The previously little known web-based extremist group, Islam4UK, has managed to grab attention in the media by creating an outcry over its plans to hold a demonstration in the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett - the town whose people have lined the streets to honour the passing coffins of our military personnel returned from Afghanistan.
Islam4UK is said to be the front for the Al Mohajiroun group, which has been banned in the UK for several years. Their aim is to cause political instability and to turn Britain into an Islamic state governed under sharia law.
Its frontman, Anjem Choudary, is said to have stated that “Islam is undeniably the only real solution for Britain’s problems.” This ‘solution’ is said to advocate banning alcohol and introducing public floggings for people who get drunk. Mr Choudary is also said to believe Christmas is "evil" and turkey dinners, crackers and Christmas trees are the "pathway to hellfire".
Choudary has published an open letter on his group’s website, addressed directly to the people of Wootton Bassett. He explains, in rather long and ranting prose, his reasoning for his proposed action. He also invites us all to join the Islamic faith. Interestingly, when I tried to access the website tonight, it appeared to have mysteriously disappeared but you can read the full text here.
Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has said, in his usual understated way, that Choudary’s intentions are “completely inappropriate”.
They are far more than that. They are inflammatory and designed to cause conflict and civil unrest.
I have immense faith that most members of the Muslim communities in the UK will be horrified at the publicity seeking actions of Islam4UK and will shun them totally.
I am not so hopeful the same is true of the extreme right wing organisations this stunt is designed to irritate.
Meanwhile, if Mr Choudary and Co. are genuine in their concern for the Afghan people, I am sure we could offer them free passage on the return flights that delivered our dead soldiers.
Somehow, I think life in the UK, and the right we all have to freedom of speech in our non-Islamic state, is far too comfortable to leave behind!!