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Islam4UK and Quilliam director on Newsnight 14, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Islam, UK.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Newsnight on BBC2 had an excellent segment interviewing Anjem Choudary from Islam4UK and Maajid Nawaz from the Quilliam Foundation, the counter extremist organisation.

The introductory film showed the evolution of various extreme Islamic groups in the UK along with, for example, interviews with radicals praising the 9/11 attacks. There was a readily identifiable pattern of a group getting more publicity, their pronouncements becoming more and more extreme until they brazenly advocate violence until they were proscribed as a group by the government. These people then set up another group/party and the cycle began again. Islam4UK is but the latest organisation in this line and has just been banned by the government. Numerous members (at least 20) of these groups have been convicted on terrorist offences.

Islam4UK came to prominence recently when they stated that they would conduct a march through Wootton Bassett, the small town in Wiltshire that (all too) regularly hosts parades for members of the British military that lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though some reports differ, many suggest that Islam4UK were going to carry empty coffins (or something like them) representing the large numbers of Muslims killed directly or indirectly by British forces. The march has since been cancelled. Yet Islam4UK’s main goal – that of accruing more publicity – has clearly been attained.

The video of the exchange can be seen in BBC Iplayer though, as always, only for a month.

Choudary begins by asserting that the fact that his organisation has just been banned is a good thing for Muslims. It shows, he states, the hypocrisy of the British Government, proclaiming freedom of speech, democratic values etc yet banning Muslim organisations.

Enter Majid Nawaz from Quilliam. He is superb. Firstly, he asks whether ‘one hair on your [sic] head’ has been touched by the British authorities. Choudary, obviously enough, obfuscates at this point. Nawaz continues to point out that Choudary has never been to prison or been arrested and that he even takes thousands of pounds for the British government and tax payer each year on the dole (benefit). Moreover, Nawaz suggests that the fact that he is on the BBC’s flagship news programme discussing his party is a testament to the strength of the values that he suggested were not present. It is when members of his organisation(s) and their ilk begin to call for martyrdom operations and the like that they are then shut down. Until this point, Choudary and those like him can, have and will continue to castigate the government and maintain that attacks such 7/7 are legitimate and that British civilians deserve to be killed.

Nawaz’s second question that he puts to Choudary is equally devastating. He asks that given Choudary calls for and predicts that Islam will one say ‘take over’ the UK under some kind of Caliphate, whether Choudary would have him [Nawaz] killed as an apostate. Choudary continually refuses to answer the question and looks ridiculous in the process. He confirms that Nawaz is indeed an apostate and that he would be thus judged by an Islamic judge and “you know the punishment” which is to say that, yes, he would have Nawaz executed.

My automatic reaction to people like Choudary and those carrying placards, for example, demanding death for the Danish cartoonist is to boot them out of the country. They clearly don’t like being here so escort them to Heathrow and wave goodbye. Yet this, I do realise, is hardly an answer. Interviews like this Newsnight one are, I think, excellent and are perhaps a significant part of the answer. When Choudary et al are exposed in a format like this their vile opinions are there for all to see. I firmly believe that from this interview Choudary will not receive any more support, if not the exact opposite. Moreover, I wonder whether it is safer, in the grander scheme of things, to keep people like Choudary in this country. If he were in, say, Pakistan, he would melt away and – I’ve no doubts – become rather more active in the ‘doing’ as opposed to the ‘protelyzing’ side of things. So, following on from ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ let’s keep the Choudarys of this world here, let’s expose their ideas to more people and, most importantly, let’s make sure the their every movement, conversation, telephone call and computer keystroke is wholly and utterly monitored by the good people in Thames House.


1. Joe Dyke - 17, January 2010

If you are interested in Islam4UK read my exclusive interview with their leader Anjem Choudary


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