Thereby illustrating the uselessness of such laws.
“Islamic radicals make mockery of hate laws,” by David Cohen for the Evening Standard, November 10 (thanks to Paul):
JUST days after Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced tough new measures to name and shame foreign-based extremists and prevent them coming from abroad to stir up hatred in the UK, firebrand preacher Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad cocked a snook at her new initiative, the Evening Standard can reveal.
More than 200 Muslims at a packed public meeting in Tower Hamlets were told by organiser Anjem Choudary: “We have a special surprise, a special treat for you. Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad will be joining us on a live feed from Lebanon.” He added: “As Muslims, we will not submit to any man-made law, any government, or any prime minister – Bush or Brown – or [to] Jacqui Smith. We submit to Allah.”
Choudary, who with Bakri led the fanatical Al-Muhajiroun organisation – notorious for its glorification of terrorism and the 9/11 attacks before its banning and dissolution in 2004 -warmed up the crowd, two Sundays ago, with his own inflammatory rhetoric.
“It is our religious obligation to prepare ourselves both physically and mentally and rise up against Muslim oppression and take what is rightfully ours,” he said. “Jihad is a duty and a struggle and an obligation that lies upon the shoulders of us all. We will not rest until the flag of Allah and the flag of Islam is raised above 10 Downing Street.”
To loud cheers of “Allah Akbar” [God is great], he railed: “There are three types of Muslims, those in prison, those of us that are on our way [to prison] and non-practising Muslims. Brothers and sisters, if you do not fear your home being raided by the Kufar [non-believer] police, you are not enforcing the Sharia.”
Imagine what the response would be from Muslims in America if I had said something like, “There are three types of Muslims, those in prison, those of us that are on our way [to prison] and non-practising Muslims.” Yet Ibrahim Hooper, Sheila Musaji, Bob Crane, and MSA chapters all over the country seem to be far angrier with me than they are with Anjem Chaudary. Now, why is that?
Later, in front of a huge banner that exhorted “Muslims rise against British oppression”, he introduced the star turn, 50-year-old Omar Bakri, who was standing by in Lebanon. A giant screen, six-feet high and six-feet wide, had been set up to project the image of the extremist known as “the Tottenham Ayatollah”. He was refused re-entry to the UK in 2005 as “not conducive to the public good” after vowing that Muslims would “give the West a 9/11 day after day after day”….
Apart from a group of elders with long groomed white beards sitting in the front row, most of the 200 men in attendance were Muslims in their late teens or early 20s, mostly dressed in shalwar kameez with westernised accessories – trainers, hoodies and jackets. At the back of the hall, segregated by partitions, were more than 50 women wearing burkhas.
“Do not obey the British law,” Bakri told them. He praised his hero Osama bin Laden for being a warrior and exclaimed: “We must fight and die for Islam – this is the map and road to Jennah [heaven].” He said that Muslims did not need to obey man-made laws and that if anyone ordered them to, they should say they are Muslims “loud and proud”. He branded the new anti-extremist laws “crazy”.
Indeed, it is the new rules, announced two weeks ago by Jacqui Smith, that are meant to prevent “preachers of hate from spreading extremism in our communities”. Yet here was Bakri doing just that, potentially grooming the next batch of homegrown suicide bombers. And there was not a uniformed police officer in sight.
The four-hour meeting, organised by Choudary using a website called Islam For The UK, took place right under the noses of Tower Hamlets council in a community arts centre the council rents out at Â£78 an hour. But neither the council nor the police nor the Home Office appeared to realise that Bakri had broadcast live into the heart of London.
Were the organisers – and perhaps Tower Hamlets council – in breach of the law for allowing Bakri to speak?
Nobody seemed to know. A Home Office spokeswoman said: “This appears to be something that the new measures, which only prevent individuals from coming here and spreading their hate in person, do not cover.”
Later, in a prepared statement, the Home Office said: “The UK is determined to stop those who spread extremism through preaching violent messages in our communities, but it is for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate any breach of the law.”
When told of this, a Metropolitan Police spokesman was nonplussed. “It’s the Home Office that makes the laws,” he said. “If it doesn’t know whether something is against the law, then who does?”…
The event, billed as a conference to “rise to defend the honour of the Muslims”, had been advertised on several extremist websites with links to the Islam For The UK website, which calls for Sharia law to be introduced into Britain. Beyond a kiosk selling home-made curry and Coca-Cola for Â£3 and a table where Islamic DVDs were for sale at Â£2 a copy, was a main hall where the audience prayed in Arabic before the meeting got under way.
Besides Bakri, there were three other speakers: Abu Muaz, head of the UK Salafi Youth Movement; Abu Yahya, spokesman for the Followers of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’aah, and Abu Rumaysah, a student at the London School of Shari’ah.
Each spoke for 40 minutes, their talks interspersed with video clips from Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo that were designed to fuel the meeting’s “grievance theme” of Muslims being oppressed by Britain and the West. As an example of this oppression, one speaker said: “In the UK, terrorists get 40 years in prison whereas murderers and paedophiles walk free after five years.”
Abu Muaz spoke out against UK imams, claiming they are too soft and tolerant. He said that “speech was not enough” and that it was time to “take action”. “You must destroy the West,” he declared.
But the most provocative was student leader Abu Rumaysah, who spoke to the crowd as if they were trainee terrorists. “Delete unnecessary material from your computers, take precautions not to attract attention to yourself and prepare your family for [police] raids,” he said. He added that they should support the families of Muslims who were arrested and that Islam will only take over the UK if Muslims are proactive and enforce Sharia law in their own communities.
“Women need to be covered up, men lashed for fornication [outside marriage] and hands cut off for theft and breaking Sharia law,” he said.
When a woman in a burkha asked how he could justify this when Islam was supposed to be a religion of peace, the crowd mocked her. But it was Choudary who rose to put her in her place. “Islam is not a religion of peace,” he said. “It is a religion of submission. We need to submit to the will of Allah.”
Later the Standard asked Choudary whether telling young British Muslims to “rise up” was inciting them to violence? He laughed. “By ‘rise up’ I mean rise up and air your views,” he said. It was classic Choudary double-speak. His audience clearly gets his intent. But with the Home Office undecided about such gatherings, he seems to know exactly how far he can go and still get away with it.