Straight Talk
MICHAEL COREN - Stand firm against hatred, intolerance

Anjem Choudary, protests in support of Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who is appealing against his extradition to the U.S., outside the High Court in London October 5, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

MICHAEL COREN | QMI AGENCY

I was raised in Ilford, a very ordinary English town on the border of London and Essex. It had long been home to immigrants, and my father’s parents had come to Britain from central Europe in the 1890s.

My dad was a taxi driver, a hard-working, law-abiding man who loved his country and his family, and tried to do good whenever he could.

I mention this because Anjem Choudary also lives in Ilford and is also from an immigrant family.

Who is he? An Islamic leader, spokesman for the group Islam4UK and chairman of the Society of Muslim Lawyers. He has been involved in several banned Islamic organizations in Britain and has praised the 9/11 terrorists.

He is currently in the media because he told fellow Muslims to quit their jobs and go on welfare. He referred to government handouts as “jihad seeker’s allowance,” argued it was natural for Muslims to “take money from the kuffar,” condemned U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron as devils, and rejoiced that Islam was taking over Europe.

It is estimated that Choudary collects around $40,000 a year in government support and lives in a house worth $550,000.

“Many people in the Muslim community are on Jobseeker’s Allowance and welfare benefits,” he explained. “I may say something about jihad seeker’s allowance.”

He continued: “Now we are taking over Birmingham and populating it … Brussels is 30%, 40% Muslim and Amsterdam. Bradford is 17% Muslim … These people are like a tsunami going across Europe. And over here we’re just relaxing, taking over Bradford brother. The reality is changing.”

If Choudary were a unique example of a parasite and an extremist, and if his comments were absurd and outlandish, we could dismiss him as little more than an irritating lunatic.

The problem is, while he certainly doesn’t speak for every Muslim in Britain, he obviously has a following and his ideas do enjoy a certain support.

The Respect Party, for example, is a hard-line, pro-Islamist political organization that runs exclusively in Islamic areas of the country. And wins. Labour Party MPs and candidates, sometimes themselves Muslim, lose to extremists because the vast majority of the Muslim vote goes to the Respect Party.

There is also a worrying increase in violent anti-Semitic attacks in places like, well, Ilford, and the culprits are exclusively Muslim.

Then we have the terrorist attacks in London in 2005, the burning of poppies on Remembrance Day, the horrendous abuse of returning troops, the demonstrations where Muslims promise to behead infidels, the Islamic street patrols putting up posters claiming that gays will be killed.

The list goes on. None of this is exclusive to Britain and it is replicated throughout western and northern Europe.

It is vital that we do not generalize and we appreciate the nuances of any community and religion. But it is equally important that we embrace reality and stand firm against hatred and intolerance.

My father, God rest his soul, would not recognize the town where he did his best to be a fine citizen and to raise a decent family. Not because he was old-fashioned or racist, but because he was fair-minded and pluralistic.

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