Britain’s most notorious Islamic cleric has taken to the U.S. airwaves to issue a warning to any American news outlet thinking about depicting Muhammad or mocking Islam.
Doing so will most likely result in a jihadist attack similar to the deadly massacre at the Paris office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, declared radical British Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary.
Choudary warned Americans to take lessons from the case of Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker killed by a Muslim in 2004 after making a film critical of Islam.
Choudary was speaking Thursday to weekend talk-radio host Aaron Klein of New York’s AM 970 The Answer, who this week launched a daily audio online feature.
Klein had referred to complaints in the wake of the Paris attack that Comedy Central had censored a 2010 “South Park” episode that originally was slated to depict Muhammad. In response to threats from Muslims, the episode was altered, and the Muhammad figure was obscured with the word “censored” in a black rectangle.
Klein stressed Comedy Central had not taken any move to air the episode uncensored. He asked Choudary whether or not such a move would result in attacks against the network.
“Yes, I think there is a very strong possibility of a very severe reaction if that were to take place,” Choudary said. “What I would say is that people have been hiding under these euphemisms of freedom of speech, the right to be satirical. There are sensibilities and emotions of people around the world which I’ve taken into consideration.”
Continued Choudary: “Perhaps we can have a moral relationship between the people of France and Muslims. But if they continue down this line of provocation, and if the Americans and ‘South Park’ as well go down that line, I think it can only have really one repercussion. We saw it in Paris. I think that people will come out. They will want to defend the honor of the prophet. Remember, they consider the honor of the prophet even more dear to them than themselves, let alone their own parents or children.”
Choudary went on to warn that any American media outlet that depicted Muhammad or insulted the “honor” of Islam would face similar consequences to that of Van Gogh or the Charlie Hebdo staff.
Klein asked Choudary to clarify: “What you are saying is that if any American news agency or whatever it is, if any American news network depicts the prophet Muhammad, you do expect, to be clear, that they would face the same consequences as Charlie Hebdo? Meaning that they can be attacked?”
“I believe so,” replied Choudary. “I believe that that would have severe consequences. You know, I am not in charge of Muslims, for example, or how they would react. But one thing can be clear: that the divine text is not subject to change or amendment.”
He added: “What can be changed is man-made laws. People make up laws as they go along. They move the parameters of acceptable behavior. They put curtailments on freedom of expression. And I think in the current climate of insecurity and instability it was about time the honor of the prophet was defended and protected. And people need to take the lesson of what took place yesterday and that has taken place previously as we have already said with people like Theo Van Gogh.
“You know, people are willing to die to defend the honor of the prophet and the sanctity of the Quran. I mean, these are extremely serious values for Muslims. People fight for freedom and democracy. They fight for different things. Muslims fight to defend the prophet’s honor.”
Klein conducted the interview to air on his weekend radio show Sunday as well as for posting today on a new subscription service that offers daily audio updates for his listeners at ConnectPal.com, a recently launched online content marketplace.
In the wake of the Paris attack, as WND reported earlier Thursday, some in the media are recalling Comedy Central’s controversial decision to censor the 2010 episode that was slated to depict Muhammad.
Writing at IndieWire.com, blogger Sam Adams complained: “It doesn’t take fanatics with guns to suppress free speech, just media conglomerates with stockholders where their spines should be.”
Time Magazine media writer James Poniewozik said “the Charlie Hebdo attackers were attacking you too.” He wrote that “unless all of us reject the kowtowing and the playing-it-safe, it absolutely has worked and will work again,” referring to the “South Park” case.
Continued Poniewozik: “No one had to physically attack Comedy Central to make this happen; to this day, you can’t stream an authorized version of “201” online. Ironically, part of the program that was censored was making the point that suppressing speech with violent threats works.”
“The killers in Paris may have been lashing out at cartoons you never saw and would never have wanted to. But the same attack was also against something you would be interested in. You just may never know it, because you’ll never get to see it.”