Islam4UK Ban

The recent announcement by Anjem Choudary for a demonstration at Wootton Bassett has caused the intended media flap and reactions from many sides. Knight in White Supremacist Armour Nick Griffin of the BNP is going to manfully oppose it by physically blocking the road with Richard Barnbrook and Andrew Brons. Given the amount of free lunches Griffin is now swilling down at the EU trough, he could probably do this by himself. The English Defence League (EDL) immediately issued a call to arms and their forum claims 1200 new members following the announcement;[1] Gordon Brown said that the march would be “completely inappropriate” (Steady on!);  members, families and supporters of the armed forces were understandably insulted; and the Muslim community is under enough pressure without this unnecessary provocation raising more anti-Islamic sentiment.

A Facebook group set up and gathered ½ million members claiming that it is “not an anti-Muslim group. This is a non-political group.” [2] The creator Jo Cleary is a supporter of British troops but Michael Parker, one of the admins, is an admirer of Nick Griffin [3] and Stuart Toman, another admin, is a member of “If you live in England, speak English” group. [4] Whatever Cleary’s intentions, it is clear that the event is going to be hijacked by members of the far-right and not only Griffin but the more extreme and violently racist crowd.

Choudary has done this kind of thing before but on a much smaller scale. In October Islam4UK announced a march in central London which they then called off following ‘threats.’ An interesting side note is that the EDL and Combat 18 turned up to oppose it  and had a slight spat which ended in one C18 member getting hit with a fire extinguisher and this has caused bad blood ever since between them.

Islam4UK

Islam4UK are connected to the illegal Al Muhajiroun who advocate Sharia law and are pro-Al Qaeda. I4UK also kicked off the fuss in England about the Danish cartoons which only helped circulate them more widely. Most people would never have seen them if he had not started on about it. That deliberate provocation is part of Choudary’s strategy (whatever that may be) is clear by the group’s antagonistic choice of name. He knows that the decision to march  is an inflammatory one and that it could well be banned. If it goes ahead it will certainly be closely contained by the cops and massively opposed by local residents, ex-members of the armed forces, their families and their supporters. The BNP and the EDL have already announced their intentions. If it is banned then Choudary will have achieved a pretty unique media scoop by simply writing a letter. It is not necessary to be a fervent militarist to see that this march is 1/ stupid, 2/ deliberately calculated, 3/ publicity guaranteed and 4/ that it will end in tears.

The Islam4UK website is currently down but the Telegraph [5] quotes some unrealistic demands that seem suspicious. They want to turn Buckingham Palace into a mosque, ban alcohol and flog drunks: they have more chance of opening a McDonalds in Mecca. All these demands are impossible and clearly provocative which begs the question, what are they actually doing and for whom? Without getting too conspiracy theorist, do they really think they can make the UK an Islamic state? Are these actions for publicity? And if so for what purpose? To publicise the ‘Islamic movement’? Magnify the ego of a vain Messianic? Or does the publicity attract violent extremists into a context where they be easily monitored by the state in the same way that Combat 18 was alleged to have been. That Choudary is in direct pay of the state is unlikely, although he does sign on, but it is not a difficult task to infiltrate and coerce a group using agents. It is documented that  state agencies have been trying to recruit Muslims faced with legal difficulties, prison sentences or deportation orders to spy on their communities. [6] Or perhaps the state agencies know that these groups often form, fragment and crumble by themselves with only a little ‘guidance’ to prevent mass outrage. Are they sitting back observing an  essentially deluded gang of  idiots full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

Nazi Chat

As usual the Nazi forums have got a lot to say on the matter. On NWN one said:

“could Mr Choudary be working for the secret services to whip up enough hatred against them that the British people won’t bat an eyelid when our army bombs Iran?”

And another replied:

“My thoughts exactly, whatever the reasoning, the march shouldn’t be allowed.” [7]

Over on VNN one poster fretted about possible negative publicity: “EDL and co – PLEASE stay away. A photo of one of you lot giving Roman [sic] salutes behind Nick, Andrew or Richard is NOT NEEDED!” [8]

Nick Griffin’s publicity statement co-opts the Spanish anti-fascist No Pasaran! which has annoyed some posters and the National Front are miffed at Griffin’s stunt claiming that  this was “our idea first” [9] before accusing Griffin of being a “splitter.”  They then ask that the BNP stand with them on the frontline but the idea of Nick Griffin joining hands with the likes of Eddy Morrison and the NF is as bizarre as it is unrealisable.

At the time of going to press Choudary has said he will call off the march if I4UK can meet Gordon the Brown to discuss Afghanistan. Again, this is dancing in the media spotlight to a very feeble tune: the idea that Brown would talk to him is clearly a non-starter and Choudary knows it. After all, he represents very, very few people. And so does Choudary. This impossible demand will keep Islam4UK in the spotlight that they crave. If the march goes ahead there is the potential of violent altercation between marchers and protestors, EDL/BNP doing battle with the cops or each other and any other counter-counter-demonstrators that turn up. Choudary’s actions will only encourage more racist sentiment in the UK and do little to hinder the cause of the BNP. Alongside the  publicity for Islam4UK will be that for the BNP and the EDL who will capitalise on areas of racist tension for their own nefarious ends. It’s a publicity win/win for all concerned: Choudary gets his; the BNP and EDL get theirs, even the NF were on the front of the Swindon Advertiser. [10] The far-right want this kind of thing to happen to ‘unite’ in a ‘common cause’ with people who ordinarily find their views abhorrent by showing “the true face of Islam.”[11]

Conclusion

Does Choudary really think the UK will convert wholesale to Islam? And if it won’t, which it clearly won’t, then why waste all this time and effort? And if the UK is so bloody awful why stay? Given these unrealistic demands, what is he really doing and who for?

 Anarchists and radical leftists should treat Islam like any other religion or repressive  ideology. Condemning fundamentalist Islam and Islam4UK is not ‘racist’: Islam is an ideology not a race. Anarchists and radicals must see Choudary as an intolerant ideologue. We support neither Islam4UK nor the right wing who will make this protest theirs.

‘Malatesta’

 

NB: all material by ‘Malatesta’ is copyright free.

Please pass it on to anyone who may find it useful.

[1] http://s1.zetaboards.com/EDL_The_Forum/topic/2740969/1/#new

[2] http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=nf&gid=228021139869

[3] http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/profile.php?id=1510269961

[4] http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=228021139869&ref=search&sid=1430035730.3616934592..1#/profile.php?id=100000522363757

[5] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/6931212/What-is-Islam4UK.html

[6] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mi5-still-using-threats-to-recruit-muslim-spies-1857750.html

[7] http://www.nwn-forum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=3118&page=2

[8] http://www.vnnforum.com/showthread.php?s=8f24f966fa921540568f84c573fddd6e&t=105881

[9] http://www.national-front.org.uk/cynical.htm

[10] http://www.national-front.org.uk/swindonnf3.htm

[11] http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?t=670677

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About malatesta32

Malatesta, undercover anti-fascist blogger, has analyzed the changing fortunes of the British far right since 2009. He has written for the anarchist magazine Freedom and the book, Militant Anti-Fascism: 100 Years Of Resistance (AK Press 2015). http://www.akuk.com/index.php?_a=product&product_id=7285
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