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Will Britain Pass the Choudary Test?


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anjem-choudary-extremismGatestone Institute:

Douglas Murray

August 12, 2015

 

If there was a single flaw in the British Prime Minister's recent speech on countering extremism in the UK, it might be encapsulated in the name "Anjem Choudary." His speech went into terrific detail on the significance of tacking radicalism through the education system, the Charity Commission, the broadcasting license authority and numerous other means. But it failed the Choudary test.

 

That test is: What do you do about a British-born man who is qualified to work but appears never to have done so, and who instead spends his time taking his "dole" money and using it to fund a lifestyle devoted solely to preaching against the state?

 

The problem is not quite as straightforward as some commentators make out. The fact that Choudary is British-born and a British citizen makes it legally impossible for Britain to withdraw his citizenship or otherwise render him "stateless." He has a young family who cannot be allowed to starve on the streets, even if he could. These are admittedly late liberalism problems, but they are problems nonetheless.

 

On the other hand, what the state has allowed from Choudary in recent years looks more like a late Weimar problem. Choudary is not merely a blowhard pseudo-cleric with perhaps never more than a hundred followers at any one time -- although this is certainly the part of his persona that has garnered most attention. Indeed, his attention-seeking is perhaps the only first-rate skill he has. For instance, there was the time he claimed he was planning a "March for Sharia" through the centre of London, culminating at the gates of Buckingham Palace with a demand that the Queen submit to Islam. Having garnered the publicity he desired, Choudary cancelled his march not because there was a fairly measly counter-demo (of which this author was a part) but because his "March for Sharia" would have been unlikely to gather more than a few dozen attendees, and would most likely have descended into a "stroll inviting ridicule," at best.

 

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UK: Anjem Choudary Charged With Supporting Islamic State

Soeren Kern

August 9, 2015

 

Anjem Choudary, one of the most outspoken and provocative Islamists in Britain today, has been remanded in custody, charged with the terrorism offense of encouraging people to join the Islamic State.

 

The charge is related to Choudary sending messages to his 32,000 social media followers, allegedly encouraging them to join the Islamic State -- the radical Sunni Islamist group that has taken control over large parts of Syria and Iraq, and has threatened to attack targets in Europe and North America.

 

(Snip)


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