On Friday, the 14th of January, the infamous Muslim 'scholar' and star of Jihad Milkshakes Anjem Choudary held a demonstration outside London's Belmarsh Prison, in which he proclaimed solidarity with hook-handed hater Abu Hamza. According to Anjem, Hamza had the shit beaten out of him by prison guards when he refused orders to return to his cell a few days earlier. The claim was denied by Belmarsh Prison officials, but to let Abu know that there were a few people alive who didn't hate him, his BFF Anjem gathered up a 30-strong mob to protest against the brutality of British prisons. I went along to see what all the fuss was about and have a good old chin wag with one of the most despised men in Britain.
"That guy on the right who looks like Dion Dublin wearing Isaac Hayes' beard is Abu Izzadeen, who spent his 15 minutes of fame shouting at former Defence Secretary John Reid a few years back."
VICE: Hi Anjem. Why are you hanging around outside Belmarsh Prison today?
Anjem Choudary: We're here to highlight the atrocities committed against Sheikh Abu Hamza. He's a well-loved and popular activist and scholar within Britain's Muslim community and abroad. He's sacrificed his health, well-being and his family for what he believes in, and to add insult to injury not only has he been incarcerated for a mere 'thought crime', he's now being humiliated and tortured in Belmarsh Prison. This is a man who's disabled; he's blind in one eye, both his hands have been amputated and he's also diabetic, yet he is refused his prosthetic limbs.
"If Sharia law was implemented in Britain, would people still be allowed to dress like JLS?"
Those hooks do look pretty sharp. I don't know if you're allowed weapons for hands inside prisons. What other hardships has Abu had to endure?
He isn't allowed any funding to call his family or hire a lawyer, and his legal papers have been 'lost'. The lights in his cell are continually flicked on and off, depriving him of sleep, and he's subjected to constant racist abuse from the prison guards. All of these factors came to a head last Tuesday (January 11th) when he refused to return to his cell. He wanted to be isolated away from the other inmates and the abuse, but instead of being sympathetic to these requests the prison guards pounced on him and started to beat him. He tried to resist but a heavily disabled man in his 50s was never going to be able to put up much of a fight. He finally got to call his family the next morning, but three days have passed now and we don't know if he's received any medical attention or not.
"Some Islamic extremists reclaiming Stone Island casual wear and bad spelling from the EDL."
What effect do you think today’s demonstration will have?
Ultimately today’s demonstration shows that there is mounting pressure against Islamaphobia and unjust abuse, and I’m happy with today’s numbers – even if there were just three of us I’d be happy, but thankfully we have around 100 here today ["lol", Truth Ed] highlighting the problems and they will pass the message to friends and family members, and the media here will spread it nationally and globally. But hopefully the message will reach inside the prison and let them know that we are here to help and support people like Abu Hamza.
"A 4-year-old child attended the protest outside Belmarsh to register his disgust at centuries of British colonialism."
Why do you think the British government want to keep him locked up?
The British government are occupying Muslim lands. They're engaged in a war against Muslims – even Cameron admitted yesterday that the fight isn't just against terrorists, it's against the ideology behind extremism as well. He's talking about banning a thought! Abu Hamza's only in prison because he spoke the truth. He'd been preaching for 11 years before his arrest and the authorities were never interested in him. The courts, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the judges and the media in this country are all biased against the Muslims. Abu Hamza is a prisoner of conscience who has never organised any military activities in this country or abroad. I know the man personally and during his time preaching at Finsbury Park Mosque he had a great relationship with the local priests and rabbis – they would all work together to help the homeless in the region. This is a man who was always concerned about the community and was an easy scapegoat for the British Government and their war on the Muslims, aka 'The War on Terror'.
The EDL were also in town today. What do you make of those guys?
The EDL are a symptom of the society we live in. The political landscape has shifted towards the far-right, and the racist organisations no longer bother with the Jews, the Japanese or the Blacks, as the current vogue is to attack Muslims and Islam. This is very healthy as we're more than happy to engage in an ideological and political confrontation with them, but I don't think these are the sort of people who could hold their own in a public debate. Let them protest against us, but we do not put them on our agenda. Our agenda is much bigger than that: our agenda is with the British and American governments, to replace them and implement the Sharia.
"Being given bedroom eyes from a girl in a Burqa stimulates parts of me I never even knew existed."
Are you worried about any possible rise in Islamaphobia as a consequence of the EDL’s actions?
No, not at all, in fact I think hatred can be very healthy – if people hate and fear something, they seek more knowledge about it. The biggest number of conversions to Islam was after 9/11. Many people wanted to find out about this divine way of life and embrace it.
Today you’ve been calling for Sharia law for the UK. How would you go about doing that?
The most important thing is to engage in an ideological and political struggle publically – to try to bring the beauty and justice of Islam and forbid the evil of man-made law. Many people in Britain are concerned about alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, prostitution, the lack of ambition in their youth, etc. Islam can address these things and give them hope and an objective in life. I think it's time we returned to divine law. The British government have lowered the age of homosexuality, they've implemented 24-hour drinking, we have a national lottery and too much pornography, all because the government know that by exploiting the instincts and desires of human beings they can bring in revenue. Sharia would eradicate those things, and the money saved could be reinvested in health and education. If I said to you that we could have a system that provided free clothing and shelter, free electricity, gas and water for every citizen, I think many people in Britain would agree to that. Abortion is something that should be prohibited, too. Sharia has a sanctity of life. I don't know when it will be implemented in the UK, but god willing it will be soon.
"Would the EDL claim the guy on the right is a paedo, or would they appreciate his lighthearted way with a pun, nickname him 'Sambo' and offer to buy him a pint?"
You were planning a March through Wootton Bassett to protest against the war in Afghanistan. Could you see how the relatives of the soldiers who've died over there might be upset if such a march ever took place?
We can see how the people in Afghanistan are upset because they're being bombed by the US and the UK, and because their families are being tortured and raped. That is much more poignant in my mind than a few people who may or may not be upset about us marching through the streets. The real crime's are happening in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, not Wootton Bassett. If you’re not upset by these atrocities but you are by a few people holding some placards and telling the truth then there’s something wrong with you.
So what do you think the future holds for the conflict in Afghanistan?
The British and Americans will be kicked out sooner rather than later. Then the Taliban, god willing, will establish a Sharia law before forming a jihad to annex Pakistan and remove the government there. Then India and Bangladesh will be annexed and then hopefully Malaysia and Indonesia. The British and Americans want to silence Islam because they are worried about the awakening of the Sharia superstate that would result from this process.
Isn’t Islam a religion of peace? Surely a lot of people would die if you kept having jihads all the time?
If you look into history, countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Ethiopia have become part of Islam without ever having to fight. What makes you think that we would be like the Americans and bomb people into accepting freedom and democracy? We're not like that. The largest number of people who have ever been killed were at the hands of the Americans at Nagasaki and Hiroshima during World War II. It's not the Muslims who are barbaric and burying people in mass graves. Yes, we will dismantle the regimes and implement Sharia, but we not kill large numbers of people. We don't discriminate on the basis of colour or background, but we do discriminate on the basis of belief. But then, everyone does.