THESE YOUNG women are the daughters of the revolution to persuade locals that they need to live under the laws of Islam.
Several Muslim men travel with them in a van around London to promote their creed. But it is the women who catch the eye, clad as they are in black from head to foot.
One of them, as she proffers a religious tract, says that femininity – obedience to a man – is the way forward.
Her high level of articulacy suggests she has had a good English education, although when in response to some questions she refuses to condemn stoning of women for adultery, let alone death for homosexuality, it is clear that elementary ethical lessons have either been not given or not taken.
Perhaps it was considered too inflammatory in Hackney, known for its high number of pentecostal churches.
As if, however, to frustrate the attempts of local MP Diane Abbott and others to increase participation in the 2015 general election on Thursday 7 May, the Islamic fundamentalists have been urging the opposite, using the slogan “Stay Muslim, don’t vote”.
In East Ham, an Islamic Roadshow was fronted by security-police bait Anjem Choudary, and the slogan was more emphatic, telling people, many of them Muslims of east Asian origin, that it was “strictly forbidden to vote”. To do otherwise was to follow the religion of “the Christians [sic]” and “the Jew [sic]”.
On social media a site using the StayMuslimDon’tVote hashtag points to an interview in which a salafist preacher who looks like one of the E8 campaigners tells a fawning interviewer that democracy is “a law of the ape”.
Loving Dalston asked Choudary whether the roadshow women covered themselves in black as a way of asserting themselves against anti-Muslim prejudice. He said: “Most women dress according to the divine text.
“When people inter-act with us, they realise we are here to enlighten them.”
Organisations he has set up have regularly been banned, then re-emerged with new names. “The government,” Choudary commented, “is running roughshod over the very principles of democracy.
“We are doing what we have been doing over the last 20 years. The world has changed: the government has outlawed purely ideological and political movements.”
In Dalston the take-up rate from leaflets given out by the roadshow on Saturdays had been “fantastic” – at one event there, 17 people had “embraced Islam”.
Of the femininity-not-feminism views of his female colleagues, he said: “We believe in equality before God but distinction in responsibility between men and women.”
Men and women had separate duties, although stoning for adultery and punishments for homosexuality and other “aberrations” applied equally to men and women.
Part-time imam Dr Usama Hasan, a Quilliam senior researcher senior researcher, commented: “This campaign is daft and dangerous because Sharia law is man-made, too, formulated by Muslim jurists over centuries.
“Democracy is fully compatible with Islam.
“[The roadshow] is dangerous because it tells vulnerable young people that they have no stake in society and, wrongly, that participating in democracy is against their religion… by alienating Muslims from wider society, it leaves some of them with no option but to join bloodthirsty, brutal groups such as Isil [Islamic State].”
David Altheer 140315
* Islamic Roadshow 07956 600569, 07989 034499.
* Backstory: Primitive campaigners hit E8
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