Commenting on the government’s proscribing of Islam4UK under 2000 anti-terrorism legislation, Symon Hill, co-director of the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, observed:
“Despite representing very few people other than himself, Anjem Choudary has now attracted so much publicity that his tiny group of extremists has been banned. Islam4UK has welcomed the news as a “victory”.
“Choudary and the tabloids know they can rely on each other. When the papers denounce Choudary, he gets lots of publicity and can use their attacks as evidence that Islam is hated. When he plans offensive stunts, they use him to sell papers and indulge prejudices.
“The ban on Islam4UK does not appear to have followed new information about terrorism. It is alarming that a minister can ban an organisation simply by associating it with terrorism, with no need to produce meaningful evidence or to have that decision tested by Parliament or the courts.
“Choudary’s opinions are certainly repugnant. He is actively opposed to basic principles of human rights. But if foul opinions were illegal, would also have to ban the BNP and Christian Voice, whose leader recently called for gay people who are HIV positive to be executed.
“The truth is, freedom from being offended is not a human right.”