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Monday, January 04, 2010 

The public relations brilliance of Anjem Choudary.

Anjem Choudary is brilliant, isn't he? No one else can currently touch him when it comes professional media trolling; he knows exactly what to say, what to do and who to talk to, and also when to do it. As strokes of genius go, nothing is more likely to wind up the nutters outside of his own clique than a half-baked supposed plan to march through Wootton Bassett, which may as well be our current Jerusalem, a holy place which cannot in any way be defiled, such is how it's been sanctified both by the press and politicians. As for his rather less amusing supposed plan for "sending letters" to the families of those bereaved through the current deployment to Afghanistan, urging them, according to that notoriously accurate source, the Sun, that they should embrace Islam "to save [themselves] from the hellfire", it seems more likely that this would only be through the "open letter" which appeared on the Islam4UK website, which is currently 403ing.

Calling for a sense of perspective is of course a complete waste of time. It doesn't matter that Islam4UK, the umpteenth successor organisation to Al-Muhjarioun, which may once have been a potentially dangerous grouping but which has long since become quite the opposite, probably has less than a hundred supporters and that its only purpose seems to be to get what still could be spoofs into the press (such as how Trafalgar Square would look under Sharia law). It also doesn't matter than the group already has a record for not following through on its stunts: it had a "march for Sharia" through Whitehall and Westminster planned for the 31st of October last year which they didn't turn up for, although the planned counter-demonstrations to it did go ahead. No, what clearly matters is that Choudary makes for good news and especially for outrage when there isn't much to get worked up about going on. And boy, how he and his media accomplices have succeeded this time: already there's a 200,000 plus strong group opposing his march plans on Gulliblebook (sorry, I mean Idiotbook, err, Facebook), while the politicians themselves have competed to condemn him.

It is almost enough to make you wonder whether Choudary is in fact for real and not a long-standing security service plant; after all, we now know that the likes of the IRA had agents right at the very top, or at least those that while still sharing the ultimate aims still felt the need to prevent some of the more egregious actions of their colleagues by informing on them, so it isn't completely impossible. What's far more likely though is that he's become that creature who can be relied upon when news is slow to provide something for readers to get themselves worked up about, a creation as much of the media themselves as a representation of their own personality. Choudary is himself after all describing his group's plans as "publicity stunts"; by firing off press releases that can easily be turned out and churned on by lazy hacks, it's as if the events have already happened without anyone needing to leave the house.

Even by the Sun's standards they are though laying it on a bit thick. Jon Gaunt, who can always be relied upon to turn a molehill into a politically correct Guardianista mountain, suggested that Choudary's plans for the march amounted to "treason". Really? Even when although we can hardly rely upon Choudary's word for it, his plans for the demo seem to amount not to the usual placards and slogans about the superiority of Islam, but instead for an almost reasonable carrying of clear coffins to represent the others that have died in Afghanistan but whom have received no memorial?

Underneath all this nonsense, there is something far more serious going on, and it's just how quickly politicians and others that declare they love freedom of speech and demonstration change their tune when it's a message they don't like being expressed. There is of course the risk if Choudary's unlikely march was to go ahead, even in its rather benign form, that it would naturally attract the attention of equally unpleasant individuals who seem to imagine that the entire notion of Britishness is being defiled by allowing such people to put their own points across; indeed, that's the other point of the stunt in the first place. Choudary wants a reaction, both written and physical. Without it, there's no point to his doing anything in the first place. When Alan Johnson says that the idea of Choudary's march fills him with "revulsion", he's doing Choudary's job for him; in what other circumstances would a perfectly legitimate protest fill him with such an emotion? The Sun's editorial says it's a "unfortunate downside" of our "cherished tradition of free speech" that he and his supporters can demonstrate. An "unfortunate downside"? No one with any true belief in free speech would describe any peaceful protest, even one they disagree with, in such terms.

Increasingly, even while those who oppose the war in Afghanistan increase in number, the actual ways of expressing disapproval about it decrease. It's no coincidence that the Sun, whose whole "Our Boys" campaign, alongside its support for the "Help for Heroes" charity has ensured that to even suggest that perhaps the soldiers themselves aren't entirely blameless in all of this when they freely volunteered to join the army is the outlet leading the cries against Choudary's antics (despite its role in actively promoting them, repeatedly). Those who protested during the Luton homecoming parade back in March are by coincidence currently being prosecuted under Public Order legislation for having the temerity to suggest that British soldiers might be killers; when does something that might be perfectly legitimate to suggest about politicians become unacceptable when it's said against those that actually do the killing? That's a distinction that the jury are hardly likely to reflect too long upon.

As the Heresiarch suggests, Wootton Bassett has become the very centre of the justification for the war, because what started out as a spontaneous and heartfelt tribute for those who lost their lives in the line of duty has become an almost official and politicised remembrance centre where no dissent from the official line can be tolerated. This isn't the fault of the people there, but the media especially and others for exceptionally focusing it on. When there is no major political outlet for discontent, as there currently isn't from any of the main three parties, you can hardly blame the likes of Choudary for wanting to fill the void. If Choudary should give a kick up the backside to anyone, it should be to those that are not lunatics or comedians but who oppose the war to step up their game and properly make their voices heard; the risk is that they get silenced both by the backlash and the view that to oppose the war is to somehow invite bloodshed on our own streets. At the moment it's more likely that the brainless anti-Choudary brigade could cause it through fighting amongst themselves than it happening as the result of anything else.

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He is winding them up. Still, I don't remember banning marches when the Orange Order sought to march through Catholic areas. And the same goes for the BNP.

Some of my friends and family have joined those Facebook groups. I have politely tried to point out that sending in the police to silence speechwe don't agree with is not exactly very British; in fact, it would be a genuine example of the usually mythical political correctness.

The more I heard of Anjem Choudary, the less I think of him as an islamic extremist, and more some kind of performance artist that's intent on charicturing the right wing presses fears.

Well, quite. That's what made me wonder whether he is a plant, first sent in to the organisation while Bakri Mohammed was around; after all, before Andy became Anjem he was a fairly typical student, drinking, fucking etc. Now just still in position to see what other loons he attracts. Occam's razor and all obviously, but it isn't completely impossible.

Well, just as long as the police / council make the cretin fill out all the paperwork and attend all the meetings that I had to for our local Remembrance Day parade being allowed to go ahead. All to be complete no less than one month in advance.

I appreciate the law is different up here but I had, amongst others:

"What is your assessment of the risks to marchers if the route passes through communities which may be against the march?"


"Have you considered the effect on the community as a whole if the march went ahead?"

I'd also like to see his qualifications for completing the risk assessment! Yes, and I have seen the reports that it was all a deliberate (and spectacularly successful) wind-up - although their site is still 403.

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Very well written article. Only this morning The Sun's front pager was "HATE CLERIC'S 25K BENEFITS". I mean, we are supposedly a country of free speech, yet underneath anything that opposes the political agenda of Murdoch & Co. is derailed. The more you read into it, the more you realise he has a justified political point. Is it "preaching hate" to protest against soldiers killing your countrymen? What would you do if you were in his shoes Mr Murdoch???? He has been very witty in this wind-up march, and although I don't sympathise with him very much on his main points - I do when he's been so viscously attacked by media outlets such as The Sun.

There are far too many people who wish to use Wootton Bassett as a pawn in sicko halfwit games.

The people of Wootton Bassett have shown restraint and quiet dignity by stopping what they're doing and showing respect to the bodies of young men and women who've died in the service of their country. It is not a stage managed media event - it is simple - they know the agony of those parents, wives, children and friends left behind. It is a straightforward recognition of the sadness and loss they know other people are feeling.

If you saw Nick Griffin at Wootton Bassett - you'll know how uncomfortable & sheepish he was when he sensed what it was about.

A ghost town presented to these screeching pustules of deranged zealotry that lets their own poison bounce back at them from the blank windows and empty streets would be a rich reward for their efforts.

Sadly, too many scumbuckets with equally deranged worldviews and deeply nasty motives want to use this town as a hobby horse to leverage their visibility and promote rotten agendas.

Many they all barbecue in the flaming hell that equates with their personal belief system - and no, Anjem there's no virgins waiting, not now, not ever.

ever yours
The Wurzel

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