This is a summary of two articles on Hizb ut-Tahrir's attempt to cooperate with the larger Muslim community and the Copenhagen's imams agreement to do so. As Naser Khader points out at the end, cooperation can only mean something if you agree on basic terms.
The following is from Hizb ut-Tahrir's "Dangerous Concepts to attack Islam and consolidate the Western Culture":
It is incumbent on Muslims to be clear that the task of the Islamic State after its establishment is restricted to Shar'a. Whether it is internal such as looking after the affairs of the people and implementing the Hudood (penal code), or external such as conveying Islam though Jihad to the all mankind and destroying the material obstacles that are a barrier to the implementation of Islam.
Apparently, Danish imams do not see a problem with that.
Hizb ut-Tahrir invited four of Copenhagen's more well known imams, who are generally not associated with the movement, to their assembly at Nørrebro last Sunday.
Mostafa Chendid, of the Islamic Society, Muhammed Albarazi of the Islamic Association, Abu Suheib of the Islamic Cultre Center and Muhammed al-Banna of the Taiba mosque.
They had been invited by Hizb ut-Tahrir to debate the challenges facing Muslims in Denmark and to work towards cooperation between them.
The party, which is known for its aggressive rhetoric and defiant attitude towards Danish society now wants to contribute to helping solve social problems. After the summer vacation Hizb ut-Tahrir will arrage several debate meeting on terror and the Iraq war, says their spokesperson Fadi Abdullatif. He says there had been contact earlier but that it will be done in a more structured way now and that they will work for things that everybody agrees on, such as fighting criminality, social marginalization among Muslims and threats to the Danish community.
Torben Rugberg Rasmussen from Syddansk University, who has researched the movement, says it is unusual since Hizb ut-Tahrir had always worked alone with its own strict interpretation of Islam.
The Islamic Society sees Hizb ut-Tahrir's invitation as a positive thing. Kasem Ahmad's, their spokesperson, says that they each have their own theology and politics which can not be reconciled, but that they can work together for their mutual interests. He already sees possible cooperation for the Copenhagen mosque, demonstrations and working on divorce councils. He knows that working with Hizb ut-Tahrir can be controversial and says that if they feel the cooperation will work against them, they will stop it.
Imams Mohammed Albarazi and Abdul Wahid Pedersen are open for dialog but are waiting for more concrete actions before taking a stand. Pedersen points out that he can't ignore the pull they have on many young people and that they have helped them out of criminal life.
These imams are considered authorities not only among the Muslims, but also by the Danish authorities and Danish Security Intelligence Service who have had discussions with them about important issues such as integration and terror.
Torben Rugberg Rasmussen says that Hizb ut-Tahrir is working with these Muslim leaders for a reason. Hizb ut-Tahrir's agenda does not include integration. Their current strategy had much opposition, and by working together with other Muslim leaders they show up as more respectable.
Tina Magaard, an Islam researcher from Aarhus University, is surprised at Hizb ut-Tahrir's new line but says at the some time that the movement and the Islamic Society have potential for working together since they both work towards a parallel legal system that will apply to Muslims and by working together they can achieve much more.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Germany and the Netherlands due to their anti-democratic opinions. However, Torben Rugberg Rasmussen thinks there's no need necessarily for concern if they work together with the Islamic Society, who were one of the major players in the Muhammed crisis. He says it shows that there's a religious, political process which shows an interesting movement within the community.
Tina Magaard is more skeptical. She says she was always critical of the government's dependence on, for example, the Islamic Society whose agenda is not that different in many areas than Hizb ut-Tahrir's. This new cooperation will not further integration for Muslims, when people are defined as Muslims first and citizens later and when non-liberal imams decide on what it means to be a Muslim.
Abdul Wahid Pedersen points out that the meeting which kick-started the new cooperation had put Arabic aside for four hours.
Naser Khader, Ny Alliance's leader, doesn't believe Hizb ut-Tahrir's good intentions, but the movement's image among the people is so bad that they needed to do something, he thinks. He says he does not understand the imams who agreed to work together with them. He says he himself could talk with neo-Nazis, but that cooperation will never mean anything due to their differing points of view.
Source: Berlingske 1, 2 (Danish)
See also: Copenhagen: Hizb ut-Tahrir kindergarten, Copenhagen: Hizb ut-Tahrir protest