INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: Anjem Choudary talks to TheDC
The Daily Caller: What are you planning on doing while you’re here?
Anjem Choudary: Well basically what we intend to do is invite Barack Obama and the American administration and the general public to think about Islam as an alternative really, we believe that the problems in the world today aren’t necessarily because of people that [inaudible] and they need to go back to the divine law and so ours is a call to go back to the divine law and implement Islam. That would be a solution for all of the problems the American family faces, so to provide that as an alternative, that’s our first message. The second message is that the American administration obviously has supported the dictators in the Muslim countries and the Muslims are rising, as you can see their boiling in Libya and Egypt and many other countries and they’re rising up against the oppression and the Americans should stay away from trying to, if you like, put another dictator in place, and I don’t think the American interest in the current time in the Middle East with their presence, rather they should withdraw their forces, they should withdraw their own personnel, this is a very, very insecure time for the Americans I think.
TheDC: You’re planning a protest next Thursday, correct?
AC: The 3rd of March is the 87th anniversary of the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. It was the last time that Sharia was implemented in this world and that makes it a perfect time to call for Sharia to be re-implemented. I understand that one can have a static demonstration on Pennsylvania Avenue without any permission, as part of your First Amendment and freedom of religion and to protest. I don’t envision any problems. We’re getting feedback from the Muslim community there in America and even non-Muslims. They’re very interested and I think we should have a good response.
TheDC: What are some of the things you’re going to do specifically while you’re protesting? Are you going to burn the American flag?
AC: No. I think what we are going to do is address the crowd and we will tell them why Sharia is better for them. I believe capitalism is dying a slow death right now, as you can see with the recession and with the credit crunch and with social and economic dismay the world as whole and the pandemic of promiscuity, drugs, alcohol and all the other diseases. That’s the worst and I believe it’s time for a change.
TheDC: What do you mean by Sharia law? What is Sharia law?
AC: Well, Sharia is derived from Arabic, and it means an “oasis.” In the desert, man needs the oasis to survive. Sharia is not like any other religion or law, because Sharia is an entire system of life. It has a ruling system, an economic system, a policy and social system, a foreign policy and judiciary system to be implemented, you know, the whole package. Under the Sharia, food, shelter and clothing will be provided for all citizens in addition to basic necessities like gas and water as well. But, it’s not like communism or socialism in the respect that you can work for the luxuries. There’s no problem with that. But, certainly you would not have the poverty problem that you have at the current time where, with the average or minimum wage, you cannot live in any major city on a 40-hour week. That is a reality in America. With the loss of the American dollar as its own currency and its devaluation, I think that people will not even be able to afford bread and milk. They’re facing a real crisis in America and I think the solution is Islam.
TheDC: You think the United States should implement Sharia law?
AC: Well, I believe Sharia law, however it comes, is the future for America. I believe, one day, that the people will adopt it anyway. A lot of issues we’re looking at now are already enshrined within the Sharia. For instance, the gold standard for when dealing with inflation and a lack of confidence with the stocks and shares, which has been prevalent for the last many decades. All of that is prohibited in Islam. All the stocks, shares, pensions, insurance, all of the invisible wealth is to be done away with in addition to alcohol, drugs and pornography, which are some of the biggest industries contributing to this are to be completely eradicated. The wealth will be re-invested in education, health, etc. These are things, I think, Americans will understand. I mean, there’s a lot of people who have been e-mailing me and texting me trying to find out more about what the Sharia has to offer. They don’t really understand what Islamic law is. This is something Americans should look into, maybe not in the near future, but I think people are definitely looking for alternatives to a capitalist democracy. The democracy that we find in the Western world is just not providing them solutions.
TheDC: Now, do you think that a move towards Sharia law in America should be violent, if necessary?
AC: Well, I think there’s only one of four ways in which it can come in America. It can be that either the people themselves will embrace Islam before they can want the Sharia to be implemented. That’s a very real possibility because Islam is the fastest-growing ideology in America. Another way would be if a faction of the community were to instigate some kind of coup — that is also possible. We see that around the world quite a lot. Sections of the community include, maybe, the army, or elsewhere. A third option would be where we already have an Islamic state somewhere else in the world, which has a foreign policy of erecting Islam to it. So, if the Sharia was to be implemented elsewhere, and, as part of its foreign policy, it would remove the operators in the way of preventing the Sharia. That is a third possibility. The last possibility is, if there were, in fact, a conflict, as we’ve seen in Iraq or Palestine, not necessarily of the Muslims’ making, but where the Muslims are increasingly demonized, they would have no choice but to defend themselves, but they could end up in a position of authority.
TheDC: Would men and women be equal?
AC: Well, it depends on the type of case. You see, what we believe is, we don’t believe in equality. We believe in distinction of gender and distinction of responsibility. So, in a certain respect, a woman is more important and has a greater role than a man, and, in other respects, the man has a greater role and is more important than the woman. Just an example, the woman is more intelligent when it comes to the children, when it comes to her role and responsibility as a mother and so on. Then, the man is usually, for example, in the public arena. He is usually good with things like penal code matters, and so he’s the one who has to go out and provide, even if the woman is rich. She can stay at home and won’t have to lift a finger – it’s up to the man to do all the work, and provide her with food, clothing and shelter. The woman is treated like a queen in the home. She is a princess.
TheDC: If a woman wanted to go outside the home under Sharia law, would she be allowed to?
AC: Yes, of course. If she has money, she can invest her money. The thing is, what we are concerned about is, in the public arena, there’s a difference between a man and a woman. We would have complete segregation in the public arena, but other than that, if she wants to go to the market, if she wants to go to visit her relatives or for medicine or for education. There’s a whole host of reasons why she would be out and about but, what we are saying is she not obliged to work. That is the job of the man. That is the distinction of responsibilities. But, certainly there were women who were judges and who were teachers and a whole host of things in the time of the prophet. It does not say she cannot work and cannot have a job. It is just that she does not need to. That is the job of the man. You’ll find in many surveys in the West and in Britain, you’ll find that many women look for men so they can be looked after. Then, they can have children and a whole family and a unit, so they have to the kinds of maternal jobs as well as the jobs outside of the house so I think this is something we should consider, I think, with the national disposition of the man and of the woman.
TheDC: Is there any modern day example of Sharia law being implemented, or something close to it, that we can look at?
AC: Well, the problem that we have is some of the more vocal countries, which parade themselves as Islamic countries, are, in fact, brutal dictatorial regimes. We don’t accept them as being Sharia at all, because, what they tend to do, is they tend to just implement several aspects of the penal code and one or two morsels of the social system, but the rest of the system, like providing the basic needs and the social aspects of society and an education system, is completely ousted. So, what tends to happen, is that engenders hatred towards the Sharia, because when people find their basic needs are not being met, then people just see it as unfair.
I think, if you looked at Iran or at Saudi Arabia, these are not models in any way. As I said before, the last time it was implemented was before the 3rd of March 1924.
TheDC: How would one go about practically implementing Sharia law upon society?
AC: Basically, the basis of the ruling system, and this is something that took a long time, are five, really, pillars. The first pillar is all law is from God, not from man. So, all laws are derived from the divine text, or the Koran. The second principle is that man is merely there to implement the law. He is there not to decide what to implement as we already have the law. We don’t have a legislative body. The third principle of the ruling system is that the Muslims are, obviously, in authority. The fourth principle is that you cannot have more than one leader worldwide. So, you would only have one Caliph for all of the Muslim world, so whoever that is, he would have authority over all of the Muslim land and wherever the Sharia is implemented. And, the fifth principle is that any dispute will be outweighed by the decision of the Caliph. He has ultimate authority in terms of interpretation.
TheDC: Would somebody, if they decided not to convert to Islam, be allowed to be a part of this society?
AC: Yes, of course, because under the Sharia, if you look at Sharia in Lebanon, there are churches and synagogues in existence for over a millennia. It wasn’t a mission to destroy them. Rather, in terms of matrimonial law, in terms of your own personal synagogue or church, in terms of what you do in your home, this is something that is meant to be less intruding to the individual. We don’t watch inside your homes, churches or synagogues. Certainly, in the public arena, it’s going to be different. In the public arena, the law of the land, of course, would be the divine law of the Sharia. So, that is the difference, if you like, between the Sharia in the society and in terms of the individual and what it is like in the home. I mean, people are not forced to become Muslims. If you look at the first Islamic state, in Medina, that the prophet established, it was only about 5 percent Muslims. If you look at Andalusia in Spain, the Christians were the majority, in fact, when the Sharia was implemented. They were so happy to get out of the hegemony and oppression of the church that they quite readily accepted the Sharia to be implemented.
TheDC: Do you consider the United States President Barack Obama an apostate since he was born to a Muslim father but is himself a Christian?
AC: No, I don’t think that. Every person is born from an natural disposition, and the mother and father will make him into a Christian. So, I do believe that we are all born as Muslims, and, as we mature, we make decisions. And, some of us, obviously, do not accept Islam. Your choices make you whoever you turn out to be. So, I do not believe he is an apostate, and, like everyone, was born with the natural disposition of Islam. If someone dies as a child, they go to heaven. But, as an adult, he made a choice of accepting Christianity, so, that’s not apostacy. If he was a Muslim as an adult, then changed, that would be apostacy.
TheDC: Do you think he [Obama] should convert to Islam?
AC: Well, you know, the potential is there. The prophet always invited everyone. Even though I do believe that Obama is at war with Islam, it is never too late to embrace Islam. If we were to establish Sharia in America, he would have to stand before Sharia court and pay for the crimes that he committed. The invitation is there for him to give up all of his falsehoods and all of the crimes that he has committed and to embrace Islam.
TheDC: Would Muslims who convert to Christianity be protected?
AC: No. That carries capital punishment. He would be given the opportunity to repent, and the Sharia court would need to determine if he was really a Muslim in the first place, did he know what he was doing, and once all of that has been determined, there is capital punishment for that in Islam.
TheDC: Would people of the Baha’i faith be protected under Sharia.
AC: If they’re going to be citizens, and this is a matter for the Caliph to decide, yes, they will have all of the protections a citizen would have.
TheDC: The Khalifah is basically a dictator, right? Do they have absolute say?
AC: If the Khalifah implements even one law outside of the divine law, then he will be removed. The courts will face him and he will face capital punishment and he will be removed. The promise is to obey the Khalifah as long as he follows the Sharia. It is not important who is in charge. The important thing is what they are implementing, as long they are implementing the Sharia. He could be in charge for ages, it doesn’t matter, because he is not making the laws up. He is merely implementing them.
TheDC: You mentioned before that you’re not allowed to drink alcohol. What are some of the other things that you’re not supposed to do?
AC: Publicly, nobody will be able to sell pork. Nobody will be drinking alcohol. Pornography will be banned. Gambling will be banned. In terms of the economy, the wealth which is not tangible, either good or deficit, things like insurance, pension, stocks, shares, etc., they will be prohibited because you’re supposed to deal with things, which are goods, which you can see, which you can trade with.
The reason why you have the boom and bust in your economy is because there’s no real wealth. It’s all paper. It doesn’t actually exist.
TheDC: What happens if somebody breaks one of these laws?
AC: Well, it depends. There are four types of punishment under the Sharia. The penal code deals with things like theft, false testimony, adultery, fornication, etc. and then there’s the law of the state, the law of the individual and the law of the public.
TheDC: For example, if somebody drinks alcohol, what happens to them?
AC: If they are drinking and there are sufficient witnesses or if he confesses, then, that count is 40 lashes.
TheDC: Is that for one drink? If someone has more than one drink, is it more than that?
AC: No, if somebody drinks alcohol, it doesn’t matter how much he has drunk, if he confessed or if there are two witnesses to say that man has been drinking alcohol, then they will have 40 lashes.
TheDC: What do you think of Holocaust?
AC: Hitler was obviously a dictator. And he was Christian. And I think that he persecuted the Jews, there’s no doubt about that. And he did that for nationalistic reasons, which would be prohibited in Islam.
As for the extent of the Holocaust, I believe that many were killed, obviously Jews, but I do believe that the numbers have been overstated over the years in order to justify the presence of the state of Israel. That’s my own personal belief. I don’t believe it to be possible for 6 million Jews to have been killed in the Second World War.
TheDC: Do you have evidence that there were less than 6 million killed?
AC: Well, you can see, from my own research, that these figures have changed over the years. It hasn’t always been 6 million. I think it was something like 60,000 or 100,000 before, and then it became even more, and now people say 6 million. But, I think those figures have been changed over the years. You need to do your own research.
The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.