Monthly Archives: January 2010

Radical Muslim group banned under UK terrorism laws

This is a story written as part of ‘reporting week’ for my MA. The opportunity to interview Anjem Choudary was unexpected, but a great experience.

The radical Muslim group which planned a march through Wooten Basset has today been banned under UK Terrorism laws by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

The group, Islam4UK has appeared under many names including Al-Muhajiroun. Mr Johnson’s ruling makes it a criminal offence to be a member of Islam 4 UK and also applies to the various other names under which the organisation is known. If someone is found to be a member of the group they could face up to ten years in prison.

Anjem Choudary is the leader of the group in the UK

Mr Anjem Choudary, the head of Al-Muhajiroun in the UK said the group will not take action to try and get the ruling overturned: “its a great honour and privilege to be banned by this oppressive regime. The people who are supposed to give us freedom and democracy are doing the exact opposite.”

Although the ban means membership of the group is now a criminal offence, Mr Choudary does not see this as a problem. He said: “We won’t use the names. I’m going to continue doing my duty and working for the good of the Muslim community.”

‘The Terrorism Act (2000)’

The groups were banned under the 2000 Terrorism Act. under this act, a group can be banned if it: “commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for, promotes or encourages terrorism or is otherwise concerned in terrorism”.

Mr Choudary refused any link with terrorist organisations saying: “calling for Sharia law and exposing the British government’s lies and deceit in their foreign policy does not make me a terrorist.”

Islam4UK has criticised the government on a number of occasions. Their aim is to highlight the plight of Muslims under the law in this country and promote the introduction of Sharia law. The group recently planned a march through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset to highlight the number of Muslim casualities in the Afghanistan war and to draw attention to the government’s ‘biased’ foreign policy.

The proposed march was called off after the group claimed they had acheived their goal of gaining publicity.  Reports they were planning to carry 500 coffins through the Wiltshire town were denied on a statement on the group’s website: “If we were to do that the parade of bodies would probably reach all the way from Wootton Bassett to London”

By Nick Higgins


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Good riddance Big Brother

The current series of Celebrity Big Brother has two contestants with links to Harrow and the surrounding area. UK grime artist Lady Sovereign was born down the road in Wembley, whilst ex-footballer, turned film-star and all round hard man, Vinnie Jones began his footballing career at Wealdstone in 1984.

Vinnie and ‘Sov’ will be the last celebrities to live in the house as the programme is set to be scrapped by channel 4 after it’s eleventh regular series this summer. The question is, will anybody actually miss the show when the doors close behind the winning contestant for the last time?

When it first aired in the UK in 2000, it was immediately apparent that Big Brother would become the Marmite of British television. You would either love it or hate it. However, as the series’ have dragged on and the ratings have fallen, one gets the impression that most people would sooner eat a whole pot of Marmite in one go, than take an active interest in the show.

A common excuse for being a fan of Big Brother is that you can watch it once and become addicted. On that premise it should be regarded as dangerous as heroin. People wind up watching it religiously every night hiding behind the simple excuse: ‘I’m just addicted’. Strangely, these people never seem to want to be addicted and never have withdrawal symptoms after the series finishes.

‘Random and pointless’

The most striking evidence that nobody will miss Big Brother is the fact that the winner of the show, the public’s favourite out of all the contestants, fades into immediate obscurity once the doors close and the cameras are turned off.

The only time you might actually hear or see ex-housemates is when they appear on one of Big Brother’s countless ‘sister shows’ which seem to be on constant repeat on E4. One of these shows is Big Brother’s Little Brother. It consists of pointless games and quizzes which are only vaguely related to happenings in the house.

An example of just how random and pointless this program can get was seen on Wednesday when presenter George Lamb conducted an investigation into the size of celebrity housemate Ivana Trump’s earlobes. In essence these shows take up valuable air time and serve a very small audience.

It is not just Big Brother’s sister shows which are a waste of airtime. If you want more than your scheduled daily dose of ‘reality’, rest assured you can always watch your favourite housemates sleeping on live coverage throughout the night. Most would agree that watching people sleep is not only unnecessary, but, more importantly, just about as boring as television can get. On that premise, this particular aspect of the show will certainly not be missed when Big Brother finishes for good later this year.

‘Mind-numbing nonsense’

Some of the happenings in the house are just completely maniacal. Just this week viewers were made to endure footage of two naked ‘celebrities’ childishly giggling whilst kicking snow at each other in the Big Brother garden. ‘Great TV’ you might say, but it is never long before you stop and realise that this is, in fact, just mind-numbing nonsense. At that point you are filled with a feeling of disturbing guilt as you realise you will never get those ten minutes of your life back.

The ‘noughties’ was the decade of reality television but it seems the ‘glory days’ of Big Brother have all but disappeared. Reality television is still a successful concept, but the continued success of programmes such as the X factor and Strictly Come Dancing shows that people are now more interested in watching something which requires, at the very least, a little talent.

When a programme has been running for ten years you might expect it to live long in the memory of the viewing public. However, I do not think anyone will be surprised when Big Brother quickly fades into a distant memory of a time that once was.

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