The 21st Century Phenomenon


* Ata Khalil Abu-Rashta, who succeeded Abd al-Qadim Zallum when he died in 2003 as the leader of Hizbu-ut-Tahrir was born into an observant Islamic family in 1943 in today’s Israel, then British-controlled Palestine.

In 1948, as the result of the first Israeli Arab war, his family fled to a refugee camp near Hebron, in nowadays Palestinian Authority.

Ata Abu-Rashta completed his primary and middle education at the refugee camp. He subsequently obtained his first certificate of secondary education in 1960 from the Al Hussein Bin Ali school in Hebron and later completed his general secondary certificate at the Ibrahimiya school in East Jerusalem, under Jordanian rule, in 1961. Ata Abu-Rashta then joined the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University in Egypt and graduated in civil engineering in 1966. After graduating, Ata Abu-Rashta worked in a number of Arab countries as a civil engineer and wrote a book concerning the calculation of quantities in relation to the construction of buildings and roads.

Ata Abu-Rashta joined Hizb-ut-Tahrir in the early 60s’ and integrated in the party’s activity all over the Arab World. He worked closely with Taqiuddin al Nabhani, the founder of Hizbu-ut-Tahrir, whom he knew from East Jerusalem, and with  Abd al-Qadim Zallum, who became the leader of Hizb-ut-Tahrir following Nabhani’s death in 1977. In the 1980s he was a leading member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Jordan and was appointed as the organization’s first official spokesperson.

Ata Abu-Rashta came to attention in Jordan during the second Gulf war in the 1991’ when he convened press conferences, lectures and debates at public venues throughout the country. Ata Abu-Rashta debated the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait at the Jerusalem Mosque in Amman, Jordan’s capital, at which he delivered a lecture entitled The Neo-Crusader Assault on the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf. He was regularly detained by the Jordanian authorities.

In 1994, in an interview, Ata Abu-Rashta said, “The establishment of the Caliphate is now a general demand among Muslims, who yearn for this. Before Hizb-ut-Tahrir launched its career the subject of the Caliphate was unheard of”.

Ata Abu-Rashta was designated a ‘prisoner of conscience’ by Amnesty International after his detention by the Jordanian authorities in the 1990s’. Ata Abu-Rashta completed in 2000 a three year prison sentence for an interview published in 1995 in the journal al-Hiwar (Conversation). He was later imprisoned for a further six months for membership of an ‘unlicensed organization’.

Ata Abu-Rashta became the global leader of Hizb-ut-Tahrir on 04/13/2003 following the death of Abd al-Qadim Zallum.

Since assuming the leadership of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Ata Abu-Rashta has launched his own website and has spoken at conferences in Indonesia, Pakistan, Yemen and Britain. Today (10/2008) the main activity of Ata Abu-Rashta, who is considered moderate since he does not advocate violence, is carried out through London, UK where Hizb-ut-Tahrir has a strong base of power.   


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