Hizb al-Tahrir (the Liberation Party, henceforth HT) is a unique kind of islamist organization. Compared with the two major islamist movements – Salafism and the Muslim Brothers – it exhibits certain similarities with each one but is clearly different from both. While most research to date has focused on HT in Europe and Central Asia, this article explores the ideology and function of HT in the West Bank, where it was founded in 1953 and where its leadership comes from today. By analysing Ht in the Palestinian context, it becomes apparent how important ideology is for the party, as the Palestine question has no pride of place even in the Palestinian branch of HT. Instead, it is the global aspiration of re-establishing the islamic caliphate that is of paramount importance. This very focus on ideology has led the party into relative obscurity in the Palestinian Islamist landscape, however. The analysis shows that a full understanding of HT must take into consideration the local contexts in which it operates; and that it is untenable on both ideological and practical grounds to lump different islamist movements together in one shared category.
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