By Munir Alam, New Age Islam
If the Taliban, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders are invited by TV channels in Pakistan to air their views and justify their acts, no one surprised because of the reach and influence of the extremists in the country. But if the same happens in a country like the UK, eye brows are bound to be raised.
After Woolwich murder, people in the UK were shocked and dismayed at the appearance of the extremist preacher Anjem Choudhry on BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and subtly defended the killers saying he was a nice guy and had an impeccable track record.
Such media exposure given to the hate preachers has emboldened Anjem Choudhry who has been constantly mocking the British common people and the law by making hate speeches against the Christians and the non-Muslims community of the UK.
But after the Woolwich incident, the UK government has finally taken the decision to crack down on hate preachers who radicalise Muslims who commit heinous crimes like the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. Michael Adebolajo was reportedly converted by the hate preacher Umar Bakri Mohammad who left the UK shortly after the 2005 bombings. Michael is also said to have been associated with the radical Muslim preacher and the founder of the banned terrorist organisations Al Muhajiroun and Islam 4UK, Anjem Choudhry who has been constantly in the news for his hate speeches and programmes. Michael is also seen in a photograph with Anjem Choudhry in a protest meeting in 2007. Michael converted to Islam in 2003 and wanted to go to Somalia to fight along with Al Shabab. However, he was detained and deported to the UK.
His past history shows that Michael has been in touch with the radical organisations and hate preachers who have been constantly delivering speeches and statements that promote enmity between communities. However, people like Anjem Choudhry and Abu Qatada have so far managed to escape the law.
Anjem Choudhry is seen as the man behind Michael’s indoctrination as a religious fanatic as his radicalisation has happened under Bakri Mohammad and Anjem Choudhry. There are other hard-line Muslim preachers like Abu Qatada who entered Britain on forged visa after fleeing his home country Jordan where he faces terror charges. Presently he is in prison and his family lives in four room apartment provided by the state. Of late, Abu Qatada has agreed to return to his country. These terrorists and extremists have been taking advantage of the humanitarian side of the British law and find it safer than their own countries.
Following the Woolwich incident, there has been a demand by the different quarters for the deportation of Abu Qatada and other 3, 000 terror suspects whom the agencies have been monitoring.
The government has mainly planned to curb the ‘freedom’ of the preachers who incite hatred and violence on religious lines. It has decided to set up a task force that will take up appropriate measures to stop such hate preachers from delivering hate speeches in universities, colleges, mosques and public platforms without curbing freedom of speech.
The steps that have been envisaged to tighten the noose around hate mongers like Anjem and Abu Qatada are as follows:
• Using orders to ban organisations that don't meet the threshold for proscription.
• Tightening the duties on universities to take action against extremist preachers.
• Closing unregulated schools and madrasas, as well as requiring mosque committees to be accountable for the imams they invite to speak.
Made up of senior ministers, police officers, security officials and moderate leaders, the new task force will study a range of options, according to reports.
The committee will propose banning extremist clerics from being given public platforms to incite students, prisoners and other followers – and forcing mosque leaders to answer for so-called "preachers of hate."
The fact is that these extremists and hate preachers are not only causing damage to the country they live in on government facilities but also radicalize and misguide Muslim youth all over the world. So, if the UK government takes steps to stop them from hate mongering and ban their internet sites, it will not only save the people of the UK but also the Muslim youth the world over.