Born in Hebron in 1923, Abd-el Qadim Zalloum graduated from Al-Azhar University (in Cairo) and then served a stint as a professor at that same institution. In 1977 he replaced the deceased Sheikh Taqi Nabahani as Emir (worldwide leader) of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, a position he would hold for the rest of his life.
In 1988 Zalloum published a leaflet entitled “The Islamic Rule on Hijacking Aeroplanes,” which was distributed that April in the Arabic-language journal Al-Fajr. His leaflet argued that the hijacking of airplanes was forbidden under Islamic law unless the plane contained Israelis or Jews, in which case Muslims had an an obligation to hijack the plane and murder the Jews on board. Zalloum published more of his ideas in books like Money in the Khilafa State (1983) and How the Khilafa was Destroyed (2000). The publisher of the latter book provided the following overview of its contents:
“In a very convincing manner the author has gone into various events that led to the demise of the Islamic state that was originally established by the Prophet Mohammad. He discusses how the European countries conspired against the Islamic state by arousing nationalist chauvinism and separatist tendencies among the masses. He also discusses … Mustafa Kamal’s work in destroying the Khilafah [Caliphate, or Islamic state] and how the [B]ritish supported him in undertaking various maneuvers. He also discusses the role of Al Sauds, the current government in Saudi Arabia, in destroying the Khilafah.”
Zalloum died on April 29, 2003. Because he had publicly named no one to succeed him as the head of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the identity of the organization’s subsequent leader(s) was not known.