By Ed Husain
16 September 2018
Next month, the Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary will be released from jail after serving half of a five-and-a-half year prison sentence. Though the prisons minister has warned he remains “genuinely dangerous”, our liberal order could not lock Choudary up for life, nor send him to fight and die for the caliphate of Isis that he supports. Instead, he will be free to be an activist in a country with a Labour Party leader who, like Islamist extremists, seems to abhor the West, its history, capitalism and Israel’s existence, and offers support for Islamist terrorist organisations.
Clearly, Britain’s openness and its rule of law are being exploited by extremists. And the threat we face is not diminishing. On September 11 2001, al-Qaeda was a ragtag army of about 300 fighters in the Hindu Kush Mountains. Today, from Syria alone there are 30,000 Isis fighters. Battle-hardened terrorists are being disseminated around the world as the caliphate loses its land. The home of British democracy – the houses of Parliament – has already been the target of an attack three times in two years. In August, the head of Isis, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, called for renewed attacks on the West. “One operation in the West is better than a thousand in the Middle East”, he said. In Britain, our intelligence services are currently concerned about 25,000 individuals who are known to have links with Islamist extremism. The evil of suicidal killers who act in the name of religion has metastasised.
Hate Preacher's Inflammatory Words:
“When Sharia law is implemented, maybe in 10 or 15 years’ time, she [the Queen] would be expected like all women in Britain to be covered from head to toe, only revealing her face and hands.”
“Thieves would have various warnings first, and only in cases where he has stolen more than £20 of non-perishable goods from a private house would his hand be chopped off.”
“Under Sharia and under the Koran the sale of alcohol is prohibited and if one were to also drink alcohol that would be 40 lashes.”
“There will be no more pubs, no more gambling houses, no more national lottery.”
“All women would have to be covered up appropriately and wear the Niqab or veil and so there will be no prostitution.”
“By 2050, Britain will be a majority Muslim country. It will be the end of freedom of democracy and submission to God.”
“We don’t believe in democracy, as soon as they have authority, Muslims should implement Sharia. This is what we’re trying to teach people.”
“Next time when your child is at school and the teacher says, ‘What do you want when you grow up? What is your ambition?’ they should say, ‘To dominate the whole world by Islam, including Britain - that is my ambition’.”
Their narrative is built on attacking the West for its imperialism, casting capitalism as evil, opposing every Muslim government in the Middle East, calling for change and revolution and supporting terrorist movements that wish to remove the Jewish state from the Middle East. The violence is just a tactic to defend and progress a political aim.
In this political aim, Choudary and his many activists now have an ally in the Labour leadership. They agree on their critique of the West. They disagree on the solution. Choudary and his cabal believe in the utopia of an expansionist caliphate. Jeremy Corbyn offers socialism. But this Red-Green alliance in our midst against the West and its allies is real and must be smashed.
Our political and civil society leaders condemn terrorism, but that is not enough. Muslim leaders reject violence; that is also not sufficient. The real need is to reject the motivation and inspiration of Islamist terrorists: the craving for a caliphate or a government ruled by their version of Shariah as law. We in the West must go beyond condemnation, and demand that Muslim leaders openly reject any support for calls to create shariah as government policy here.
Too many young Muslims feel out of place in modern Britain because they are presented with a dream – a mirage – of a better world that awaits Muslims in a caliphate, just as it does for Marxists in a Communist state. But the slavery, racism, mass murders and one-man tyranny of a caliphate or a Communist state are documented in our histories. Britain is not alone in having had an empire: the Muslim Turks were masters of imperialism for many centuries, and used slavery for 800 years. History must not paralyse us from living in a new world of nation states and citizens.
For a thousand years, great Islamic scholars such as al-Juwayni and al-Shatibi taught that Shariah was about maintaining security, protecting the family, religious liberty, honouring the intellect and upholding private property. These five higher aims of the Shariah were known as Maqasid. By that definition, the West is fully Shariah compliant and Muslims can thrive as free citizens.
As the late Senator John McCain used to rightly say, “the West is the last best hope for humanity”. And so we must stop self-flagellating, and start protecting the values of human equality, individual liberty, democracy and the rule of law.
Millions of Muslims from India and elsewhere died defending these values with Britain in the last century. We cannot sit idly by and watch a new alliance of hatred against the West subvert us from within. Anjem Choudary is a zealous advocate of a religious and political project. Our political and religious leaders must begin with proudly and powerfully rejecting the totalitarianism of a caliphate. Only then will we begin to win.
Ed Husain is author of The House of Islam: A Global History (Bloomsbury, 2018). He is a senior fellow at Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society