How Anjem Choudhary uses the media

11:16 am - January 5th 2010

by Septicisle    

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Anjem Choudary is brilliant at 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.

It 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.

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.

A longer version is over at Septicisle blog

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About the author
'Septicisle' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He mostly blogs, poorly, over at on politics and general media mendacity.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Media ,Religion ,Terrorism

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Reader comments

1. martin arnold

Rampant Islam? As opposed to the rampant Christianity prevalent there already of course.

Zealots are acceptable, so long as they are ‘our’ zealots. Not those foreign nutters.

2. Dick the Prick

I dunno – I think this is one of those cases that too much analysis leads to paralysis. The letter is such a mish mash of confused intention that any point in there has lost all validity and therefore leaves the reader scratching their head thinking WTF is he on about? The Wooton Basset vigils have been organic, understated, solemn and heartfelt whereas Choudary is on a public wank mission.

If their intention was truly to highlight the disgraceful loss of life of the Iraquis & Afghanis and held in such veneration as death rightly merits, without pomp, without the motive of publicity and with a true and mounful heart then free speech could be justified but this ejeet is pissing on the graves of the innocents for his own ends. It’s similar to the drunk student who wazzed on the cenotaph after a pub crawl – that lad was lucky to stay out of jail.

He’s a vain glorious, stupid, insolent, heretical, opportunistic wazzock.

3. martin arnold

Of course he is, but the fact is Middle England doesn’t like Islam because the media says it’s strange and alien. Yet we surround ourselves with no less a kind of zealousness than the likes of Choudry do. Look at how often the phrase ‘our boys’ is used. They aren’t ours at all; they are people (often too young) signing up to be the tools of government on the world stage. If they were representative of us they wouldn’t be in Afghanistan or Iraq at all. Yet anytime there is criticism the jingoistic nonsense comes in full force accopmpanied by the latest parade through Wootton Bassett.

4. Dick the Prick

@martin – a thought not widely expressed in public but you’re quite right. I feel apologetic in stating the obvious but I get a bit irritated with the term ‘hero’ – does dying make one a hero? Don’t think so really. I’m not disputing that there is heroism but by simply treading on an IED doesn’t exactly give one courage. These wars are disgusting and I guess the MSM are tautologically unable to state the bleeding obvious as they cater for the masses – these chaps aren’t Tommy Atkins – they signed up, they’re volunteers.

5. martin arnold

It is interesting to raise the story about the kid who peed on the cenotaph. So many media nodes were tapped by that one picture which, had it not been taken, no one would have been any the wiser. Given the current media driven climate he was lucky to stay out of jail, but prison is the absolute last place to put someone for doing something harmless and stupid, especially as a student. Given him a mop and a bucket and forget about it.

Chowdry is playing the media at their own game. I have no idea whether this march will go forward or even if it’s intended to. But as ever he’s done his job and people have Fallen hook line and sinker. Better to just ignore him. But then, at the same time, we don’t honour the fallen unless they are ‘our’ fallen. There are no parades to honour the civilian casualties for instance.

6. Dick the Prick

Surely Yemen’s a hoax?

The whole issue is getting quite twisted.

On one side we have the Sun giving this obnoxious Choudary guy a massive publicity platform– which has surely more resonance than 20,30 or even 100 of his followers demonstrating for a couple of hours somewhere. But to say that the Sun is irresponsible is as obvious as the notion that water is liquid.

On the other side, however, I detect a default tendency to shrug off the views of Choudary & co. as irrelevant, trollish, even amusing. There I don’t agree much.
Once the damage of an article/interview in the Sun is done, we have to condemn in the strongest most unequivocal way, “views” like Choudary’s.

There is one aspect that I find specifically distrubing. Islam4UK repeatedly point at “the thousands of Muslims who have died” as a result of the West.

Yesterday I posted a comment somewhere, pointing at the number of innocent civilians (the totality of which were Muslims) killed by suicide bombers in Pakistan in the name of “Islam”. 1,037 civilians in 2009 – in Pakistan alone.

So the question is: do those lives suddenly lose their value if mangled by a fellow Muslim?

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