Today programme, BBC Radio 4, 8.10am, Friday 22nd September 2006, with John Humphreys
JH: The Home Secreatry John Reid experienced at first hand a taste of Muslim anger this week. He was talking to a group of Muslims urging them to do more to tackle extremism, when he was shouted down by one of his audience, Mr Abu Izzadeen, who told him that he was a tyrant, who had no right to come to a Muslim area. Mr Izzadeen was bustled out of the room since when he’s avoided the media, but he’s in the studio with us now. Good morning…you said to Mr Reid, “How dare you come to this area?”, I suppose I should say to you how dare you suggest that he shouldn’t?”
AI: My address to Mr Reid was primarily to deal with his behaviour in the past year and his previous position as Defence minister (sic). He has been killing Muslims abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as Home Secretary he has been presiding over the arrest of many Muslims and in that light how dare he come to address the Muslims…
His view is nothing more than to ask the community to turn in on itself and spy and do the police’s job. … We are facing in the UK a crusade, a complete attack by the British government. Over a 1000 arrests, many houses being raided in the daytime, night-time, women have been arrested and taken away from their homes, with no evidence whatsoever, and the Muslm community’s had enough. And that’s the reason why I was so angry. It’s outrageous to see someone like John Reid, who’s been presiding over so much attacks against the Muslim community to come and address us as if he’s our friend. He’s an enemy towards Islam and Muslims. And I believe the thousands that’s been arrested – and those are official figures – let alone those that have not been mentioned or documented, they’ll be very support of what I’ve said.
JH: How come JR was given a pretty sympathetic reception at this event?
AI: The British government, they always have a policy of divide and rule, where they have their own, we say in Urdu, chamchays, British Raj mentalities, who will work for them and support their agenda, and unfortunately some of those that were present, but not all, some of those that were present from the selected and chosen ones by the British government, who have a sympathetic and kind ear to the British government. But from the general masses those that have been arrested, those that have been targeted by the police. I mean it’s not going to wash.
JH: How can you presume to speak for the general masses of Muslims, you’re not elected to any post?
AI: We’re not talking about elections. I’m a Muslim…I work with the community, live with the community. John Reid doesn’t. And I’m telling you that we’ve had enough. We’ve had enough of the police raids, we’ve had enough of the shootings in Forest Gate, we’ve had enough of the arrests inside Walthamstow, inside restaurants, under the guise of your “war against terror”, which everybody knows – Muslims and non-Muslims – is a war against Islam. And I’m telling you something, if they don’t stop this, then there’s going to be a very strong reaction from the community, maybe not from me on an individual level, but people have had enough.”
JH: What do you mean by that “a very strong reaction”?
AI: Well I think that the British government should really open their eyes and smell the coffee. You can only push people to a certain level before they explode, I’m not talking about a self-suicide operation, but there’s a tension within the community because they are being targeted. The British police said that as a Muslim you are more likely to be stopped, you’re more likely to be searched, you’re more likely to be harassed because of your belief, you’re more likely to be shot because you look like a Muslim. We’re not going to take that – I don’t think any community in the UK would take that.
JH: Well, you’ve obviously heard the British government say something that I haven’t heard them say that. What they have done is – it’s certainly true that they’ve questioned and arrested a large number of Muslims. The reason for that is blatantly obvious isn’t it?
AI: Yeah it’s a war against Islam and Muslims that’s why.
JH: No, the reason for that is the vast majority of major terrorist attacks before, after and including 9/11 have been carried out by Muslims on behalf of Islam. That is…
AI: If you’re going to talk about terrorism, I think you can look to Tony Blair, coz at the moment the biggest terrorist on the planet is George Bush and his sidekick.
JH: Let’s talk about 9/11 and the terrorist attacks that have happened since then, including one in this country which killed a large number of British people, including some Muslims.
AI: Yeah, well should we talk about that? How many people died in 9/11? 3000? Let’s give a nice round figure of 5000 people. Since 9/11, the British Crusader forces and the American Crusader forces, George Bush has it’s a crusade, so I’m not going to argue with the President of the United States, he said it’s a crusade, Tony Blair sided with him as a crusader. They have killed…the bombing campaign alone, some say 70,000 inside Iraq, some said 100,000.
JH: So is it justified?
AI: Just one second. If we’re going to talk about casualties, look to the bigger picture. You can see the Muslim community worldwide are suffering from many 9/11s, many 7/7s throughout the Muslim world. …
JH: So do you think that 9/11 was justified?
AI: …That’s why the real terrorist is Tony Blair. He’s a murderer, there’s blood on his hands, of Muslims in Afghanistan, Muslims inside Iraq, not to mention that American weapons that were coming via the UK to bomb Muslims inside Lebanon.
JH: I tell you what you do about Tony Blair, you vote against him. It’s your right as a British citizen, vote him out of office if you disapprove of what he’s doing, but are you telling me that 9/11 and the subsequent attacks, including the attack on this country were justified because of the things you’re talking about?
AI: Who’s talking about justification?
JH: I’m asking you whether you whether, you know perfectly well what…
AI: …I haven’t mentioned anything about justification. I’m talking about the reality of Muslims being attacked after 9/11… the numbers of casualties are much greater on the Muslim side. So no-one’s taking about justification apart from yourself.
JH: I’m asking you whether they were justified?
AI: Well why don’t you go and ask the terrorists?
JH: No, no, I’m asking you.
AI: No you ask the terrorists. Those who took out the operations, we should go to them and ask them why did you do so? And I believe that there was a video release by Mohammed Siddique Khan, after the operation he did on 7/7, he explained clearly why he did those, it’s not for me to justify or for me to condemn because it doesn’t make any difference. People are dead. Rather you should go to those who did the operation and ask them why they did it, and they said clearly ‘if you bomb us, we’ll bomb you back.’ That’s not about justification, it’s about what they said.
JH: Let me tell you…what the Channel 4 poll on British Muslims said that one in four British Muslims believe that the attacks on London last July were justified, and that’s the word, because of British support for the American-led war on Iraq.
AI: So what are you asking me for? You’ve got a clear poll, and you’re asking me about my opinion?
JH: Because you presume to barrack John Reid in the way that you did, you told him that he had no right….
AI: He’s an enemy to Islam, he’s an enemy to Muslims.
JH: That’s right an enemy of Islam.
AI: Of course he is.
JH: An enemy of Islam?
AI: When they said ‘crusade’, what does a ‘crusade’ mean?
JH: Are you suggesting to me that you represent?
AI: I’m not suggesting anything, I don’t claim to represent the Muslims.
JH: You don’t?
AI: I represent the Islamic viewpoint.
JH: Well whose Islamic viewpoint? Your Islamic viewpoint?
AI: The Islamic viewpoint.
JH: The Islamic viewpoint. You mean there’s only one is there?
AI: Yes in regards to this.
JH: Is there really?
AI: Mr Reid is a tyrant.
JH: Is there really only one. Tariq Ramadan for instance does not represent…
AI: He is a tyrant. When Tony Blair says that there is an evil ideology, he’ talking about Islam. There are tyrants, enemies to Islam, enemies to Muslims, there can be no debate and discussion when they kill Muslims, when they murder Muslims, they need to stop that immediately then we can open debates.
JH: Are you honestly telling me that your view on this is the only view in Islam? Because I have talked to a large number of Muslims who are very serious Islamic figures, Muslims, who tell me that that is not the case, they don’t agree with you or indeed with the views you have expressed here this morning.
AI: That Tony Blair isn’t a tyrant? I couldn’t care less, quite honestly. You may bring someone who says that the British government is in fact the best in the world, they are so kind to Muslims, they love Islam, Tony Blair loves Islam, George Bush loves Islam, in fact his name is Mawlana Blair and Mawlana Bush, Sheikh Bush, Sheikh Blair, I couldn’t care less. The reality is that Tony Blair is a crusader, enemy towards Muslims, enemy to Allah, and those who feel otherwise I think they should really wake up and smell the coffee, the reality is so clear, even the blind man can see. When they kill Muslims, they go under the guise of the crusade, British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, they go as crusader forces, they’re blessed by their own priests before they go into battle to kill Muslims.
JH: Well I’m not even going to enter into that discussion with you….
AI: Well I can’t force it, it’s a free country.
JH: Quite so, it is a free country, so why did you tell John Reid, as you did, when you interrupted him that you’re not interested in the freedom of speech?
AI: That’s right. I’m a Muslim. The reason why I speak out, is because Islam obliges me to forbid the evil. The Messenger Muhamamd (saw) said “Whoever sees an evil let him change it with his hand, if he can’t with his tongue”. The Muslim he will always forbid the evil and one of the evils is those who kill Muslims in Afghanistan like John Reid to come to the Muslims and address us, it’s a shame on us to accept this, because this man is a murderer. If it was my wife being killed in Afghanistan I would never accept it because I’m a Muslim I won’t accept it. Our Prophet Muhammad (saw) said that our Muslim community is one unique body beside all others. … My mother, my sister, my family, that’s why I was very angry, and anyone who believes in Islam, that’s why he would be furious that such a tyrant would come and address the community.
JH: If you’re not happy with this country, a lot of people would say, why…
AI: Who says I’m not happy with this country…
JH: Well you’re telling me it’s led by tyrants…
AI: I love the UK. Allah he created the whole universe.
JH: You’re telling me it’s led by a tyrant. You don’t approve of the rules, the way in which this country is run, you don’t approve of the government.
AI: That’s right. But who said I don’t like the UK?
JH: So why can you not go somewhere where Islam is the rule?
AI: Oh I see, so there’s going to be a mass deportation for those who don’t agree with the system?
JH: Did I suggest that/
AI: No, I’m asking you a question?
JH: No I was the one who asked you…
AI: No if you disagree with the government, then we have a system which is better, i.e. the Shariah, then we should leave?
JH: There is a convention on programmes like these during which the presenter asks the questions and the guests answer the question. What I’m asking you is whether this country is so offensive to you and some of your friends, you don’t have to stay here, you can live somewhere where there is Islamic law, you can go to Saudi Arabia?
AI: I think you misunderstood the reality. As a Muslim…
JH: I’ve misunderstood?
AI: I believe Allah is al-Khaliq, He’s the One who created the whole universe, he created the UK. It doesn’t belong to you, it doesn’t belong to the Queen, it doesn’t belong to the Anglo-Saxons.
JH: I never suggested that it did.
AI: It belongs to Allah the Creator, and He has put us on the planet Earth, to live wherever we want and implement the Sharia rules. If I live in the UK I will call for Islam.
JH: Forgive me but that is your view…
AI: It’s not for me to forgive you, if you die as a non-Muslim, you need to ask Allah to forgive you…
JH: You ask for Sharia law in this country?
AI: Of course we want Sharia rule in this country and in fact all the Muslims want Sharia.
JH: Just a second let me get a word in.
JH: If you want Sharia law in this country, I’ll tell you want you do, you stand as a member of Parliament, you encourage your friends and colleagues to stand as members of Parliament, and you try to change the law in this country democratically, that’s the way we do things in this country, unlike, for instance, Saudi Arabia where they do have the sort of law of which you approve. If you want to change the way this country functions, why can’t you not do it in a democratic way? What’s wrong with that? And if not, what are you doing here?
AI: Democracy means sovereignty for man, and as a Muslim we believe sovereignty for the Sharia, therefore I would never take part in…
JH: Therefore go somewhere where Sharia prevails, why not do that?
AI: Rather I would work to change society in accordance with Islamic methodology…
JH: But you will not do it under the British way of doing things…you will not do it under democratic process?
AI: What is the British way of doing things? Fish and chips?
JH: You will not observe the democratic process?
AI: We will observe the Islamic rules wherever we are.
JH: The Islamic process but not the democratic one.
AI: That’s right. Yes.
JH: Thanks very much indeed, Abu Izzadeen.
AI: Thank you very much.