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Choudary ban may backfire

Just when radical Anjem Choudary was being disowned from every quarter as an embarrassment, in rides the Government to give him a boost by banning his organisation. Lester Holloway says the decision will prove counter-productive.

Choudary is likely to wearing his “badge of honour” with pride after the Home Secretary Alan Johnson outlawed his group Islam4UK and their many guises.

Disowned by the vast majority of Muslims and further isolated by his planned march in Wootton Bassett, Choudary looked set to disappear from view.

But he could have been thrown a lifeline after Johnson gifted the lawyer a chance to portray himself as a martyr, and to claim hypocrisy on the part of the Government over the issue of free speech.

Just as Choudary revelled in claiming that the guilty verdict of abusive behaviour in the case of the Luton demonstration against the Royal Anglian Regiment was a “badge of honour”, so too will be exploit the Home Secretary’s decision to his advantage.

Tony Blair’s botched attempt to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir failed to dent the fortunes of that group, just as the media ban on broadcasting the voice of Gerry Adams was failed to harm the IRA.

With these examples in mind, there is every reason to believe that Islam4UK, al-Muhajiroun – or whatever they call themselves in future – will continue to exist underground.

Worse, Choudary will undoubtedly use the ban as a recruiting sergeant and seek to lay claim to a street credibility that barely existed before the Government intervened.

One day’s red meat for the daily newspapers may satisfy the right-wing commentators today, but at what long term cost?

Johnson’s decision is not just bad from a freedom of speech point of view, but it is certain to be counter-productive and may actually result in more Muslims being radicalised with Choudary’s twisted version of faith, and possibly more potential terrorists.

Let’s also remember that the contemporary ‘group-think’ that it is best not to ban the British National Party because they will simply go underground, contrasts starkly with the decision to proscribe Islam4UK.

Johnson claims that the organisation has connections to terrorism. Yet whether or not that is the case, it is also true that individuals who have planned or carried out terrorist attacks – most famously the nailbomber David Copeland have had links with the BNP.

Not to mention the several documented links with extreme racists and fascists across the world.

Whichever way you look at it, Britain has compromised its’ ideals of freedom and liberty while simultaneously opening itself up to new allegations of double-standards, and providing a God-send of undeserved credibility to Choudary and his unrepresentative group.

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One Response

  1. Spot on analysis Lester. This is vote-chasing at its worst. I note the Tories (including supposed champion of freedom and liberty David Davis) have said nowt.

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