October 15, 2004


Over the weekend I went to Parliament square where the Supporters of Shariah held a protest. Again I missed some fantastic film moments. The Police inexplicably took me to be part of the protest group and took my name, D.O.B and website details etc.
(Hi guys! If you are reading this.)

Hajj was talking at length to a Policeman about smoking den’s in South London. The Policeman was secretly eating a Mars bar, putting it back in his pocket between bites. There were maybe 15 protesters, Abdullah took centre stage screaming at the houses of parliament, and curious tourists through a megaphone. A larger and stranger looking pro-life protest came by complete with carts and little donkeys.

Paul from www.potp.co.uk turned up to take photos (see HAMZA ARRESTED) I felt silly talking to Paul then walking a few steps and talking to Hajj. I like both of them and wanted to introduce them.

“ He sell’s his pictures and they print lies next to them, he knows what is happening. Why do I want to talk to him?” said Hajj.

“Well tell him.” I said.

Even without a camera I’m still obsessed with opposite sides talking. I remember trying to convince Hamza to talk to a representative of the U.B.A. I relayed what Hajj said to Paul but he was also unenthusiastic about talking to Hajj. I spoke at length to the Police who admitted that Hamza’s friends didn’t quite look how they were portrayed on TV.

“ But why didn’t Hamza himself make sure he came across in the media better when he was free then?” he asked me.

That’s a question I’ve often asked myself as week in, week out I watched the brothers almost gift wrap a threatening portrayal of themselves to hysterical mainstream TV crews.

Brian, Britain’s longest running one man protest came over and asked the brothers for a placard. His conversation with them would have made great TV. I’m glad they met. The Finsbury posse seem to isolate themselves so much from un-Islamic protest groups. Even when I told them that someone was organizing a forum where one of the ex-Guantanamo prisoners would be a secret unanounced guest they were not interested, seemingly because it came from me and not another Muslim. It was nice to see them give Brian the respect he deserves.

From Parliament square the protest group moved up to speakers corner. I wasn’t going to go at first but was glad I did. I cycled on ahead to find the brother who blocked me from entering the mosque last week (see THE BROTHERS GONNA WORK IT OUT ) in conversation with a good friend of mine, Magic Dave who was ranting to a small crowd and handing out 9-11 dollars. It was obvious the two had known each other for a long time and had engaged in much debate here.

This was to be the first time I would see Abdullah address a predominantly non-Muslim audience and I was worried how he would come across to the crowd. I thought he would loose his temper once the many regular hecklers got into their stride. In Finsbury Park I’ve often seen passers by judge him to be a threat simply because of his angry delivery.

Speakers corner is contextually a long way from Finsbury Park and the crowd that gathered just saw his style as entertaining as the next shouting person halfway up a step ladder. He actually came across really well to Muslims and non Muslims alike, although he strangely never mentioned Hamza or Finsbury Park once. He took a lot of questions from the audience who clapped when he finished.

A great day out with loads of documentary potential agonizingly flushed down the drain for me. I hope they do it again.

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