The British government has banned "Muslims Against Crusades" (MAC), an Islamic extremist group that recently launched a campaign to turn twelve British cities – including what it referred to as "Londonistan" – into independent Islamic states.

British Home Secretary Theresa May signed an order on November 9 that makes membership or support of MAC – which is closely linked to seven other previously-banned groups – a criminal offense.

May said MAC was "simply another name for an organization already proscribed under a number of names including Al Ghurabaa, The Saved Sect, Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK. The organization was proscribed in 2006 for glorifying terrorism and we are clear it should not be able to continue these activities by simply changing its name."

In practice, however, the effectiveness of the ban is likely to be relatively short-lived. The Islamists behind MAC are determined to establish Islamic Sharia law in Britain – and elsewhere in Europe – and will almost certainly resurface under a new name within due course.

Muslims Against Crusades is the latest incarnation of an organization originally set up by Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian born radical Islamist who founded the London branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a pan-Islamic group whose goal is for all Muslim countries to unify as an Islamic state or caliphate ruled by Sharia law. Bakri fled Britain in August 2005 and currently lives in Lebanon.

Bakri's successor in Britain is Anjem Choudary, a notorious Sharia court judge based in London who believes in the primacy of Islam over all other faiths, and who has long campaigned for Islamic law to be implemented in all of Britain.

Choudary is a former spokesman for Islam4UK, which was "established by sincere Muslims as a platform to propagate the supreme Islamic ideology within the United Kingdom as a divine alternative to man-made law," and to "convince the British public about the superiority of Islam [...] thereby changing public opinion in favor of Islam in order to transfer the authority and power [...] to the Muslims in order to implement the Sharia in Britain."

Under Choudary's leadership, Muslims Against Crusades in July 2011 launched the Islamic Emirates Project, which named the British cities of Birmingham, Bradford, Derby, Dewsbury, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Sheffield, as well as Waltham Forest in northeast London and Tower Hamlets in East London as territories to be targeted for blanket Sharia rule.

The project, which used the motto "The end of man-made law, and the start of Sharia law," was launched exactly six years after Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people and injured 800 others in London.

A July 7, 2011 announcement posted on the Muslims Against the Crusades website (which is now suspended) stated:

"In the last 50 years, the United Kingdom has transformed beyond recognition. What was once a predominantly Christian country has now been overwhelmed by a rising Muslim population, which seeks to preserve its Islamic identity, and protect itself from the satanic values of the tyrannical British government."

"There are now over 2.8 million Muslims living in the United Kingdom – which is a staggering 5% of the population – but in truth, it is more than just numbers, indeed the entire infrastructure of Britain is changing; Mosques, Islamic Schools, Sharia Courts and Muslim owned businesses, have now become an integral part of the British landscape."

"In light of this glaring fact, Muslims Against Crusades have decided to launch 'The Islamic Emirates Project,' that will see high profile campaigns launch in Muslim enclaves all over Britain, with the objective to gradually transform Muslim communities into Islamic Emirates operating under Sharia."

"With several Islamic emirates already well-established across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan, we see this as a radical, but very realistic step in the heart of Western Europe, that will Insha'Allah [God willing], pave the way for the worldwide domination of Islam."

In a statement posted on its website on November 9 (before the website was taken down), MAC said: "The intended banning of Muslims Against Crusades by Home Secretary Theresa May is a great victory for Islam and Muslims and highlights the sheer hatred the British government has towards sincere Muslims who wish to peacefully speak out against policies that are (from every angle) anti-Islam and anti-Muslim."

During the past several years, Choudary, MAC and Sharia4UK have organized a series of publicity grabbing protests against British foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan that have generated broad public outrage.

In 2010, for example, MAC demonstrators burned large-scale versions of remembrance poppies and yelled during a moment of silence to honor British troops during a ceremony in London. MAC protestors also held up signs reading "British Soldiers Burn in Hell" and "There will be no security for Britain while troops remain in Muslim land."

In 2011 (just two days before the group was banned), MAC had been planning to disrupt the November 11 Armistice Day ceremonies in London by holding a so-called "Hell for Heroes" protest, which was to have mocked the charity for injured British soldiers called Help for Heroes.

Choudary said "Hell for Heroes" would involve "a protest and not observing the minute's silence. We had a significant amount of support from Muslims around the world last year. It's one thing to remember the dead from the First World War and subsequent wars but it's quite another when they say we need to remember the dead from Afghanistan and Iraq. It's become a political football and if they are going to use Remembrance Day for that purpose it's only right that we have a counter protest, which we say is for Muslims. The [British] Army is currently at war with Muslims in Muslim countries."

With the banning of MAC, a total of 47 international terrorist organizations has been proscribed under the 2000 Terrorism Act, including the forerunner of Muslims Against Crusades which was proscribed in 2006 under new powers preventing the "glorification of terrorism."

Despite these bans, only 15 people have been convicted of proscription-related offenses in Britain during the period from 2001 to 2011. Far from being deterred, Choudary is almost certainly already planning the re-launch of MAC under a new name.

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.

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