By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
20 August 2016
For as long as one can remember Anjem Choudary has been in the business of telling the world that Islam is the best religion in the world. Much like Zakir Naik, he went about telling the British society about the virtues of Islam through its hallowed institutions like Sharia. Given an opportunity he also lured people into reciting the Kalima and then declaring to the world that one more person has embraced Islam. Saner people would be repulsed with most of his ideas, but for Anjem and his supporters, there can be nothing better than the Sharia: only through such a law can Muslims be said to be living a truly Islamic life. Not just for Muslims, Anjem had been advocating the application of Sharia for the whole of Britain since according to him; the British citizens would be better off having the status of the Dhimmis.
Anjem is notorious for wanting an Islamic flag atop the British Parliament. Only through Islam, Britain would be able to save its soul. Thus Islam is not just important for Muslims but for the whole of British society and by extension for the whole world. If there is indeed any dichotomous worldview which Islam advocates, then Anjem is its best example. The world of Muslims according to him should be different from the world of non-Muslims. The desire of each and every Muslim should be to convert the non-Muslim world into a Muslim world through indoctrination and if possible jihad. Anjem would choose the path of indoctrination instead of jihad, yet even then he could not escape indictment.
Beyond the narrow legalistic interpretation of whether Anjem Choudary can be held guilty on charges of terrorism is the bigger question of what he was promoting. His advocacy of Sharia and his complete refusal to condemn terrorism, even his failure to call people like Bin Laden a terrorist on the nonsensical plea that he did not meet him, does not inspire much confidence.
Likewise, his clear non-denunciation of ISIS on the pretext that he could not condemn a fellow Muslim because his religion forbade him was equally shameful and designed to escape the law rather than the desire to speak the truth. In a situation where Muslims all over the world are increasingly being questioned on the perverted interpretation of their religion, strutting about the British society proclaiming that Sharia is divine and immutable was the very obverse of what was required from a person like Choudary.
In fact the case of Anjem Choudary requires a deeper examination by the Muslim society, particularly within the Indian context. It is well know that people like Anjem Choudary and Zakir Naik have huge followings within Indian Muslims. Both men have shown huge hubris on questions of the Islam and are brewing with ideas which assume the superiority of Islam over all other religious and political ideologies.
The bigger problem though is that both are reasonably educated people. This seems to be in tune with other trends within Islamic terrorism wherein increasingly the brains behind senseless violence have been educated Muslims. Whether it was the 9/11, or the Bali bombings or the more recent Dhaka attacks, Muslim men involved in these attacks came from educated backgrounds. Given the fact that Indian Muslims lag behind in education as compared to most communities, this indeed is a sorry development. For it is expected of such people to use their educational capital to become the role model within the community. Role model they are becoming but of a very different kind. The path that they have chosen for themselves are asking others to take can only put the community at graver risk of being the target of hateful criticism.
But perhaps such thoughts do not bother or perturb our missionaries like Anjem Choudary. Perhaps they would be happy if the Muslim community becomes a target of ridicule and hate as it will help them in their politics of telling the Muslims that the world hates them. The prime question which never gets asked either by the Choudarys or the Naiks and millions of other Muslims is that why they are being made targets of vilification. What else do they expect when in the 21st century, they want to implement an early medieval law? Do they think that the world will appreciate them when they advocate amputation for minor theft, when they have no law to tackle sexual assault or when they justify slavery by denying agency to women in all quarters of life? Or do they believe that the world should respect then irrespective what nonsensical ideas they believe in? Isn’t it expecting too much while giving away nothing?
Arshad Alam is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com