Hasina Patel, who’s a teacher in a school near Woolwich, blames Anjem Choudary for the backlash against Muslims in the UK.
Following Thursday’s horrific attack in Woolwich, the bitter and fearful aftermath has begun. It is not in the least surprising that the attackers are linked to the former leader of Al Muhajiroun, Anjem Choudary, who has confirmed that he knew one of the perpetrators.
Choudary has been notorious for his outspoken critique of the British military’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan; however is anyone, with sound mind, yet to express gratitude for his contributions? With the attack being compared to 7/7 the tension between communities is palpable and the EDL are joyfully coming along for the ride inciting hatred and attacks against Muslims.
Parents, relatives and friends are all anxious about the repercussions and concerned whether their children and loved ones will be targeted for being Muslim. FOSIS, the Muslim student umbrella body has encouraged Muslim students across the UK to stay at home amidst fear of reprisals. Twitter and Facebook have been bombarded with threats and attacks to be made not only on mosques, but to attack innocent Muslim children.
As an educator at a secondary school, not far from Woolwich, the concern for the Muslim community was astonishing yet refreshing. Students as young as 13 and 14 acknowledged “if any government was in your country killing your people, you would be angry too!” If the youth are able to comprehend the extreme actions of a few then why is it so tough for the general public to comprehend the same?
Although Choudary has never preached attacks on British troops, his previous protests and hate preach have never done the Muslim community any favours and by default has had a negative impact with Muslim sisters being stared at, abused verbally and attacked. Yet Choudary still remains robust in his stance.
Speaking to the Independent, Choudary admitted that he met “Mujahid,” formerly known as “Michael” before converting to Islam, however insists that he could not have been radicalized by his teachings. Choudary insists that more extremist material such as sermons of Yemen-based cleric Anwar Al Awlaki and the Al Qaeda-linked magazine Inspire, are easily available via the internet which could have influenced his actions, highlighting the lack of responsibility which Choudary is willing to accept.
Choudary further explained to The Independent that “He (Mujahid) attended our meetings and my lectures. I wouldn’t describe him as a member [of Al Muhajiroun]. There were lots of people who came to our activities who weren’t necessarily members.
“He was a pleasant, quiet guy. He reverted to Islam in about 2003. He was just a completely normal guy. He was interested in Islam, in memorising the Quran. He disappeared about two years ago. I don’t know what influences he has been under since then.”
I am sure Choudary won’t take it too personally if we do not take his word for it – he is the Muslim community’s equivalent of the English Defence League.
Sense of fear
The fear which is mounting amongst communities is reminiscent of the attacks of 7/7, which also included Muslim causalities. Yet we will not be too short of Muslim apologists or mosques willing to engage politically, and challenge the UK for their foreign policies and interventions in Muslim countries.
When will our mosques begin to take responsibility, in the duty of care, of British Muslims in the UK? Or are we to await a further few killings of innocent Muslims walking home from prayers at night and going about their mundane lives before they take heed?
The Muslims in the UK need to focus, strategize and implement a plan of action imminently for the benefit of not only Muslims, but non-Muslims also. Societal development within their communities and mosques will ensure there are no repeats of radical acts before it becomes too late.
If anyone falls victim to any form of Islamophobic attack – please report the incident, however big or small to: