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11 January 2010

The Islamists’ Wootton Bassett march is off!

Knock me down with a feather . . .

By Mehdi Hasan

The controversial British Islamist group Islam4UK, led by the rabble-rousing, publicity-hungry bigot Anjem Choudary, has dropped its plans to hold a protest march through the town of Wootton Bassett.

Surprise, surprise!

This was always nothing more than a crude publicity stunt. As Demos’s Jamie Bartlett wrote in the Telegraph:

There is only one thing worse than being talked about. Especially when you are the leader of a provincial Islamist group that has global pretentions. So it wasn’t surprising when the publicity-hungry Anjem Choudary announced his plan to parade 500 empty coffins through Wootton Bassett to symbolise the thousands of Muslims killed “by the oppressive US and UK regimes” in the war in Afghanistan. The date has been cleverly left unspecified. His deft media touch suggests he has planned his communication strategy in far more detail than his blueprint for installing the Caliphate (date also unspecified).

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But, as I asked on this blog exactly a week ago, “Why do the media give the buffoonish Choudary so much time and attention?” Is it not time for papers like the Sun and the Express simply to ignore him and his goons and their predictable, provocative, self-serving antics? Or is it the case that right-wing tabloids and attention-seeking Islamists feed off each other?

Allow me to repeat myself: “Our sensationalist and irresponsible media have, in fact, been deeply complicit in the rise and rise of this fanatic, devoting quite disproportionate and counterproductive coverage to his various rantings.”