On Thursday, the radical Muslim and veteran provocateur Anjem Choudary plans to hold a demonstration in front of the White House calling for an extreme form of sharia to reign in America.
Whether the protest actually goes forward – there’s a real chance it won’t, if Choudary’s past stunts are any guide – doesn’t really matter. Choudary, who is known for applauding terrorism and calling for stonings of gay people and the overthrow of democratic governments, has already logged several appearances on Fox and CNN, generated a bunch of articles in the right-wing press, and even prompted a member of Congress to demand that he be banned from the country. All that in the last month.
Choudary is a London-based preacher who has over the past decade become the face of radical Islam in the British press – especially in the tabloids, and even more especially the right-wing papers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. – despite having no religious credentials and virtually no public support. In fact, according to those who have tracked his career in Britain, Choudary is wholly a press creation.
“He’s a media whore,” says Mehdi Hasan, a senior editor at theNew Statesman who has covered Choudary. “There are real Islamist groups that can get crowds together but his is not one of them. He doesn’t have the numbers to make good on his claims. What he does have is a media that’s very happy to play the game with him.”
Cf. “Poppy burning idiots give Daily Star excuse to bash Muslims”,ENGAGE, 25 February 2011