Media Ignores Islamic Khilafah Conference in Illinois Suburbs

Media Ignores Islamic Khilafah Conference in Illinois Suburbs

You may have heard about the Islamic Khilafah Conference in Illinois that took place on Sunday. Although, it’s not likely you have heard much if anything about it from the mainstream media.

Hizb ut-Tahrir-America scheduled its fourth annual Khilafah Confernce for this past Sunday at The Meadows Club, a privately owned banquet and event facility in Rolling Meadows, IL. However after word spread of the event and more information was learned about the Hizb ut-Tahrir, calls were made to stop the conference from taking place.

According to David Horowitz’s Discover the Networks, Hizb ut-Tahrir (Arabic for “The Party of Liberation”) is a political party, more than a religious one, and works within the Ummah (community of believers)… to restore the Khilafah (Caliphate, or Islamic Kingdom) with the long term objective to replace existing governments and bring about a worldwide Islamic state under the Shari’ah (Islamic Law).

The American Muslim Forum for Democracy says Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the group that hosts the meeting, is a radical organization that promotes worldwide jihad, and targets young children to join their movement. The following excerpt comes from AMFD’s 2009 call for Muslim organizations to denounce and condemn the Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an Islamist network that is committed to creating an Islamic Caliphate that spans the globe. The organization is banned in Germany and Russia as well as several Arab countries and targets Muslim children between the ages of 9 and 18. Many compare their efforts to organizations like the Hitler Youth. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, is counted among their alumnus.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann highlighted the need to prevent the meeting from taking place at last week’s CPAC Chicago conservative conference and called on President Obama to support the calls to shut down the radical meeting. Bachman explained this was not an attempt to shut down freedom of speech or religion, rather the conference had the purpose of bringing down the United States government. Bachmann stirred the audiences emotions further after she showed the following video from the groups website used to promote the conference.

Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh joined Bachmann in calling for the cancellation of the conference and after public pressure, the owner of The Meadows Club, Madan Kulkarni did cancel the event.

The Daily Herald reported, “Kulkarni said his business received ‘tons’ of emails and calls from conservatives warning there would be protests if the event went on as scheduled.”

Along with the Daily Herald, Fox News Chicago, WGN News, The Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, and ABC 7 News Chicago decided to cover the event’s cancellation at The Meadows Club. CBS 2 News, NBC 5 Chicago, and the Chicago Sun-Times did not. And only the Daily Herald provided any follow up coverage, with their report that the event successfully secured a new location, The Lexington House, in Hickory Hills, IL.

Perhaps even more surprising–or perhaps not so much–is that not one of these media outlets that covered the event’s cancellation or those who didn’t, ever followed up to cover the actual conference itself. One would think that a conference so controversial in nature, enough so, that public pressure was strong enough to cause its cancellation; that at least one of the media outlets that found that news worthy of covering, might just also happen to find the conference worth covering itself. But they didn’t.

Citizen Journalist, Victor Maggio, who covered the conference for, said he was the only American reporter there. Two other reporters were also there, one from the U.K. Telegraph and another European reporter (presumably AP). So far Maggio’s account is the only report filed about the conference.

The conference was apparently live streamed over the Internet, however, Maggio said the live stream that was left up on the site for viewing was edited and did not show the discussion panels in their entirety. (It has subsequently been removed from the website.) Signs prominently warned that video recording, audio recording and photography were strictly prohibited inside but Maggio and the other two reporters were permitted to audio record an interview with Dr. Mohammed Malkawi (aka: Abu Talha) the Deputy Spokesperson for Hizb ut-Tahrir. Dr. Malkawi was also the only fully identified speaker at the conference. The rest remained anonymous, only providing their first names. (Presumably because of the small media presence that did show up.)

Maggio noted in his report that the event conveyed an overarching message staunchly opposing capitalism and American democracy, that Jews and Christians won’t be happy with Muslims until they adopt their way of life, and that the fall of communism along with the decline of capitalism sends a clear message that the rise of Islam is imminent. While claiming to be a peaceful and non-violent movement, Maggio noticed one of their diagrams displaying the structure of the Shari’ah government cabinet, listing a private secretary in charge of Jihad, and the conference was of course dominated with sessions chanting “Allahu Akbar.”

In his post conference interview, Dr. Malkawi told Maggio that the goal of Hizb ut-Tahrir is to re-establish the Islamic Caliphate, but only for Muslim countries. When Maggio pressed further, Dr. Malkawi admitted that it isn’t possible to restore the Caliphate in non-Muslim countries. That comment suggests that as the Muslim population increases in the West, the possibility for a world dominated by Shari’ah law does exist, at least in the minds of those who seek it.

Despite the controversy behind the conference, and the calls to condemn the organization by other “less radical” Muslim organizations, the Chicago media for only saw fit to cover the event’s cancellation.

After reporting on the cancellation, shouldn’t the media want to find out what the conference was actually about? Was it rescheduled? Were the residents that complained blowing things out of proportion?

Or, were the opponents of the conference right? And did they deserve to know more about the conference that was cancelled, was in fact still taking place in their own back yard?