Vive Charlie Issue 19 - Page 6

Anjem Choudary joined Sean Hannity and Pamela Geller recently on Fox News to discuss whether she should face the death penalty for organising the controversial ‘Draw Mohammed Contest’. One arsehole to another, Hannity asked Choudary whether he thought homosexuals should also be killed - to which he replied “if they do the act publicly and there are witnesses – it does carry capital punishment, yes.” But what if it happens by surprise, having dropped the soap in a prison shower? This is a question he might soon have to think about - as he found himself in court this last week.

So what exactly were the charges? According to the Crown Prosecution Service “Between 29th June 2014 and 6th March 2015, Anjem Choudary invited support for a proscribed terrorist organisation, namely ISIL, also known as ISIS or the Islamic State”.

Of course he supports the creation of a caliphate and the implementation of the Sharia – it’s basically his catchphrase. And he has a long and well documented history of endorsing the actions of ‘proscribed terrorist organisations’. But as a lawyer, Choudary has always chosen his words carefully – which makes his arrest this week all the more intriguing. It’s unlikely that he had a nine month lapse in concentration, and was wistfully blurting out his murderous intentions at any given chance - so what’s changed?

In a recent speech on extremism, David Cameron said “We need to put out of action the key extremist influencers who are careful to operate just inside the law, but who clearly detest British society and everything we stand for”.

It’s nice to see that the Government are finally taking note of the public mood around such despicable takers-of-piss, but rather than betraying our liberal principles by locking away

token bogeymen for thought crimes, surely the best way to counter this threat is by removing the legal and societal barriers which have thus far prevented a reasoned debate.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a former leader of UKIP, is currently launching an initiative called Shall We Talk About Islam - adding that those that do are “branded Islamophobic racists or accused of stirring up religious hatred”. This could well be true in the case of Lord Pearson, it doesn’t really matter. But the fact that the mere suggestion of talking about Islam is being greeted with such hostility should set alarm bells ringing.

It’s ironic that the EDL only rose to prominence as a result of Choudary’s own Wooten Bassett protest of 2010. Following the protests, a 'swarm' of shaven heads and England flags, helped to conflate racism and the criticism of Islam in the public consciousness. Islamophobia, a term made up in the nineties, suddenly had a hideous face.

But the only real mental disorder here is the Government’s Islamophrenia: Being tough on Islamic fundamentalists, while insisting they have nothing to do with the fundamentals of Islam.

That said, Cameron’s speech did contained one important observation:

“The fact is from Woolwich to Tunisia, from Ottawa to Bali, these murderers all spout the same twisted narrative, one that claims to be based on a particular faith. Now it is an exercise in futility to deny that. And more than that, it can be dangerous. To deny it has anything to do with Islam means you disempower the critical reforming voices”.

It’s not just bigots who are affected by this stifling environment, it's Muslims too.

Anjem Choudary: Lock up the literalists but don’t discuss the book!

By Otto Squire, Freelance Journalist

'Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm'. So either I'm a huge success, or Churchill's a liar.

@OttoSquire HuffingtonPost