On 13th January 2010, Quilliam sent out the following:
Quilliam Director challenges Islam4UK leader on Newsnight
Last night Quilliam’s co-Director Maajid Nawaz debated Anjem Choudary, the head of Islam4UK, on BBC Newsnight following news that Islam4UK would be proscribed under counter-terrorism legislation.
During the debate, which quickly became heated, Nawaz put a number of key questions to Anjem Choudary which the Islam4UK leader refused to answer or attempted to shout over.
– Would perceived dissidents or ‘apostates’ from Islam be executed under Choudary’s conception of an ‘Islamic state’?
– Does he consider non-Muslim blood to be ‘halal’ or permissible to be shed?
– Was Anjem Choudary ever a ‘daris’ or student of Hizb ut-Tahrir?
Maajid Nawaz also re-iterated Quilliam’s support for a ban on Islam4Uk on the grounds that the group (in all its different incarnations such as al-Muhajiroun and al-Ghurabaa) has repeatedly encouraged and endorsed Islamist terrorism.
Nawaz also pointed out that at least 20 of the group’s former members and supporters have been convicted of serious offences such as planning terrorist acts, fundraising for terrorism and inciting murder and hatred.
Quilliam’s position on the banning of Islam4UK:
– The banning of Islam4UK is a necessary measure that is long overdue given that the group was originally established as a front for the proscribed groups al-Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect (which were themselves front-groups for the radical al-Muhajiroun organisation, an offshoot of Hizb ut-Tahrir).
– Islam4UK should be banned because it, and its parent group al-Muhajiroun and various off-shoots, have a long track record of inciting hatred, promoting and inciting terrorism. At least 20 former members and followers have been convicted of crimes such as planning terrorist attacks or inciting violence.
At the same time, the banning of Islam4UK is likely to have only limited long-term effects. Anjem Choudary and his followers have avoided previous attempts to ban them simply by establishing new front-groups under different names. It is likely that they will employ similar tactics in the future. A more robust and productive long-term response to this and other Islamist groups is to further encourage the rise of a civic challenge to the Islamist ideology by Muslims and others.
Maajid Nawaz’s debate with Anjem Choudary on Newsnight can be viewed online here. (The full report on Islam4UK starts at 17:45, their live studio debate begins at 23:42).