Muslim activist, Abu Zakariya, shares his thoughts on a report recently published by the Islamophobic organisation, Shariah Watch UK.
The Shariah Watch UK is an organisation that claims to be fighting Shariah law from creeping into the UK. Browse its website and you’ll find that it has five areas of concern regarding Shariah law, with two of them being Islamic finance and halal food! (1)
It’s hard to take seriously that the true causes of concern for us now in the UK (putting aside homelessness, poverty and debt) is having Muslims offering alternative banks or meat dishes.
If you have a few more minutes to review the Shariah Watch website, you’ll find some articles, a few YouTube videos and, frankly, not much more than that. It’s very basic, to say the least. Essentially the website comes across as nothing more than a drag and drop of rehashed and rebranded anti-Muslim rhetoric. It puts out little less than an article a week, usually around the same day, and other than a few additional speeches from their founder, this seems to be the extent of their work. In fact, it’s difficult to find anyone related to the organisation other than its founder Anne Marie Waters.
If you care to read the propaganda articles, you’ll find the usual far-right type headlines about Shariah law, mega mosques and Jihad, aimed at scaring the British public into thinking that the Muslims are taking over. For example, in a speech by Anne-Marie Waters on the website about Shariah law, she concludes:
“In conclusion, sharia law has arrived in Britain; it is here – both hidden and out in the open. It is our duty to confront it. For every woman and girl who is forced in to marriage, or beaten and abused, both now and in the future, it is our duty to defend her. For every man and woman who wants to utilise their fundamental right to free expression, to criticise or leave their religion, without being terrorised or killed. It is our duty to defend them, both now and in the future. We have to do it now, before it is too late.” (2)
She paints quite a worrying picture for the UK: terrorising and the killing of apostates, forced marriages, abused women, and no freedom of expression. Such sound bites fulfill their objective of grabbing the attention of anyone uneducated about the true teachings of the Islamic faith. Ms Waters’ would have us believe that the Muslims are taking over, “we have to do it now, before it’s too late”, is her mad cry for action.
The “Muslim invasion” of Britain
In all honesty, anyone who has lived in and around the UK’s Muslim community will tell you that the only thing that Muslims are taking over in the UK is restaurants. Just go down to Ladypool Road in Birmingham on a Friday night and you’ll see the balti houses packed with white indigenous Brits happily tucking into their halal chicken tikka or mirch masala. No cause for concern there, unless Anne and the Shariah Watch team are worried about the amount of hot spices the Pakistani chefs are piling into the curry of her fellow British consumers? Maybe this should be their sixth cause for concern on the Shariah Watch website.
It appears that the grand plan of the Muslims has already begun but not in the manner that Ms Waters would have us believe. The conversions are taking place in the masses…but only from fish and chips to chicken curry! What next, Ras Malai and Ludoo’s replacing the traditional Kipling mince pies? That must surely go against our British values!
The claim of Shariah law creeping into the UK is easily dismissed. You may giggle at this seemingly unknown organisation and it’s laughable manifesto but scratch beneath the surface and what you find is something far more sinister.
Far right and Islamophobic links
Anne Marie Waters is a former Labour party parliamentary candidate, who recently joined the right-wing UKIP party whilst setting up Shariah Watch. In the past, while trying to tackle “Islamic extremism”, she was promoting and working with well-known far right extremist organisations and supporters from the English Defence League (3).
Her other liaisons include Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who are both well-known for their virulent Islamophobic and racist comments. In fact they are such a great cause for concern to the British Public that they are both banned from entering the UK (4).
Despite Ms Waters trying to present herself as some sort of liberal secularist, it’s because of these dangerous liaisons that many consider her organisation to be nothing more than an extension of the far right organisations and individuals that she supports and promotes. An organisation which actually pursues an Islamophobic and racist agenda.
Even her former colleagues from other organisations have disassociated themselves from Anne, openly highlighting their concerns about her extremism. (5 & 6)
Shariah Watch’s latest report
Anne’s organisation’s latest attempt at stoking the anti-Muslim sentiment is a new report entitled ‘Learning Jihad – Islamists in British Universities’. From the small sensationalist elements released from the report, it’s already apparent that the report is littered with innuendos and inaccuracies that are plain to see for any balanced journalist.
For example, it claims Islamic organisations are infiltrating schools and scout groups on an unprecedented scale. It’s ridiculous analysis about the scout groups appears to be based on an internet post about one individual speaking to a scout group about Islam in order for them to obtain their scout faith badge. Not a very robust analysis by any standard.
The problem, however, is that the untrained reader, at which the report is aimed, will easily be taken in by the non-contextualised quotations and false accusations purported therein. And in a time when Islamophobia and racism is on the rise, this sort of rhetoric is incredibly worrying.
As we’ve witnessed in recent times by the cold blooded murders of pensioner Mohammad Saleem in Birmingham and PhD student Nahid al Manea in Colchester, tensions are already running high.
Such reports can only drive a further divide between communities and give more credence to anti-Muslim groups and hate crimes.
The report was due out this week, with a launch scheduled at the University of West London.
However, following enquiries amid concerns from individuals and groups about Anne and the Shariah Watch organisation, it’s reassuring to know that the University has cancelled the event.
Just like her website, don’t expect the shallow analysis from her report to be anything more than a recycled cutting and pasting off the internet, as she tries to rally the troops behind her war cry. No doubt, the Shariah Watch report will still find an uncultured following of people who will always find ammunition in the writings of other right-wing antagonists.
Let’s just hope that the likes of Anne and her Shariah Watch report get no wider exposure than their poisonous rants deserve.