Anjem Choudary and the Glorification of Terror
by Sean Gabb
21st September 2015
Anjem Choudary is one of this country’s main Islamic trouble-makers. So far as I can tell, he and his wife and their four children live on various forms of state welfare. He uses his time to campaign for a privileged status in England for Islam, if not for the establishment of Islam as the state religion. His view of the legitimacy of violence as a means to this end can be summarised in this quotation from 2005, just after the London Bombings:
Look, at the end of the day innocent people—when we say “innocent people” we mean Muslims—as far as non-Muslims are concerned they have not accepted Islam and as far as we are concerned that is a crime against God. [Source: Wikipedia]
I now see that Mr Choudary has been arrested, and will soon go on trial for offences under section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000. His specific alleged offence has been to encourage support for the Islamic State, a group that requires no comment.
Whenever I write this sort of article, I usually put in a disclaimer, for the avoidance of doubt, of any agreement with what the person in question is supposed to have done. In Mr Choudary’s case, this is hardly necessary. I heartily wish he and his family and all his friends and supporters would go and live somewhere else. Mass-immigration has been a disaster for this country. Anyone who still claims the country is a better place for what has been allowed during the past half century is, in my opinion, either a fool or a rogue. All I will say here, for the avoidance of doubt, is that, since he is subject to active criminal proceedings, I make no comment on whether Mr Choudary is guilty as charged.
This being said, Mr Choudary is not charged with any offence known to the laws of England before the beginning of this century. No one claims that he has chopped off any heads, or tied a Semtex waistcoat to someone, or incited violence against any reasonably identifiable person or persons. His sole alleged offence has been to encourage support for one side in a foreign civil war. He may have done this in rather florid terms. But his sole alleged offence has been to express an opinion.
Every school in England has been told to preach “British values.” These include freedom of speech and democracy and the rule of law. Well, here is a British Value that was never in doubt when I was a boy, and even as a young man:
Everyone should have the right to express his opinion on public affairs. His opinion may be unpopular. It may be perverse. It may be plainly false and perhaps evil. But to express it, and to the best of his ability should be his right. The right should only be limited if its expression is liable to cause a breach of the peace as recognised by the Common Law. In other words, I deny the legitimacy of the law under which Mr Choudary has been charged.
It may be said that we nowadays face a terrorist threat unique in our history. I have already mentioned the London Bombings. I could mention the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. There have been lesser terrorist attacks, and terrorist scares. Given this new factual background, surely the law should change to reflect the dangers we face?
My answer is no. Not only do I repeat that the law is illegitimate, I also deny that we face any unique danger.
I am old enough to remember the campaign of terror waged against us by Sinn Fein/IRA. Hundreds of our people were murdered by these terrorists. They were publicly supported by thousands of Trotskyites and Irish nationalists. These people had complete freedom of speech, as was right and proper. Many of them—some of the actual terrorists, indeed—are now part of the government in Ulster. I do not think this right or proper, but it is a fact.
I say again that I do not like mass-immigration. To be fair, however, the crimes of terror committed by immigrants or their descendants are a piffling fraction of those committed by Sinn Fein/IRA. I will add that the terrorist crimes committed by Moslems all show what under other circumstances would be admirable courage. They have blown themselves up along with their victims, or have waited to be arrested. The terrorists of Sinn Fein/IRA were despicable in their personal cowardice. Turning to personalities, Anjem Choudary has always been open about his ends and his means to those ends. I have always thought Gerry Adams a piece of human offal, and still feel inclined to projectile vomiting as often as I catch sight of his face in a newspaper.
Part of the mission of the Libertarian Alliance is:
To publish essays and other scholarly works explaining the benefits of political and economic freedom and of toleration in the sense put forth by such philosophers as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill, F.A. von Hayek, Karl Popper, and many others in the British liberal tradition;…
To bring to general notice such failings of the British State as may appear from a consideration of the generality of the above;…
As Director of the Libertarian Alliance, I am now discharging an important part of our mission. Again, I say nothing calculated to prejudice a jury as to the guilt or innocence of Mr Chaudary as he has been charged. But I do suggest that the law under which he has been charged is inconsistent with British Values in any meaningful sense.
© 2015 – 2017, seangabb.
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