Anjem Choudary, The Washington Times, and a Hadith on the “White House”

From the Washington Times (via Ed Brayton):

Islamists say the Koran is destined to rule America. In fact, the Muslim takeover of the White House is not just an unfolding action plan but a directive from Muhammad himself.

In an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” British radical Muslim activist Anjem Choudary made clear what he and his Islamist brothers have planned for the West. “We do believe, as Muslims, the East and the West will one day be governed by the Shariah,” he said. “Indeed, we believe that one day, the flag of Islam will fly over the White House.” He then quoted a hadith, or saying of Muhammad, as related by 10th-century Muslim scholar Al-Tabarani, that “the final hour will not come until Muslims conquer the White House.” Another version of the saying goes, “A small portion of Muslims will rise and conquer the White House.”

Many Americans believe this conquest is well underway, if not already secretly completed. President Obama was concerned enough about perceptions of his faith to address the question at one of his recent “backyard discussions” in New Mexico. Mr. Obama said he is “a Christian by choice,” which may or may not assuage the concerns of those who believe he is a Muslim by birth…

OK, Choudary first. His source is apparently the Kitab al-Imara, or Book of Government. Here, we read:

It has been narrated on the authority of Amir b. Sa’d b. Abu Waqqas who said: I wrote (a letter) to Jabir b. Samura and sent it to him through my servant Nafi’, asking him to inform me of something he had heard from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He wrote to me (in reply): I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say on Friday evening, the day on which al-Aslami was stoned to death (for committing adultery): The Islamic religion will continue until the Hour has been established, or you have been ruled over by twelve Caliphs, all of them being from the Quraish. also heard him say: A small force of the Muslims will capture the white palace, the palace* of the Persian Emperor or his descendants…

(*Presumably due to a dodgy scan, some websites have “police of the Persian Emperor” rather than “palace”)

Choudary’s interpretation of this text is absurdly ahistorical, although he learnt it from his mentor Omar Bakri: Jon Ronson’s book Them (page xiii) notes that Bakri posted “The final hour will not come until Muslims conquer the White House” on his website on 13 September 2001. Despite some on-line speculation, the idea that the Hadith predicts the existence and fate of the US White House does not seem to be widely held or to be a motivating factor in modern Islam. Tellingly, a search on Google Books for “Tabarani” and “White House” or for the two quotes brings up only two relevant citations, both from evangelical Christian books about Islam.

And as for the Times, this is not the first time that the paper has raised the question of whether Obama is secretly selling out the US to Islam. So, let’s remind ourselves once again who founded the paper and whose son (who, by the way, purports to be friendly to Muslims) still controls it…

Charlie Flowers and NiceOnesUK

A poster on Indymedia draws attention to a group calling itself “NiceOnesUK”; we’re told – amidst some overheated rhetoric – that

Among the group’s facebook admin and members are names that will be familiar to anyone who has followed the racist English Defence League, some of whom were there around the time of the EDL’s inception. There are also members of the group ‘Cheerleaders’ to be found in this group (they have quite a colourful history of their own)

…Their group description is basically a distraction away from their real intentions. So far they have had various outings in central London, with one outing ending up in an altercation in Whitechapel (the current favourite haunt for right wing groups). Exactly what went on we haven’t been able to get to the bottom of yet, though it involved members of the local Muslim community.

NiceOnesUK does not just include “members” of the “Cheerleaders”; the “Cheerleaders” logo is displayed prominently on the NiceOnesUK website, and both groups have very similar statements of intent:

It should be made absolutely clear that we oppose ALL fascism and racism, whether it comes from white, brown or beige groups. The reason for the focus on Islamism is that it does not receive the same dismissal from across the board as other extreme right ideologies. It is fair to say that the BNP encounters condemnation from all sections of society for it’s supremacism, homophobia and racial discrimination, while Islamist groups preaching worse than the BNP could dream up go unopposed. The likes of Hizb ut-Tahrir have been able to hold conferences for thousands of people unchallenged, while other Islamists such as the Islamic Sharia Council are given the thumbs up to operate in Britain.

…NiceOnesUK is pro-Islam and pro-Muslim. Anyone looking for a group to bash Muslims should look elsewhere.

As with the “Cheerleaders”, the nature of NiceOnesUK is somewhat obscured by pseudonyms: the group is led by a certain “Betty Cantrell”.

The IndyMedia posting has drawn responses both from Matthew Kaplan, who was formerly in the EDL, and from Charlie Flowers, who developed the “Cheerleaders” concept. According to Kaplan:

 I haven’t had anything to do with EDL for ages, and won’t as long as they continue to tolerate racism and lump all Muslims together as ‘the baddies’ (not holding my breath), among other things.

…As to the article itself, I’m excited to find out what this “altercation” in Whitechapel was. They can’t be talking about our encounter with the Hugo Boss Taliban, can they?

Flowers, meanwhile, distances himself from the EDL’s Guramit Singh and from Bill Baker (Flowers was filmed holding the megaphone when Singh made his notorious comment about Muslims burning in hell during a rally in support of Geert Wilders, and Baker’s anti-Muslim views have become increasingly sanguinary):

I disagree with some of what Guramit said- I think he’s wrong. Same goes for Bill’s attitude now- I think he’s wrong. Come to our groups and be astonished when you fail to find Rudolf Hess burnishing an eagle, and instead find people from all sections generally getting along…


I blogged on Flowers’ links to the EDL here; while this was interpreted as an attack on Flowers for associating with the EDL, my main point was actually that the link to Flowers was another reason to regard the EDL negatively.

The Indymedia author, predictably, sees the “NiceOnesUK” as an anti-Muslim group hiding behind some moderate stances, and he throws around accusations of “racism” and “fascism”. However, this misses the point. Flowers is not motivated by racism, and it’s clear that he has a nuanced and generally well-informed perspective on Islam. The problem with Flowers is that he’s a manipulative cyber-bully on a power trip, as I have blogged a number of times.

Last year, Flowers didn’t like the fact that Tim Ireland had exposed bogus postings made to a Muslim website; his response was to send Tim “I know where you live” type comments. A few months later, when Tim exposed the lies of Dominic Wightman (with whom Flowers had formerly worked), the “Cheerleaders” published Tim’s home address and boasted it would be sent to everyone he’d “ever pissed off” – that would have included the BNP. Tim’s not the only person he’s done this to; when the author of Kirklees Unity wrote something Flowers didn’t like, his one of his “Cheerleader” accomplices dipped into Redwatch to fish out a home address. However, the campaign against Tim was more sustained, and included threats of violence and a distasteful expression of malice against Tim’s family. The campaign has also recently re-started.

Further, while Flowers has falsely accused me of “making links” with  Islamists, the “Cheerleaders” have used a Muslim webforum to reveal that a recent (and mentally troubled) convert to Islam was gay; presumably they hoped that their tip-off would reach extremists and that this man (and perhaps his partner) would come to harm because of his sexuality. Not all of Flowers’ bullying is politically-related; a few months ago he warned a woman writer that he was “watching” her, apparently because this woman was in a dispute with a friend of his. Flowers is also not above creating distorted impressions about his associates: Flowers posted photos and sent messages to give the impression that members of his “Fighting Cocks” music band and other friends were involved with his various antics, when in fact they were not.

It is not known how many people have been involved with Flowers’ acts of harassment, although he has at least two accomplices: a man named Matthew Edwards, and an as-yet unidentified woman who left a goading message on YouTube. There may be others; the “Cheerleaders'” bullying campaigns have been largely conducted from the safety of pseudonymous Facebook profiles and email addresses. In recent months, a number of these profiles have been deactivated, and Flowers has been making new alliances with various individuals and groups (and rebuilding his band). Most of these persons have probably only seen Flowers’ good-humoured public persona, rather than the vicious keyboard bully, and are working with Flowers in good faith. Others, though, are likely to have been involved with his cyber-bullying campaigns. Since we can’t distinguish between them, Flowers tarnishes everyone he associates with.

That’s the real problem faced by “Betty Cantrell” and by NiceOnesUK.

UPDATE 1: In Pavlovian style, Flowers has reasserted his control by… creating two rather pathetic blogs attacking me. He’s too much of a creep to put his name to them, of course, but it’s him – he warned me he would do it if I tried to make his associates aware of what he’s really like, and once again he’s been surprised to discover that his threats are unimpressive.

The first blog accuses me of being ex-SWP and of having had “several dealings with Islamic Extremists and Nazi sympathisers”. This is all untrue (although I used to hang out with some SWP members – so what?), and given Flowers’ own associations and behaviour laughably hypocritical. The supposed “dealings with Islamic extremists and Nazi sympathisers” refers to when I received information from MPACUK about the use of IP addresses to post bogus messages on Muslim websites; this was no secret, and I mentioned it at the time. Flowers isn’t keen for anyone to look into this subject, for reasons that are obvious: he and his “Cheerleaders” have themselves been “dealing with Islamic extremists”, with the intention of inciting violence against a gay man, and they don’t want people like me drawing attention to the fact. What other shameful secrets are out there?

The second blog pastes a crude attack on me made by the followers of a Nigerian evangelist who were offended by my opposition to children being stigmatised as witches. Flowers endorses the attack, adding that it means I am “anti-religious”. This puts him into some particularly unseemly company, and of course makes a mockery of everything he purports to stand for.

But the wider point is that I don’t represent anyone and I’m not in charge of any sort of organisation. It doesn’t matter what sort of a person I might be: the facts of Flowers’ behaviour speak for themselves, and are not made less ugly if I turn out to have foolish or malign political views.

UPDATE 2: The discussion thread following the Indymedia article includes the claim that a NiceOnesUK associate of Flowers who uses the name “Arry Ajamali” also associates with EDL leaders at protests, and that this person is Flowers’ cousin. Soon after this comment was published, Flowers locked down the privacy settings of his “Cheerleaders” Facebook page. A comment from another person involved with NiceOnesUK then added that “Charlie has left the Nice ones”.