical organizations such as Al-Qaeda, which seek to instate Islamic rule on what they see as Islamic land.

Hizb Ut-Tahrir's aims are similar to Al-Qaeda's, except that the movement exclusively advocates nonviolent struggle to establish the Islamic nation. The party has a relatively small following since it recognizes neither the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority nor the Hamas-ruled de facto government in the West Bank.

However Hizb Ut-Tahrir is comparatively much more mainstream than the relatively new Jund Ansar Allah, a violent extremist group that boldly took on Hamas' authority with armed members barricading themselves inside a mosque and declaring Gaza's de facto government illegitimate.

The defiance led to an unprecedented crackdown on the part of Hamas and its militant wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, which stormed the mosque late Friday and killed a dozen Jund Ansar Allah loyalists by Saturday morning. Six civilians also died in the operation, as well as six members of Hamas' forces.

Hizb Ut-Tahrir called on both sides to reject violence in the name of any authority, Islamic or secular, saying it would be impossible to declare either under the present Israeli occupation. "Those who rule have sovereignty dependent on what the occupation allows, and thus it is not possible to declare an Islamic emirate in a country under occupation."

The group called on all Palestinian factions and other organizations in Gaza to "redirect their guns toward the occupation exclusively, and to stop fighting each other."
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