Anybody heard of Anjem Choudary? Neither had I until a short while ago. He is a benefits scrounger and part of a fringe Islamic group called Muslims Against Crusades. Over this past week posters have been appearing in the boroughs of Waltham Forest and Newham declaring the areas Sharia enforced zones. Instructions on these posters forbid drinking, smoking, parties, loud music, and gambling. Apparently these injunctions will be enforced by roving patrols to ensure the law of Allah is observed. Now I don't know about you, but I don't follow the laws of a 7th century pedophile, and I've not a whole lot of time for zealots who insist that I do. Having read a few articles on this story the funniest point raised was to imagine how the average burly Londoner is going to respond to such advice? Can you imagine the kind of reception Choudary and his band of bearded buffoons would incur should they march into the Dog & Duck demanding immediate cessation of festivities? Methinks this wouldn't end so well for them, and I've visions of flailing bodies exiting the premises via the nearest window. Now let's be honest, this is a fringe group and a real loony one at that, but don't suppose for a moment that the views they advocate aren't widely held. The only difference between Choudary and his lobotomized chums and many other adherents of Islam is that Choudary is prepared to enact the doctrines of the divine prophet. It's all a bit of a comedy isn't it? But then isn't religion in general? In fact perhaps we should carry on in the spirit of this piece and simply view religion as a brand of alternative humor? The Churches and the Mosques can be the comedy clubs, and the Preachers and Imams the stand-up comedians. Did you hear the one about the talking donkey? Or the flying horse?
I'm a huge fan of humor. It achieves so much more than you might imagine. Good natured ridicule and the refusal to take seriously the claims of the devout should soon push it into a corner. No violence, no acrimony, just death by mockery. When somebody talks to you about Jesus smile and wink, and when accosted by a Muslim imploring you to read the sacred texts pat them on the shoulder and congratulate them for spreading the mirth. The best revolutions are of the bloodless variety, and they take the form of those concepts that prevail in the marketplace of ideas.