Regardless of the US Rhetoric on the Unlawful Detention of Hizb ut Tahrir Members in Crimea
On November 13, the US Embassy in Ukraine called for the Russian Federation to immediately release six men from the Russian annexed Crimean-peninsula who were recently handed lengthy prison sentences for being members of the international Islamic political party, Hizb ut Tahrir. The US embassy said on Twitter, “We strongly condemn the politically motivated sentencing of six Crimean Tatars to heavy prison terms. We call on Russia to release these six individuals and all other Ukrainian political prisoners immediately.”
The comments were in response to the judgement issued by the Southern District Military Court in the city of Rostov-on-Don on November 12th which gave long prison sentences, ranging from 7 to 19 years, to 6 men from Crimea for being members of Hizb ut Tahrir which the Russian regime outlawed in 2003 on the bogus charge of being a ‘terrorist organisation’, despite widespread recognition that the party is a non-violent and peaceful organization which has not participated in one act of violence since its inception. Additionally, the Ukraine government stated its intention to complain to the UN international court (of justice) regarding Russia’s Hizb ut Tahrir cases in Crimea as it considered these cases to be unlawful and as persecution of Crimeans by Russian authorities. The party is not banned in Ukraine. Deputy Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in Crimea, Tamila Tasheva stated, “Definitely, we claim this persecution is based on ethnical and religious grounds, rather than being persecution of terrorists. Definitely, these should be qualified as crimes against humanity.” Rights groups also denounced the case as being politically motivated and part of Russia’s campaign of repression of Crimea’s Tartar population, who are mainly Muslim, targeting in particular those who have spoken out against Russia’s oppressive and brutal domestic and international policies against Muslims and Islam, as in Syria. Amnesty International described the conviction of the 6 defendants as being based on trumped-up charges and a “sham trial”.
Russia’s venomous hatred of Islam and Muslims is no secret. It has always been an open enemy of the Islamic Ummah and their Deen: from participating in a front against the Ottoman Khilafah (Caliphate), to slaughtering innocent Muslims in Syria in support of the tyrant and murderer Assad; and from banning Islamic culture books to fighting the wearing of the Khimar (headscarf) by young Muslim women in schools and institutes. Its persecution and incarceration of innocent Muslims is a continuation of Stalin’s Communist legacy of vicious religious and political repression of the Crimean Tartar population in World War II. Indeed, the imprisonment of members of Hizb ut Tahrir in Crimea and in Russia is simply another arm of the regime’s war on Islam and its desperate attempt to hinder the Islamic revival, and prevent people from embracing the Deen, as well as to terrorise Muslims into leaving their Islamic beliefs, political views and practices. Allah (swt) says: وَلاَ يَزَالُونَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ حَتَّىَ يَرُدُّوكُمْ عَن دِينِكُمْ إِنِ اسْتَطَاعُواْ “And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they are able” [Al-Baqarah: 217]. This clear agenda was expressed beautifully by Songatov Ruslan, a member of Hizb ut Tahrir sentenced to 22 years in prison this March by the Russian regime for no other crime than carrying the Islamic dawa. He stated in court during his trial, “The current court proves that they are not sentencing us, nor sentencing Hizb ut Tahrir, but are today sentencing the Deen of Allah, Islam.”
Furthermore, the political games that the US is playing against Russia to support its ally, Ukraine in regards to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, cannot mask the fact that America is hand in hand with the communist state in fighting the global resurgence of Islam. This is clearly evident: from pursuing its ‘War on Terrorism’ which in truth has always been a war on Islam; to its actions in Syria against those groups fighting for the establishment of an Islamic system; to Trump’s call on Muslim regimes to purge out Islamic extremism (i.e. political Islam) from their lands; to its open support of autocratic governments in the Arab world and Central Asia, as well as in Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh who persecute pious Muslims and who have also banned Hizb ut Tahrir on false, absurd and spurious charges, and imprisoned, brutally tortured and even killed our members. If the US recognizes that the case against our brothers in Crimea was politically-motivated for we are a peaceful non-violent party, and that our members are prisoners of conscience, jailed for nothing other than the Islamic beliefs and political views they carry, then surely the same holds true for the incarceration of our members by its ally states cited above?!!
We say to all those regimes who persecute and imprison the sincere dawa carriers for the Khilafah….speaking the truth, standing against oppression and calling for the System of Allah (swt), the Lord of the Worlds, is NOT a crime! We say to you, that all intimidatory tactics that you use to deter our members from striving in this cause of establishing the shield and guardian of Islam – the Khilafah based upon the method of the Prophethood – is in vain, for we give obedience to none but Allah (swt), we seek His Pleasure and Jannah (Paradise) alone, fear none but Him, and yearn to live under His Rule! We have pledged to our Rabb (swt) to be His faithful servants and guardians of Islam and to strive with all our efforts to establish His System upon this earth – no matter the obstacles, difficulties, tests and trials we face! Indeed, your persecution of our members only strengthens our resolve to achieve our goal! And we say to all those who are desperately trying to fight the Islamic revival….your lies against this Deen, the Shariah, the Khilafah, and efforts against its dawa carriers will prove utterly futile, for the establishment of what you fear is undoubtedly imminent biithnillah. Indeed, the return of the Khilafah is the Promise of Allah (swt), and Allah (swt) never fails in His Promise!
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Director of the Women’s Section in The Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir