Muslims Against Crusades – banned, banned and banned again
Padraig Reidy: Muslims Against Crusades - banned, banned and banned again
10 Nov 11

Insanity, as someone once said (Einstein, or Orwell, or Benjamin Franklin, or Oscar Wilde, or Dorothy Parker. One of those people that gets quoted), is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.

By this criterion (and, let me be clear, by this criterion alone), the UK Home Office’s ban on Muslims Against Crusades marks it as quite clearly more insane than Al Muhajiroun, the band of Islamist ne’er-do-wells that formed around “Tottenham Ayatollah” Omar Bakri Mohamed in the 1980s.

Al Muhajiroun has gone through  a series of names since it was originally proscribed in 2006, either being banned or disbanding before being banned. And it keeps cropping up again. (See here, par example)

Today saw the latest in this silly cat and mouse game. Current Muslims Against Crusades leader Anjem Choudary announced that the group would burn poppies on Rememberance Day (11 November) tomorrow in “protest” against UK soldiers operating in “Muslim lands”. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said the group would be proscribed as of 00.00 on 11 November. Choudary responded by saying the organisation was to be stood down.

But is there something slightly different happening today? Theresa May’s statement said:

“‘I am satisfied Muslims Against Crusades is simply another name for an organisation already proscribed under a number of names including Al Ghurabaa, The Saved Sect, Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK. The organisation was proscribed in 2006 for glorifying terrorism and we are clear it should not be able to continue these activities by simply changing its name.'”

This seems a partial acknowledgment that the previous tactic hasn’t worked. But what happens next is interesting. What usually happens is that after a few weeks, a bit of a brainstorming session about a new name and the purchase of a new domain name, the group re-emerges. Should this happen, how can May guarantee that it does not continue its activities “simply by changing its name”?

By Padraig Reidy

Padraig Reidy is the editor of Little Atoms and a columnist for Index on Censorship. He has also written for The Observer, The Guardian, and The Irish Times.