Dozens of Muslim protestors gathered to demand that businesses stop selling alcohol in a popular East London area yesterday.
The group, led by former Al-Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary, warned restaurants and shops in the Brick Lane area that they face 40 lashes if they continue to sell the product, which is banned under Sharia Law.
Around 60 men and women in burkhas handed over warning letters to Muslim-owned businesses in the area after the protest was initially delayed by a small number of English Defence League members staging a counter-protest.
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The Muslim protest, calling for the ban of alcohol in the Brick Lane area, was led by Anjem Choudary (pictured)
Around 60 Muslim campaigners gathered in Brick Lane, East London, yesterday to protest the sale of alcohol
Controversial cleric Choudary was at the forefront of the protest. The Al-Muhajiroun group he formerly led has been banned under terrorism laws.
Organisers told The Times the protest was held yesterday to coincide with the large number of office workers who would be in the area for Christmas parties.
Choudary told the crowd: ‘The shops are run by Muslims and they know they are selling alcohol and they know the sale and consumption of alcohol is completely prohibited.
‘We cannot live among the non-Muslims and see this evil take place.’
He told those gathered it was his wish that Sharia law, banning alcohol, should be enforced in Britain.
This photograph shows those who opposed the protest, which was staged in East London
A local man enjoys his drink as Choudary and others protest against the sale of alcohol in the UK
Protestors in burkhas hold up posters encouraging the ban of alcohol, in the name of Sharia Law
Groups associated with Choudary were labelled, the 'biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history'
He also defended three ‘fantastic’ men who were jailed last week for attacking drinkers while on a ‘Muslim patrol’.
He was referring to an incident in which Jordan Horner and another Islamic extremist told a couple they could not hold hands while walking down the street, because it was in a 'Muslim area'.
The radicals also attacked a group of men drinking in the road, and told a woman she would face 'hell fire' because of the way she was dressed.
Horner, 19, Ricardo MacFarlane, 36, and a 23-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons were sentenced to 68 weeks, 12 months and 24 weeks in prison respectively.
Groups associated with Choudary were last month labelled the ‘single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history’.
The radical Islamist has been identified as the link between groups who encourage the safe passage of British and European Muslims into Syria where they join Al Qaeda-linked forces.
The action was delayed after a small number of English Defence League members staged a counter-protest
Anjem Choudhary told the group: 'We cannot live among the non-Muslims and see this evil take place'
He told those gathered it was his wish that Sharia Law, banning alcohol, should be enforced in Britain
According to a study by Hope Not Hate, organisations affiliated with Choudary have encouraged in the region of 80 young British Muslims to join the fighting in Syria.
They may also have had a hand in the recruitment of 300 more on the continent, the report said.
As well as highlighting Choudary role in encouraging young Muslims to fight in Syria, the report also established a connection between the preacher's al-Muhajiroun network and high profile terrorists, including those responsible for the 7/7 London bombings.
The report recommended that Mr Choudary should be considered a 'serious player' in the promotion and recruitment of young Muslims to terrorist cells.
HOW SHARIA LAW INFORMS MUSLIM LIFE
An East London Mosque spokesman and politicians in the area condemned the protest as a publicity stunt
Mr Choudary defended three men (not pictured) jailed for attacking drinkers while on a 'Muslim patrol'
Dr Usama Hasan, of the anti-extremist think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, told the East London Advertiser: ‘In Islamic teaching you shouldn't drink alcohol, but you can't impose Islamic law on other people.
‘This is a democracy. To try and impose Sharia by force, which is their stated aim, is completely stupid and against Islamic teaching.’
An East London Mosque spokesman reportedly condemned the protest as a publicity stunt and politicians in the area described it as ‘provocative’.
Labour group leader Sirajul Islam said before the protest: ‘Everyone has a right to peaceful protest but I urge the Shariah Project to think carefully about the impact their actions will have.’
Muslim women and children join in the protest in the trendy area of Tower Hamlets yesterday
The document, as you can see (click on the image to enlarge it), then provides evidence for the claim that they have no legal permission to sell alcohol by citing the Qur'an. They're acting as if Sharia were already the law of the land in Britain. Note also the threat toward the end of the letter: "DO NOT IGNORE THIS LETTER."
This flier is from the failed anti-alcohol protest in London yesterday. Failed it may have been, but the advocates for Sharia will not go away, and will keep pushing.
Image of the flier thanks to Marc.