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.
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