Chicago (US), July 19 (ANI): A group committed to establishing an international Islamic empire and reportedly linked to Al Qaeda is stepping up its Western recruitment efforts by holding its first official conference in the U.S. today.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Sunni network with reported ties to confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda in Iraq's onetime leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It has operated discreetly in the U.S. for decades.
Now, it is coming out of the shadows and openly hosting a July 19 conference entitled, "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam," at a posh Hilton hotel in a suburb of Chicago.
Hizb ut-Tahrir insists that it does not engage in terrorism, and it is not recognized by the State Department as a known terror group.
But some terrorism experts say it may be even more dangerous than many groups that are on the terror list.
"Hizb ut-Tahrir is one of the oldest, largest indoctrinating organizations for the ideology known as jihadism," Walid Phares, director of the Future of Terrorism Project at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told FOX News.
Phares said Hizb ut-Tahrir has strongholds in Western countries, including Britain, France and Spain, and clearly is looking to strengthen its base in the U.S.
"The aim of this conference is to recruit within the Muslim community in America. The Middle East governments go after them, but in the U.S. they are protected, so having a base here is going to help their cells around the world," he said.
Representatives of Hizb ut-Tahrir declined to comment when contacted by FOX News. (ANI)