Following are excerpts from an interview with Anjem Choudary, head of Islam4UK, which aired on Press TV on February 3, 2010. The interview was held in English.
Anjem Choudary: Our main objectives are to invite the societies in which we live to think about Islam as an alternative way of life, to command good and forbid evil wherever we are, and ultimately, as well, to establish the shari'a on state level – which is the caliphate system of governance – in order to be a beacon again in the world, an example of how people should live their lives.
Interviewer: Let's talk about some of the statements coming out from your Islam4UK website. They were very incendiary, they've inflamed a big debate in the United Kingdom. One of the photos that you released showed, for example, the Buckingham Palace – the home of the British royal family – converted into a mosque. Is that your aim, and how did you expect the British public to react, by releasing photos like that?
Anjem Choudary: One of our campaigns, in fact, was to invite Britain to adopt the shari'a as an alternative. Part and parcel of that was to give them an example of how Britain may look, had the shari'a been implemented. For example, under the shari'a, there is no monarchy system, so Buckingham Palace certainly would not be the home for the monarch who is in existence today, which is Queen Elizabeth II.
Rather, we can have an alternative – not necessarily cast in stone – but one of the options, for example, is to have a masjid – which, in the past, used to be a hospital, a place of refuge, and had many other functions.
As well, there will be no idolatry in Islam. Therefore, Nelson's Column would not exist, and we propose an alternative as, perhaps, a place where people could be called to prayer.
But all of this process was on the one hand, to engage the British public's mind in Islam's alternative to man-made law, and on the other hand, to engage in a public discussion on what is the future for mankind.
I do believe, and as Muslims, we do believe, that there is a clash between two civilizations today. One civilization is based upon Man – that believes that Man is sovereign, and they believe they have the right to legislate – and one civilization that believes that sovereignty and supremacy belongs to God.
The people in the past used to worship the idols which they used to make with their hands. Nowadays, people worship idols which are more intellectual – like democracy, liberalism, freedom, and so on. So these need to be destroyed as well, and replaced with worshipping and obeying Allah.
Interviewer: Two million people turned out on the streets of the UK several years ago, to protest British troops going to Iraq in the first place. Why not join with them?
Anjem Choudary: No, because I don't believe that their call was correct. They were calling for socialist and Communist ideas, and many people are pacifists.
We do believe, as Muslims, that every Muslim has a right to defend himself, his life, honor, and property.
Interviewer: The issues of freedom of speech are represented by many organizations around the UK. Who do you think that you represent in the United Kingdom? Who are you giving a voice to?
Anjem Choudary: You know, I don't believe in the concept of freedom of expression. I don't believe in democracy. I don't believe in secularism or liberalism. I believe these are idols that the people are worshipping nowadays, taking them away from worshipping our lord, Allah. I believe that sovereignty and supremacy belongs to God, but I will function within the realms of their so-called "freedom," to expose their own fallacies.
Interviewer: The media has, however, said that you are living off benefits. If that's not correct, you can say that here.
Anjem Choudary: No, it's irrelevant. Prime Minister Gordon Brown takes child benefit, and he takes child tax credit. So why can't I take the same thing?
You know, the Prophet said... In his time... In the time of the Prophet, they used to have a tribal system, where they gave money to the Muslims. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab said, in fact, to the Prophet: "Oh prophet of Allah, they give us money, but we attack their system." The Prophet said: "To whom does the money belong? The wealth belongs to Allah. Take it, but don't lie, and don't cheat." I don't lie, I don't cheat. If I am given wealth, I will take it. It is allowed for me, it is halal for me Islamically.
Let's strip away Islam and the shari'a, and just talk about what we are calling for. We want a system providing the basic needs for the people. Gas, electricity, water, etcetera, will be free-of-charge, because they are resources and the Prophet said that we're partner in them. We want a system where people are not exploited. Industries like pornography, alcohol, gambling, and usury will be completely eradicated.
We're calling for a system which treats human beings like human beings. I do believe that if the people wake up from the slumber and the darkness in which they are living, and they see the beauty, the perfection, and the justice of Islam – they will be drawn towards it.
But we have many obstacles – the physical obstacles of the regimes, and the intellectual obstacles of the demonizing of Islam and the shari'a.