We say ‘a plague on both their houses’ when looking at both far-right and Islamist extremism

Anjem Choudary and the al-Muhajiroun extremist network provide a gateway to terrorism, according to a new report co-authored by Nick Lowles of HOPE not hate.

Anjem Choudary

Nick Lowles is chief executive of HOPE not hate, the UK’s largest anti-racism and anti-extremism campaign

Today HOPE not hate launched a report into the Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary and his al-Muhajiroun network. Sixty pages long, the report, Gateway to Terror, is co-authored by myself and researcher Joe Mulhall. It is arguably the most detailed investigation into this Islamist extremist organisation, its structures and its terrorist connections.

Gateway to Terror reveals that at least 70 people who have been convicted of terrorism or terror-related offences, or who have actually participated in suicide attacks, have been linked to the group. We reveal that the man who narrated a recent 58-minute al-Shabaab video, threatening a number of moderate British Muslims, is from Tower Hamlets and has also been linked to the group.

We expose the growing connections between Choudary and the northern Iraqi Ansar al-Islam group, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, and name its British leader. We chart Choudary’s growing network of contacts across Europe and reveal that between 200-300 supporters from these groups have gone to fight in Syria.

This report nails the misguided view that we should tolerate Choudary’s outlandish antics. Behind his media-grabbing and provocative stunts lies a group that is a gateway to terrorism, at home and abroad. And this will be part of an increasing expansion of activities and research for HOPE not hate and its focus on extremism of all shades and hues: whether they be terrorist-related antics from Anjem Choudary or the ‘creeping sharia’ views of many from within the ‘counter-jihadist’ anti-Muslim networks.

While Choudary might not have been directly involved in terror plots, he helped shape the mindset of many of those behind them. He indoctrinated them and through his networks linked them up to terror groups and supporters across the world.

Many of those convicted of terrorism were active supporters of his group at the time of their arrest. Habib Ahmed, who was convicted of being a member of al-Qaeda, was their Manchester branch organiser. Mohammed Chowdhury, the ringleader of the 2010 Christmas bomb plot, was filmed helping set up a Skype interview between Anjem Choudary and Omar Bakri (al-Muhajiroun’s founder, originally a member of radical sect Hiz ut-Tahrir) only three weeks before his arrest.

Its members have been known to engage in Holocaust denial and sell copies of the infamous antisemitic forgery the Protocols of Zion, as well as Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Some of their preachers celebrate 9/11 while others blame it on a Jewish conspiracy. They describe gay relationships as ‘perverted acts’, comparable to ‘rape and murder’, call for homosexuals to be put to death and have produced and disseminated leaflets called: ‘Gay Today, Paedophile Tomorrow?’

In addition, their sexist views call for the subjugation of and discrimination against women. Choudary has called for women to be forced to wear the veil and stated that women who commit adultery should be stoned to death.

There will some people who will not be happy with our new report and consider it a departure from what we ‘do’ (historically we are better-known for opposing fascism and racism). There will be others who believe that by shining the light on Choudary and his gang we are inflaming hostility to Muslims. They will be wrong.

We say ‘a plague on both their houses’ when looking at both far-right as well as Islamist extremism. The two biggest spikes of support for the EDL occurred when Anjem Choudary’s supporters burnt poppies on the 2010 Remembrance Day and in the immediate aftermath of the killing of off-duty soldier, Lee Rigby, in May this year.

No matter under what banner the politics of hatred and intolerance raises its ugly head, we must be prepared to greet it with organised and determined opposition. The face of hatred is the face of hatred and the mask it wears is irrelevant.

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4 Responses to “We say ‘a plague on both their houses’ when looking at both far-right and Islamist extremism”

  1. David silverman

    That photo – yes that is who you think it is – is as damning as the one with David Copeland stood beside Nick Griffin and John Tyndall.

  2. Mark

    Am I the only one wondering why they have had to explain why they’ve reported on him? I thought, given their title, it would be bleedin’ obvious. Who exactly, is going to be upset that they have reported on him? I just don’t get it.

  3. dave stone

    “between 200-300 supporters from these groups have gone to fight in Syria.”

    If Labour’s Blairite interventionists had their way these 200-300 supporters would have been reinforced by UK armed forces. One is tempted to believe that New Labour’s muddleheads actually want to instigate instability and terrorism.

  4. TM

    Why has this condemnation of individuals like Choudary and others taken the Left so long? Was it allowed to fester to create tensions and deflect criticism of bad governments that only see us all as cash cows and to be used as pawns in their political games?
    It seems that the Middle class Left is absolutely pathologically terrified, positively mortified, of being seen in any way as racist and so they are happy to condemn the EDL because they are mostly Working class with a lacing of football hooligans and they are white too. So they can be as scathing as they like about them, and at the same time get a little venom out against the Working class as well. We can question the prejudice of racism, but we mustn’t question the nature of class must we, or why class prejudice, snobbery and contempt is still much of the basis for English society. But, where I am standing, a bigot is a bigot. If it’s prejudice to hate someone for the colour of their skin, then why isn’t it prejudice to hate someone because of their social status or because they are poor or come from a council estate? Double standards? Yes! And all mixed up with contradiction and that other ingredient: Middle class guilt.
    Now the issue of hatred coming from individuals like Choudary is just too big to ignore, and they acknowledge in this article that the EDL grew in response to what many people see as the toleration of the intolerant by the Middle class Left. What we also see is that because moderate voices seem always to be drowned out, many people then have to be extreme just to be heard, so because democracy is effectively stifled here, this stifling of debate actually creates or helps create the extremism many in the Left say they are against. But we see that if people are not allowed to air legitimate grievances, like in the immigration situation, then they have to be extreme just to be heard. Unfortunately folks, this is the way things are and the polarisation is just another part of the problem. Until more moderate voices are heard on all sides of this debate and many other debates, the extreme voices will continue to be heard.

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