Who is that marching in Brick Lane? It's the Media 's favourite Muslim!
A GROUP claiming to uphold Muslim law announced its attention of marching in Brick Lane this afternoon, against the evils of alcohol. Well, I can understand some residents might be tired of the swell of boozy tourists (and worse) on their street at weekends, and I could manage a curry without the obligatory pint of lager.
They would not be the first place in Britain to declare a dry area, after all some Welsh communities did it long before the arrival of any Muslims. And though you would not think so to look at most of today's Left and labour movement, Temperance and teetotalism have been traditional among some socialists.
Still, a quieter Brick Lane without a pub might not be so good for the restaurant trade, nor popular with the young men out on the street touting for its customers. And if residents wanted a change or even stricter licensing they are quite capable of raising the issue with their local councillors.
My suspicion that this march might not be quite what it seems was reinforced by reading the report in the East London Advertiser.
It quoted a spokesman for the "Sharia Project" called Abu Rumaysah, 30, who said: “There’s a lot of problems in the area like anti-social behaviour caused by drinking and a lot of the Muslims are involved in selling alcohol in their shops.”
He added: “The one who is not a Muslim is already going to the hell fire. The one who drinks or sells alcohol ... God can forgive if he mends his ways.”
Mr Rumaysah, who lives in Waltham Forest where the group is based, said hate preacher Anjem Choudary is one of its “mentors”.
Well fancy that! And they know all about anti-social behaviour in Waltham Forest, only it's not all fuelled by alcohol. There's more than one kind of booze.
Last week three young men were jailed for a campaign to impose their version of Sharia Law. The court heard that two Muslim converts, Jordan Horner, 19 and Ricardo McFarlane, 26, roamed the streets in the early hours of the morning and confronted members of the public, berating them for their alleged anti-Islamic behaviour. They threatened to ‘kill non believers’ and ‘shank’ - stab - them and uploaded videos to Youtube criticising non-Muslims for being inappropriately dressed.
Around 4am on January 6 of this year Horner, McFarlane and a group of men in Muslim dress approached a group of five men walking along the street, snatched cans of beer out of their hands before emptying them into the gutter. Horner, who is white and sports a ginger beard, demanded: 'Why are you poisoning your body? It is against Islam. This is Muslim Patrol. Kill the non-believers.'
Horner, described as close to preacher Anjem Choudary, punched two of the men, but denied hitting a third. He and a 23-year-old also threatened a man and two doctors Claire Coyle and Robert Gray around the Bethnal Green Road and Great Eastern Street areas of east London on December 19 last year and January 13 this year.
At an earlier hearing the prosecutor said:
: 'The victims describe the main aggressor as being ginger with a ginger beard. And one victim said the white ginger male punched him in the jaw. It was a group attack and a religiously aggravated assault.'
The 23-year-old of Finsbury Park, north London, who has convictions for section 4 offences in April of last year, handling stolen goods and dishonesty, was remanded back into custody.
The Daily Mail had a picture of the not too bright looking nineteen year old slugger standing in a group with "hate preacher" Anjem Choudary, an ex-solicitor whom other Muslims say has few qualifications as preacher. and none whatsoever in Sharia law. But it was not the first time that paper featured Horner, or Choudary, in Waltham Forest. An article published in 2011 claimed Choudary and his chums had support from local Muslims to impose Sharia law in the London borough, and was illustrated with a photograph of "Jamaal Uddin" -alias Jordan Horner -putting up a poster announcing this was now a "Sharia law zone".
This kind of publicity, way out of proportion to Choudary's miniscule following, was presumably what encouraged the English Defence League(EDL) to think it could march into Walthamstow in 2012 and be welcomed by the non-Muslim population grateful to be liberated from alien rule. As we know not all the Metropolitan Police could get them through, though they did get a "warm welcome"!
As for imposing Sharia law, the nearest we got was Jordan Horner, encouraged perhaps by the publicity he'd got in the Mail to believe he was acting for local Muslims.
But of course this wasn't the first time Anjem Choudary's activities and their publicity provided an excuse for the English Defence League. In 2009, after a week campaigning and thousands of leaflets he managed to muster fewer than 20 supporters to stage a protest in Luton against a parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment, returning from Afghanistan. There are more than 20,000 Muslims in Luton, and whatever their views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, shared by many non-Muslims, they like their neighbours were probably glad to see the soldiers back. Choudary was banned from a Luton mosque. But of course his protest, which led to scuffles with local people, was extensively covered by the media, from the BBC to the Nazi Stormfront site.
And sure enough it was in Luton that what became the EDL was formed, supposedly as a response to Choudary's Muslim protest. Even if it did seem to be quick off the mark.
Born in Britain, Choudary went to Southampton University, where is said to have been a bit of a lad for the 'birds' and the booze, and other substances, and liked a game of cards, before he got into religion. He is often described as leading Al Muhajiroun, in succession to Omar Bakri, who was banned from Britain, although Al Muhajiroun is supposed to be banned by law for glorifying "acts of terrorism". Since then he has turned up under various names, such as Islam4UK, usually announcing provocative actions which tend to not happen, or be damp squibs, but always get lots of publicity.
I once chanced on a copy of the paper Al Muhajiroun, many years ago, and was struck by an odd phrase accusing Jews of subverting "natural aristocracy". Somehow the concept of "natural aristocracy" did not sound very Islamic. I discovered this particular phrase came not from the Koran but the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Of course that was a secret police job.
By way of a change, Choudary -and Horner -turned on another target this year, attacking Shia Muslims.
Sure enough, Anjem Choudary announced his intention of leading today's march, but only gathered a handful of supporters. The local paper had already reported that people were not impressed:
An East London Mosque official said the rally was a publicity stunt that would “antagonise local people and business owners”.
He said The Shariah Project is “strongly linked” to Anjem Choudary’s group Al-Muhajiroun, members of which were recently sentenced to jail for threatening people drinking alcohol in east London in so-called “Muslim Patrols”.
The EDL faced united opposition and failed to get into the London borough of Tower Hamlets in September, when it was promising to free the people from Islamic dominance. It's Luton-based founder Tommy Robinson, alias Stephen Yaxley Lennon, was among those arrested, and since then he has quit, because of "extremists". If the EDL or similar forces were hoping today's fiasco would improve their chances, it looks like they have a long wait coming..
But maybe until someone else comes along the reactionary media will keep on trying to boost Anjem Choudary. It's all part of the game.
And for a States' side view see: