So, British law no longer applies?
UK DAILY MAIL – As a throng of Muslim families crowd around him, Abu Izzadeen speaks in a quiet voice of his plans for the future of Britain. The tall, bearded 36-year-old — who was recently freed from prison after serving a term for funding terrorism — is telling, in chilling detail, how he wants to impose Islam’s strict Sharia law on this country.
At a shopping mall in Waltham Forest, North London, Muslim passers-by listen intently. Some shout greetings in Arabic from across the street. Fathers push forward their young sons (wearing skull caps for prayers at the local mosque) so they can get a good view of the man who is plainly viewed by many as a hero.
Today, Izzadeen, the self-styled ‘Director for Waltham Forest Muslims’, will march with his supporters — many of them new young recruits to Islam — as part of their campaign to make the suburban borough into Britain’s first Sharia-law zone. Under his brutal set of rules, there would be a ban on alcohol, gambling, drugs, music, smoking and homosexuality, as well as on men and women mixing in public.
This is all part of Izzadeen’s concerted campaign to defeat ‘Western decadence’ and turn large parts of Britain — where, his supporters say, ‘people live like animals in a jungle’ — into an Islamic Emirate.
Already, 20,000 yellow leaflets have been printed by Islamic activists, saying ‘You are entering a Sharia controlled zone. Islamic rules enforced.’ The leaflets have been stuck onto lamp-posts, put up in shop windows and on pillar boxes. As fast as the police and council officials tear them down, more go up.
Izzadeen says: ‘This is the first step towards turning Britain into an Islamic state. There are nearly three million Muslims in this country. Islam is a sleeping giant that is waking. We have moved on from the debate about the provision of halal meat to more political issues. ‘Twenty-five areas around Britain have large Muslim populations, including Bradford, Dewsbury, Leicester and Luton. We want to turn them all into Islamic Emirates, where the excesses of Western civilisation are not tolerated.’
Tempting though it is to dismiss Izzadeen as a barmy extremist — which he surely is — the huge influx of Muslims into such areas has turned his campaign into a potentially explosive issue. One in seven of those living in the borough of Waltham Forest is a practising Muslim. Nearby Newham and Tower Hamlets, where leaflets are also being distributed, have populations where, respectively, one in four and one in three follows the Muslim faith.
According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, every year 17,000 Muslim women in Britain become victims of forced marriages, are raped by their husbands or subjected to female genital mutilation — all condoned by more extreme Islamists.
The campaign to introduce Sharia-controlled zones is being run by a new and radical organisation, Muslims Against Crusades (MAC). Its slick website carries propaganda about why the Islamic way of life is best. The website says Sharia law zones have ‘momentous’ support from Muslim businessmen, lawyers and community leaders, who are ‘sickened by the alcohol, pornography and downright secular culture of Britain’.
One letter posted on the site yesterday, and said to be from a local man, says (in non-perfect English): ‘Brothers, it is about time we open our eyes to the reality where our own community is being corrupted by the Kaffar (disbeliever) and their so-called freedom. ‘The amount of our sons and daughter who have been affected by the non-Islamic culture is shocking. The Muslim youth today see no problem in having boyfriends and girlfriends before marriage, or walking out of college together.’
Promoting the introduction of Sharia law, MAC explains: ‘In the past 50 years, the United Kingdom has transformed beyond recognition. ‘What was once a predominantly Christian country has now been overwhelmed by a rising Muslim population, which seeks to preserve its Islamic identity and protect itself from the satanic values of the Britain.
‘There are now more than 2.8 million Muslims living in the U.K., which is 5 per cent of the population. At least 5,200 people convert to Islam in the UK each year, 60 per cent of them women. ‘The entire infrastructure of Britain is changing. Mosques, Islamic schools, Sharia courts, Muslim-owned businesses and banks have now become an integral part of the British landscape.’
So how likely are these extremists to succeed with their plans to turn parts of Britain into militant Islamic enclaves? There are already 100 mosques in Waltham Forest, Newham and Tower Hamlets. Across London, 24 Islamic primary and secondary schools teach thousands of pupils the national curriculum, but can devote time to Islamic studies in religious lessons. Hundreds of after-school classes (where boys and girls wearing robes, skull caps or hijabs and learn to recite the Koran by heart) flourish in the mosques of British cities.
Eighty-five Sharia courts now operate nationwide, parallel to traditional courts, with justice dispensed by Islamic judges on domestic rows, divorce, financial disputes and an increasing number of minor criminal acts, such as theft.
There is also a separate Islamic financial system which conforms to Sharia banking industry restrictions, including a ban on interest payments on loans. According to this year’s Global Islamic Finance Report, Britain is now the main centre for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world.
Baroness Cox, a crossbench peer and campaigner for Muslim women, has highlighted the dangers of the increasing influence of extreme factions within Islamic culture. She says: ‘As the Muslim population has grown, and the state-sponsored creed of multiculturalism has become ever more powerful, so Sharia law has strengthened its grip on our society.
‘This is a recipe for disaster, because different legal systems for people of different religions will promote divisions between communities. Not only that, Sharia courts discriminate terribly against women. Sharia treats women as second-class citizens, whether it be in inheritance rights or divorce. In Sharia courts, a woman’s word counts for only half the value of that of a man.
‘Polygamy is also tolerated, with men allowed to take multiple wives. I know of Muslim women being subjected to savage domestic violence, and then refused a divorce, while their husbands are free to enter into further marriages to women from overseas.’
Equally worried about the growth of the pro-Sharia campaign is Alan Craig, a former Newham councillor who has lived in East London for 30 years. He says: ‘This is the public tip of a hidden iceberg.’ He points to the example of street advertisements featuring girls in swimsuits, which are regularly blacked out by Islamic activists who paint burkhas over the models’ bodies. He says Muslim women have also been threatened with violence for not wearing burkhas.
He adds: ‘Islam in Britain is now a political force, and not just a religion. Society in this part of London is slowing being changed. But I am not surprised the campaign for Sharia zones resonates with Muslim families. I’m sure there will be sympathy for aspects of Sharia law with British parents, too. We all know about the town centre behaviour of our young on a Saturday night.’
Mr Craig says he believes the campaign for Sharia zones has more widespread support among Muslims than the authorities are prepared to admit. ‘I would like to think that the campaign is orchestrated by extremists, and is only supported by a small group of their followers; but I fear that it is not the case.’
A recent poll by research organisation ICM of 500 Muslim families revealed that 40 per cent supported the introduction of the strict religious code in Britain. Another, by the right-leaning Policy Exchange, found that more than one-third of young Muslims would be happy to live under Sharia rules.
No doubt such findings will invigorate Mr Izzadeen and his sidekicks. They include Anjem Choudary, a British-born convert to Islam and the former leader of the extremist organisation Islam4UK, which was banned by the Government. Its supporters, who included Izzadeen, had called for the Islamic flag to fly over Downing Street, and some of its members burned poppies on Armistice Day last year in central London.
This week, Choudary claimed that Waltham Forest’s proposed Sharia zone would be patrolled by young Islamists. ‘We have hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are willing to go out and make sure our laws are obeyed,’ he says. ‘This is the best way of dealing with drunkenness, loutishness, prostitution and the sort of thug life you get in Britain.’